Something I Said – Gay Marriage Dwight Hobbes Insight News archives Gay marriage is wrong? For whom? As long as it’s between adults, the only people a marriage concerns are the one the proposing and the one answering. Regarding gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender and, for that matter, heterosexual unions, unless someone is popping the question to you or me, it’s none of our business. Joseph Phillips, as his Nov. 20 Insight commentary demonstrates, doesn’t understand that. Added to which, he compares apples to oranges, equating non-hetero marriage with, of all things, slavery: obviously he doesn’t comprehend much about the history, much the less the reality, of being Black in America. All he shows any understanding and knowledge of is how to bend over backward minding somebody else’s business. Phillips doesn’t offer a reasoned premise. Instead, he postures on a bully pulpit of whining, self-righteous rhetoric that holds less water than a leaking sieve. His stilted rationale: “[The majority decision by] the Supreme Court of New Jerseyâ¦effectively found that homosexual unions were morally equivalent to heterosexual unionsâ¦basedâ¦in part on societies’ changing opinions and attitudes.Â Changing opinions, though, no matter how heartfelt, are not a valid standard by which to measure the morality of behavior.Â It was not changing attitudes that ended slavery, for instance; it was the ascendance of the principle of equality.” Phillips blithely glosses over, in deciding what is and isn’t “a valid standard”, the fact that he has no right to measure someone else’s morality in the first place — especially since no in question is asking to marry him. His circular musing over semantics about attitudes versus a principle’s ascendance is moot. In addition, this has nothing to do with slavery. The matter at hand is discrimination, denying a basic civil right. Anyone who has had even a nodding acquaintance with African American history or learned anything on the wrong end of prejudice realizes the difference. “Societies have uniformly seen marriage as a positive good because marriages produce, protect and educate children”, Phillips proclaims. Â “The state supports marriage because it has rightly recognized that families are the primary source of moral education in our society, and a free society has a vested interest in strong, healthy, stable heterosexual families.” Let’s take that pat propaganda point by point and have an unvarnished look at straight marriages. They may be the heart and soul of Norman Rockwell paintings, but in life they are a crapshoot. Barbara Whitehead and David Popenoe’s 2004 report “The State of Our Unions”, prepared at Rutgers University for the National Marriage Project, acknowledges what for ages has been common knowledge: about as often as not, marriages go to hell in a hand basket. It’s also common knowledge that marriages that remain under the same roof don’t necessarily stay intact, that they can wind up some pretty miserable affairs that are more about appearances than substance. One of the hardest things to do is fit two individuals into one relationship. And, clearly, being straight doesn’t guarantee any lock on marital strength, health or stability. As for traditional marriages being a rightly recognized source of moral education, then where are all the rapists, murderers, domestic abusers, embezzlers and politicians coming from? The stork? Even if you happen to be a by-the-good-book Christian who goes by the tenet that it was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, you do not have the right to, as it were, cast the first stone. The most devout Christians adhere to the First Commandment, yet don’t lose a wink of sleep counting Hindus deities. But, when it comes to their next door neighbors, busy-bodies like Phillips just have to stick their nose into another’s bedroom. “For millennia”, he claims, “societies have rejected homosexual marriage not because they are all a bunch of bigots, but because human reason has judged that homosexual behavior is wrong.” Hello? They have judged homosexual behavior is wrong, because they are a bunch of bigots. And, no matter how Joseph Phillips tries to dress his up narrow-minded stumping as legitimate comment, he reveals himself to be a knee-jerk homophobe. As well, the cloying sentimental ploy of dragging slavery into things lays bare his feeble logic. In short, he talks like a fool.
Dwight Hobbes has written for ESSENCE, Reader’s Digest, Washington Post, Minneapolis Star Tribune, St. Paul Pioneer Press, City Pages, Mpls/St. Paul, MN Law & Politics, Pulse of the Twin Cities, Twin Cities Daily Planet, Women & Word, San Diego Union-Tribune and Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (where he contributes the commentary column Something I Said). Â He’s spoken his mind over National Public Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, Blog Talk Radio’s UNOBSTRUCTED and KMOJ in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Was regularly featured as guest commentator on NewsNight Minnesota (KTCA-Minneapolis/St. Paul) and Spectator (Minneapolis Television Network). His monthly column “Hobbes In The House” in MN Spokesman Recorder speaks to domestic abuse and rape. His plays are Shelter – produced at Mixed Blood Theatre by Pangea World Theater, Dues – produced by Mixed Blood Theatre, University of Southern Illinois in Point of Revue, selected for Bedlam Theatre’s 10-Minute Play Festival and published by Playscripts, Inc. You Can’t Always Sometimes Never Tell – produced by Theater Center Philadelphia, Long Island University, reading at The Kennedy Center and published in the anthology CENTER STAGE, In the Midst – produced by Long Island University, starring Samuel E. Wright. Â Hobbes spoke on the panel “Farewell To August Wilson” at the Guthrie Theater, broadcast on Conversations With Al McFarlane (KFAI, KMOJ). Singer-songwriter Dwight Hobbes recorded the single “Atlanta Children” (BeatBad Records) and gigged 10 years in the Long Island/NYC area, including The Other End, Kenny’s Castaways and My Fathers Place. Â He fronted the Boston blues band Midlight. Â In Minneapolis, Hobbes opened for David Daniels at First Street Entry, James Curry at Terminal Bar, sat in with Yohannes Tona, Alicia Wiley at Sol Testimony’s Soul Jam, The New Congress at Babalu, Willie Murphy at the Viking Bar and Wain McFarlane & Jahz at Lucille’s Kitchen. Dwight Hobbes still drops in at the occasional open mic around town. www.myspace.com/dwighthobbesmusic