Had a discussion with my parents last night

and with a dramatic subject line like that, you’d think this is some big deal, but not really. We just had a discussion about a lot of things- religion, quantum physics, relativity, gay marriage, drugs- and it was fun. (I guess I talked a lot, but they seemed happy enough to listen, and we debated some things) I like talking to them! I only hope that I don’t come across as the reckless kid who thinks everything that his parents say is wrong.

And I totally rolled my dad in a debate, which is rare, as he argues for a living. It was great! The topic: gay marriage. (at least I think I rolled him… we both ended up back where we started: I support gay marriage, he supports civil unions but not marriage, but I felt like I had a pretty convincing argument overall, and the only reason that he still thinks the way he does is that he still thinks the way he does.)

It was mostly all philosophy, little hard data, but I did the best I could. Among my points:
- being gay is not a choice, it’s an inherent aspect. My dad disagrees with this point (he thinks it’s some genetics and some choice). Me: why would so many people choose it, if it were a choice? Gay people have been persecuted throughout history (correct me if I’m wrong there). Him: it could be a refuge, like some poor people on the fringes of society fall into it because it’s an accepting group. (Silent me: have you MET gay people?)
which led to the next point:
- being gay is no less good than being straight. Now, my dad doesn’t think being gay is bad, he just doesn’t think it’s “the kind of thing our society should be promoting.” Which means he thinks it’s bad, or at least less good than being straight. So I guess we have a fundamental disagreement there too. (If humanity were threatened with extinction and we needed to crank out as many babies as possible, then yeah, I could see how being gay is less good than being straight. But there’s overpopulation.)
- Anyway, if you accept my previous two premises (which my dad doesn’t), then you have to accept that allowing gay people anything less than straight people is discrimination. Even if it’s the same civil rights but a different name (that would be “separate but equal” discrimination).

Okay, this is not brilliant arguing on my part, but I was proud, and I backed my dad into a corner where his logical conclusion was that “gay < straight” and “gay is a choice” were axioms. It’s hard to change axioms of your world. I’d think that if he knew more gay people, and heard them tell about how they came to realize they were gay (and so on), he might reverse the latter axiom. The first one is a little tougher to unravel, seeing as it’s sorta been drilled into us for thousands of years, and the Catholic church, to which he nominally belongs, seems to be doing nothing to help the issue.

Another highlight of the debate: I was talking about gay people throughout history, Shakespeare, Da Vinci, …
Dad: Wait, Shakespeare?
Me: Yep. So gay.
Dad: No he wasn’t!
Me: Yeah he was. Super gay. Those sonnets? “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” They were for a dude!
Dad: No!
My mom silently nods.
Me: Yep. Definitely gay.

Then I tried to debate drug legalization, where my main argument is “it works in the Netherlands” (which is true) but I guess one axiom-challenging debate in an evening is enough. At any rate, I have to give my parents, and especially my dad, credit for being probably more tolerant than I. We disagree a lot, but I think he thinks I’m less of a rainbow hippie than I think he’s a stodgy conservative. (of course, when we argue in a civilized way, I find him a lot less stodgy-conservative.)

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