Originally Posted by Glenn E Meyer
So rhetorical use of 'phobe' - I DO NOT want to start a discussion of gay rights but the usage of homophobe to describe opponents of gay marriage is equivalent to hoplophobe. A strongly held belief with some emotional components about a political position isn't as of yet a mental illness.
I agree, and it has been my intent to steer clear of any of the substance of the same-sex marriage issue. I might take your point step further and note that it is poor rhetorical etiquette to attribute an opponent's position to a fear, real or imagined, where that opponent has provided to you a stated basis for his position. You would not do that to me and I would not do that to you.
However, when discourse turns away from fair discussion, as it so often does in political matters, there are a number of techniques that are distasteful but have proven utility.