Savage Vs. Brown Dinner Debate Ends Up In Drunkenness
If you hadn't heard, gay sex columnist and activist Dan Savage recently had a dinner table debate about same-sex marriage with the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage's President Brian Brown.
You see, during a speech this last April at a high school journalism convention, Savage offended some students by calling parts of the bible (like the part that upholds slavery) as "bullshit." A handful of students walked out in protest, just like professional journalists do every time they hear something they don't like.
Afterwards, Brown challenged Savage to a debate, saying, “You want to savage the Bible? Christian morality? Traditional marriage? Pope Benedict? I’m here, you name the time and the place and let’s see what a big man you are in a debate with someone who can talk back.”
So Savage invited Brown to his house, hired a straight chef to cook, and ambiguously straight New York Times columnist Mark Oppenheimer moderated the debate.
Afterwards Oppenheimer called the participants afterwards to ask them how it went. Apparently none of them thought that it went so well:
"I spoke with Mr. Brown by phone, and he seemed to agree that the setting had made little difference. “There’s this myth that folks like me, we don’t know any gay people, and if we just met them, we would change our views,” he said. “But the notion that if you have us into your house, that all that faith and reason that we have on our side, we will chuck it out and change our views — that’s not the real world.”
As for Mr. Savage, he felt that being on his home turf had actually worked against him. “Playing host put me in this position of treating Brian Brown like a guest,” he said. “It was better in theory than in practice — it put me at a disadvantage during the debate, as the undertow of playing host resulted in my being more solicitous and considerate than I should’ve been. If I had it to do over again, I think I’d go with a hall.”
And apparently, Oppenheimer was drunk as balls the entire time:
"Terry Miller, Dan’s spouse, came out to offer me a drink. I eagerly accepted.
From then on, I did not stop drinking. It started with Terry’s Mai Tai, as Mr. Miller named his fabulous rum drink, and continued with the red wine that Mr. Brown politely brought when he arrived without his wife, who was pregnant with their eighth child, and then the white wine that Mr. Colwell [the chef] provided to accompany dinner...
"Every time they disagreed, I drank some more."
Even Oppenheimer himself said that neither man was changed by the discussion and looking at the YouTube footage below, one can see why.
Savage comes at Brown with a handful of articulate points about how religion does not justify governmental discrimination, and Brown responds by sweating, literally foaming at the mouth and repeatedly telling Savage "You're wrong," without referencing any scientific or religious scholarship for his conclusions.
Our biggest disagreement however has to do with Savage's home decor—the Boy Scout portrait, Buffalo head, the mahogany buffet table and chairs, the brown walls and brown tablecloth—it all makes us wanna say, "Ooooh, hurney no!" It's just all so drab and, dare we say, catholic.
Oh well, what did we expect from a debate between two of the most visible figureheads of gay and anti-gay rhetoric? One man's broken-down, teary-eyed admission of wrongness? No.
But who knows. Maybe Brown will admit he was wrong about all his anti-gay stances when marriage equality finally passes. Or maybe he'll realize that his anti-gay opinions have no place at the dinner table—it's just bad manners.