CNN recently launched a new podcast project headed by Dean Obeidallah and in its second episode the trio of hosts pondered whether or not one is a bigot for opposing gay marriage.
Obeidallah, who bills himself as a “political comedian,” co-hosts the podcast with CNN commentator, GOP consultant, and gay rights activist Margaret Hoover and John Avalon, who is billed as a “centrist” despite that he is an employee of CNN and the left-wing Daily Beast website. There are no strictly conservative contributors on CNN’s new The Big Three podcast, but it seems apparent that gay rights advocate Hoover is supposed to be representing the right.
In this episode, Obeidallah wonders, “Is it fair to label a person a bigot simply for arguing that marriage should only be between a man and a woman?” Naturally he concludes that, yes, anyone that opposes gay marriage is a bigot.
To illustrate his point, the comedian contends that being against gay marriage is exactly like being against interracial marriage. This contention has been called a strawman argument by commentators such as Dennis Prager who notes that opposing interracial marriage was always a bigoted notion because there was no aspect of the proscription that wasn’t based merely on race.
“There is no comparison between sex and race,” Prager points out. “There are enormous differences between men and women, but there are no differences between people of different races,” he said in a 2008 commentary.
“Men and women are inherently different, but blacks and whites (and yellows and browns) are inherently the same. Therefore, any imposed separation by race can never be moral or even rational; on the other hand, separation by sex can be both morally desirable and rational. Separate bathrooms for men and women is moral and rational; separate bathrooms for blacks and whites is not.”
Had Obeidallah taken a bit of time to find opposing views to his chorus of co-hosts that lean left on the issue he may have found this argument of interest. But since Obeidallah and CNN didn’t invite conservative voices onto the new podcast these ideas were excluded from the discussion.
Oddly, Obeidallah tried to have it both ways on the question saying that being against gay marriage is certainly bigoted, but that those that are against the policy aren’t bigoted “today.”
“If someone is against marriage equality now, they’re still a bigot, but with an asterisk. They’re not a bigot today. Today they have time, there’s still a window where you can evolve and not be a bigot,” Obeidallah said.
So if you are for protecting marriage and the family today, you “have time” to “evolve” toward agreement with Obeidallah before he’s ready to call you a bigot outright. But if you don’t agree with his ideas about the world, you are a bigot regardless. There’s an argument that invites persuasion.
During the rest of the podcast, Obeidallah attacked U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann–calling her stupid–and wondered why “political zombies” such as Republican Mark Sandford are now allowed to come back for another try at office even after “killing” their career with scandals.