Hmm. I think one can definitely believe in traditional marriage, values, and morals, and not be a bigot. It's carrying a sign in protest of other people having the same rights, and accusing those people of scamming the country that makes me believe this person is a bigot. If someone is motivated enough to make a sign and pound asphalt to display that one is against other people doing something that you take for granted in your own life, such as marrying the person you love, yeah, I will be unconvinced that the thing that got you there isn't bigotry.
And that is how I feel about every argument against marriage equality--completely unconvinced. At base, the arguments boil down to a particularly obnoxious idea that the Bible-bangers who oppose marriage are morally in the right because they say so, and if you should, for whatever reason, disagree, you hate God and Real Christians (TM) and are trying to destroy the moral fiber of the country. In other words, they oppose other people, whom they do not even know, having the right to marry because it's against their religion.
If they want a nice argument regarding religious freedom, here's one: Why can't people who don't believe in a definition of marriage that excludes them get married? Are they forced to live by the moral code of someone else? Because I certainly don't buy the religious freedom argument that comes from the gay-marriage opponents--because they aren't be asked to do anything but mind their own business! Telling people to mind their own business isn't "criminalizing" their religion. And it sounds realllly strained when that argument gets made.
The changes that have occurred with respects to the marriage equality debate give me some hope that the Religious Right in the country is becoming marginalized as their message becomes exposed as being not merely contemptuous of LGBT people and their allies, but factually wrong and hateful. Consider the case of Dave Agema of the Republican National Committee in MI, who promoted an article full of what he would call facts, and most people would call bullshit and hate speech. I don't know how you can call it anything but bigotry (well, add ignorancce) to think there is nothing wrong with what was posted, but here is where he stands on it:
Agema, a former lawmaker who now serves as a Michigan Republican National Committeeman, said he posted the article to promote discussion on gay issues within the GOP.
"Now's the time to discuss it, that's why I brought it up," Agema said. "Say, 'oh, you're dividing the party,' no, I don't think so; we're standing on the principle of the party. If the party doesn't stand on its principle, we'll lose our base."That's what he believes the principle of the Republican Party is? Calling gay people filthy and accusing them of recruiting children? Huh. I though it currently had mostly to do with tax cuts, dismantling the social safety net and making war. You learn something new everyday. But there is some strong sentiment in that regard among social conservatives--enough so that ThinkProgress has pointed to five prominent social conservatives who threaten that if the party breaks with them over marriage equality, they will leave it. (And go where, I wonder. Okay--I don't actually wonder. I don't actually even care so long as they aren't threatening to remake the country into some Handmaiden's Tale theme park. Maybe on election day, they'll just sit indoors and think sad thoughts.)
So seriously--is their support that vital to the GOP? And I ask not just as a marriage-equality ally, but also because these are generally the same people who want employers to determine whether their employees can afford birth control, and want pregnant ladies who don't want to be pregnant to get a transvaginal ultrasound--you know, so they know what's what. Cutting loose the theocrats might not just help improve the party's cred with any gays who for whatever reason think only rich people should have health care and that poor people are living way too high a life on food stamps, but would also cool off that whole "War on Women " thing. Kind of. Not that I'm forgetting anything, myself.
It's worth a thought.