The sponsors of California's same-sex marriage ban insist they are not trying to disqualify the federal judge who struck down Proposition 8 because he is gay.Interesting right? I mean, one of the reasons why we need to prevent same-sex marriage is that it's disruptive - gay people don't want the same things that normal people want, so letting them get married will totally destroy the institution of marriage. Ya know, cuz they don't do relationships the way we do. Oh, wait, except here's one of those gay people who seems to have a stable relationship with his partner. But somehow this doesn't serve as a counterexample that reveals a flaw in the argument. It just makes him unqualified to rule on the subject of marriage. Because maybe he wants to get married. And if he was a single gay man then he wouldn't be qualified either, because then we could infer that he doesn't want to get married, and therefore has no respect for the institution of marriage. And now that we think about it, no gay judge would be qualified to rule on this. But not because we're biased against them, of course.
Instead, they argue the judge's decade-long relationship with another man poses a potential conflict because they might want to get hitched themselves.
I wonder, if he was a single hetero male, then would he be qualified to rule on this? Because then we could infer that maybe he was anti-marriage, right? Since we're just straight-up speculating about people personal lives and motives and desires and the impact of that on their legal competence, this seems like a valid line of reasoning. Or if he was happily married, that might disqualify him, because he might think that marriage is so awesome that everyone ought to be able to share in the bliss. And by this reasoning shouldn't a judge who's been married for years be barred from ruling on cases involving divorce law, since he might be unhappily married and pining for a divorce, or happily married and unable to imagine why anyone would ever even want a divorce? And then shouldn't single hetero judges be barred from ruling on cases involving divorce law too, since maybe the reason they're single is that they experienced an unhappy marriage and are now divorced, or that their divorce was the best/worst thing that ever happened to them? I mean, really, is anyone ever qualified to rule on something like this? If you follow this line of reasoning, it doesn't seem like it.
Except that if you're the socially conservative opponents of same-sex marriage, you really do think that there is one group of people who are qualified to rule in cases like this. Straight white males. Because they have the default, "objective" perspective. In contrast, anyone who isn't the straight white male norm is obviously ruled only by their personal experiences and countercultural agendas and could never simply look at the law and the relevant precedent and apply it to the current case. Because straight white males don't have situated identities, but Others do. Because straight white males operate on reason alone and aren't influenced by their life experiences, but Others lack the mental discipline and depth of character to keep these things separated.
Of course, if you're the socially conservative type, you think this way, but you know better than to say it out loud. You might not even be aware of the fact that you believe this. But you've learned to try to put a nicer face on it, and make it about his marital aspirations rather than about his flawed identity. You probably also think that nobody sees through it, to the insecurities and pettiness behind it. Good luck with that.