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26 February 2013

The Ambivalence of a Trojan Gift Horse

One shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth--unless that gift horse is Trojan. Several big-name Republicans are signing on to an amicus brief in support of homogamous marriage. A clear instance of widespread cognitive dissonance (i.e. I'm being told that homogamy is evil, but I know an increasing number of gay people whose love is obviously good) has caused a lot of anxiety among Republicans. Look closely, though; Republicans aren't simply admitting that they were wrong and that progressives were right. Instead, they are recasting the entirety of the issue as a mass misunderstanding in which gay rights are actually consistent with the conservative political ideology.  Instead of their "evolving" stance on homogamy challenging their worldview, they are reframing the issue so that it actually buttresses their worldview. It truly is Bizzaro World. And, I think that it is dangerous. We now seem to live in a world in which people are so ideologically entrenched, be it in their religions, politics, or attitudes, that it is nearly impossible to renegotiate their positions. Some might argue that it doesn't matter how people get there as long as we reach a just ends, but I would counter that the ends aren't actually the same in this case, that "personal liberties" and "social justice" are not only strange bedfellows but diametrically opposed paths with radically divergent ends.

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