The Friendship Litmus test
At what point does politically disagreeing become something that you simply can’t remain friends over?
I have a bunch of friends from varied political perspectives (though, admittedly, most are liberal, but hey, I work and study in the sociology dept. of a university!), but the one line that I won’t cross is same-sex marriage. Either they think it’s a no-brainer and us gays and lesbians should have it, or I don’t want them in my life anymore.
Hell, I have friends that are TOTAL fiscal conservatives, and we have some real interesting discussions around taxes, and I know some people that are anti-choice. But allowing me the option of marrying the woman of my dreams when I meet her, there’s my line in the sand.
Do others have similar?
Some others chimed in, but I thought we’d open up the comments to this conversation as well as make this an open thread and blogwhoring extravaganza.
Personally, there are so many friendship deal-breakers for me it’s a wonder I have any friends. I like to go out in public with my four earrings in and my 100% hemp potleaf cap on. It helps me quickly distinguish the kind of people I don’t want to be around, anyway.
The usual brands of hate — homophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, sexism, etc. — are all friendship deal-breakers for me, as they should be for any reasonable person. I don’t do well with the the overtly religious, because I have a tendency to give an honest opinion when asked. It is difficult because so many of my family have a little bit of the Jeebus Juice in ’em. But so long as they don’t proselytize and they can accept my hedonist atheism, I can get along.
I can deal with political difference of opinion. I have Republican friends, Libertarian friends, pro-life friends, and anti-gay marriage friends. You may think the anti-gay marriage thing would conflict with the anti-homophobia thing, but I don’t think that is always the case. I know people who are comfortable with gay people, not particularly religious, but just can’t get past the “one man one woman” rhetoric. I can’t be friends with someone who is hateful, but I think many of these people are simply ignorant, and ignorance can be cured (and if recent stats regarding acceptance of gay marriage can be trusted, ignorance is being cured).
I can even be friends with people who are opposed to my pet political cause: marijuana policy reform. Two of my cousins are county sheriff’s deputies back home, and we get along great. I tease them about how if they were on duty, they should be throwing me down and cuffing me; they tease back that if they see reason to do so, they don’t need to be on duty. But both agree that marijuana prohibition is ridiculous and they’d rather spend their time and efforts on real crime. But then they fall back into the “we just enforce the law” and “if it’s a bad law, the citizens need to change it” defenses, which, I’ll grant them, are valid.
That’s just me. I try to win over my opponents by showing them I’m smart and reasonable and deserving of as much respect and equal treatment under the law as they are. I try to befriend them and teach them that the lies and stereotypes they’ve believed about people like me are just wrong. If I can get them to thinking “well, not all liberals/potheads/atheists are bad; I know this guy Russ…”, then I’m winning. I can’t tell you, Sarah, that you should befriend the people who wish to deny you marriage; however, it would make it harder for them to justify that bigotry when it’s happening to someone they know and like as a friend.