Same-sex marriage debate is tearing us apart

By Daniel J. Bauer

I would like to gently remind readers that I do not write in this space as a spokesperson of The China Post, or of my university, my church or my religious order, the Society of the Divine Word. I speak only for myself.

You have not seen me at the recent demonstrations that have called several thousands of our citizens onto the streets in Taipei and around the country to take a public stand on the complex and emotional debate about same-sex marriage in Taiwan. I need not list the marches, protests and all the noise that collectively sets the stage for this column. I include in all that the media-savvy press conferences and assorted claims and disclaimers we have heard on the pros and cons of legislation on same-sex marriage.

I chose not to participate in the public displays, thank you very much. Personal friends who I very much respect were there. I’ve no problem with that. But, speaking the truth, “That ain’t my style.”

That line, with the usage of “ain’t” (an error by our contemporary standards), comes from an iconic poem by Ernest Lawrence Thayer about a baseball game and a fallen hero named Casey.

“Casey at the Bat” opens with the words, “The outlook wasn’t brilliant for the Mudville nine that day.” The home town of the imaginary team is of course “Mudville.” Baseball requires nine players. Thus, the “nine” there.

The game is almost lost as Casey steps into the batter’s box and gazes at the crowd. The fans hope he’ll hit a home run at the very last minute and save the day. The mighty slugger lets the first pitch fly by, his bat quiet on his shoulder. “That ain’t my style,” he growls. In the end, Casey swings and misses. The final verse of the poem: “(Tonight) there is no joy in Mudville. Casey has struck out.” One reason it wasn’t my style to march in support of the proponents of “family values,” “traditional man-woman marriage” and “acceptable sexual unions” and such was because I felt the marchers were spiritual partners in the public eye with the Coalition for the Happiness of Our Next Generation, the anti-gay marriage National Religious Alliance and similar groups who seem to engage in the indiscriminate bashing and slandering of members of the LGBT community. I want no part in efforts to stigmatize people because they are different than me in their sexual identity.

I am not saying that the demonstrators are all alike. On the contrary, many of them are good Christians. (Note, despite local misunderstanding of the English “Christian,” Catholics are Christians, too.)