Friday, May 27, 2011

Yesterday's In-Class Same-Sex "Marriage" Debate

"There are no gays in Korea," foreigners were often told back in the not-so-gay '90s; things have changed in the fifteen years I have been in country — Korea Queer Culture Festival to open May 28. This brings to mind yesterday's debate in my class. My students chose the topic, chose sides, and had a week to prepare. At the end of the debate, the leader of the pro team changed her opinion, citing so many "conservative arguments" from the audience and saying that Korea is "not ready" for gay marriage.

Leaving aside the false doctrine of progressionism implied by the expression "not ready," I was impressed that my students, not only on the con team but also in the audience during the discussion that followed, resorted to natural law arguments and definitions of terms like "rights," "marriage," and "family." One member of the con team did say that in preparation for the debate, he watched some gay porn and found it "disgusting," but most students expressed what the Young Fogey calls "tolerant conservatism" and said homosexuals should be left well enough alone to do as they please but that society is under no obligation to gegally sanction their relationships and make them equal to marriage.

Confucianism was brought up several times by the con team, and when challenged by the pro team as to whether Confucianism was better than any other philosophy, a con team member said, "No, it's not better, but it's what formed our country for more than 700 years," a wonderfully particularist argument. An audience member said that 20% of Koreans are Protestant and 10% Catholic and that these people would have their freedoms violated by legalizing gay marriage.

At the end of the debate, I asked students to vote whether they thought same-sex marriage should be allowed now in Korea, and not one student, not even on the pro team, said yes. Had we been at an American university, at this point the campus police would have entered the classroom and hauled us off at "hate criminals."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough, whenever this topic comes up, I (somewhat jokingly) accuse pro-gay marriage advocates of of being racist and bigoted for this particular reason.

2:27 PM  
Blogger The Western Confucian said...

They're not only racist, they're Islamophobic. (Saying they're Christophobic, which they are, will only strengthen their resolve to impose their immorality on the rest of us.)

2:41 PM  

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