OT: No on Eight is Pro-American, Pro-Marriage

I realize this post is off-topic, and I hope my fellow ‘lopers see fit to allow me leeway to vent. I am angered by the fact that out-of-state interests are pouring money into California to pass a state Constitution amendment banning gay marriage. It is despicable that any sort of United States constitution is being used to deny rights of its citizens.

That is, to use the current vernacular, the epitome of anti-American.

While some marriages are performed in churches by clergy, the truth of the matter is that marriage is a civic institution. Churches cannot and do not provide any sort of rights to married couples (except, I suppose, special seating in the pews). The state (be it local government, state government, or the federal government) confers all necessary rights and privileges of marriage to citizens.

To deny marriage on the basis of sexual orientation is to engage in abhorrent discrimination. Those vile enough (yes, vile) enough to vote to deny rights to a class of citizens are engaging in anti-family behavior. They are impacting the rights of committed adults to make decisions related to health care, survivor’s benefits, child care, taxes, and other everyday actions. It is the state that allows spouses these privileges, not your god.

If you oppose gay marriage on religious grounds, the solution for you is simple: continue to live your life as you currently do. In California, we have enjoyed gay marriage for some time, and it has not changed the way most of us live our day-to-day lives. Those of us in solid marriages remain happy, those in miserable marriages either continue to suffer or are taking steps toward happiness. That gay couples are marrying has no impact on most of us, unless we know people who are either happily or unhappily engaged in gay marriage.

It amuses me that some tout the illusion of “traditional” marriage. Yes, agreed, our society has historically recognized heterosexual marriage as the norm, but, like so much of our world, these so-called norms are based as much on religious precedent as they are expansion of the species. Building up our numbers has been as much a human goal as marrying in the eyes of the church — it wasn’t so long ago, in terms of our existence on this planet, that such behaviors as polygamy were considered mainstream. Your Old Testament is proof of that.

Marriage throughout history has served a variety of functions, most recently, in Western society particularly, as public proof of “love”. There is nothing “traditional” about marriage, no single thing that we can point to and say “that is how marriage has always been”. Marriage has been as much a business arrangement as it’s been a poster child for family values (what are those, anyway?).

The most bogus of all bogus arguments is that this is needed to preserve the “sanctity of marriage”. In your average two-person marriage, there are only two people who can destroy the sanctity of that marriage. In my mind, the only true path to destruction (as opposed to the more-common marital breakdown when it becomes apparent that these two people really don’t have the necessary bond to spend their lives together, and, really, is that so very odd?) is the breaking of trust. While a third-party can impact that trust, only me or my spouse can break that ultimate trust.

The best way to preserve the sanctity of marriage is to make sure you make smart decisions about your own marriage. I am continually appalled by the way my fellow heterosexuals of all political persuasions treat marriage like it’s trash — and so many of these people miss the irony of their actions. While they oppose gay marriage, they engage in some of the most irresponsible, anti-marriage and anti-family behaviors imaginable.

Let he who is without sin and all that.

The stupidest way to preserve the sanctity of marriage is to pass laws that deny basic civil rights (I know some say human rights, but I am not convinced that marriage is so much a human right as it is a civil right) to people who desire the ability to participate wholly in society. I wish these people would put half as much energy into real issues, like ensuring that every child gets enough nutrition, that no person in this country sleeps on the streets, that the air we breathe isn’t toxic, that people who get married and start families are supported during tough times, and that a society who condemns sex before marriage doesn’t turn in its hypocritical heel to celebrate teenage pregnancy.

Your god — whomever and however you choose to worship — surely doesn’t worry about who marries whom (or whom marries who, since we’re talking about expanding our worlds). You cannot blame the world’s ills on homosexuality. Homosexuality doesn’t start wars. Homosexuality doesn’t create financial crises. Homosexuality doesn’t increase the planet’s temperatures. Heck, if demographics are accurate, those regions of the United States that are the most religious, conservative, “traditional” are also the regions hardest hit by nature’s wrath.

If I were the skeptical sort, I’d think God was punishing the people who lived in these regions for daring to meddle in areas that are God’s concern or, horrors!, making baseless pronouncements about what God “wants” or would do or says. I, of course, do not believe this. I believe that weather patterns shift from year to year and hurricanes and tornadoes are just part of how things are. You’re not being punished and you’re not being specifically saved.

If there is any aspect of this argument that is worth considering, it is about protecting the sanctity of the institution of marriage. Suggesting that one type of couple is superior to another misses the point of marriage. In our modern society, marriage is first about a couple making a formal commitment to each other for better, for worse. Second (theoretically), it is about growing a family beyond the two. Third, it is about integrating that family into the larger society.

Same sex, different sex, same ethnicity, different ethnicity, same religion, different religion — none of these change the structure of the institution of marriage. If it is indeed part of the foundation of our society, then we, as a society, are charged with the responsibility of strengthening marriage. Denying marriage to those who desire to participate in our society is the antithesis of this goal.

I have yet to encounter an argument against gay marriage that is based in logic, not faith. There is no logical reason to deny people this right. Those who oppose gay marriage do so, generally, for faith-based reasons. Those who support gay marriage do so, generally, because we believe our rights don’t trump the rights of others.

If you don’t like gay marriage, don’t marry someone of your same gender. Don’t invite gay couples into your home. Don’t attend wedding showers. But don’t deny rights to other people simply because you don’t like something — remember, discrimination is a funny thing, and you might be on the wrong side of hatred tomorrow.

If you truly believe in the sanctity of marriage, the importance of marriage, and true American values, then vote “No” on Proposition 8.

8 Responses to “OT: No on Eight is Pro-American, Pro-Marriage”

  1. Kassia says:

    And he makes my point: holy matrimony is something conferred by a church for religious purposes. The church performs a ceremony, but other than that, confers no rights or privileges to the couple. Marriage, however, is a civic institution with rights and privileges deemed by the state.

  2. Scott says:

    The ‘yes on 8’ radio ads really make my blood boil – saying that acceptance of gay marriage is now ‘mandatory’. For insurance companies and such, maybe that’s true, but the ads make it sound like the state is forcing you to personally accept gay marriage.

    What really gets me is that most of the people who are going to vote yes on 8 are the ones who will never, ever be affected by it. They don’t know any openly gay people, their church is never going to allow same-sex ceremonies, and from their perspective things will continue to be exactly as they have for ages. Of my gay and lesbian friends who have been so inclined as to get married, the fact that it wasn’t legally binding was never an impediment to having a ceremony, publicly expressing their commitment, and living together. This is really only about the dull, mundane details of things like inheritance law and health benefits. The only reason for voting yes on 8 is hate, pure and simple.

  3. Jim says:

    As one of your fellow ‘lopers, I fully support this post.

    I don’t understand homophobia, and I totally don’t understand institutionalized homophobia.

    I believe that people who need laws to foist their religious beliefs upon others are insecure in those beliefs and that people who need laws that deny others the same rights to celebrate their sexuality with other consenting adults are insecure in their sexuality.

  4. bowerbird says:

    > I have yet to encounter
    > an argument against gay marriage
    > that is based in logic, not faith.

    and yet you muster logic to make your point.
    no wonder you aren’t changing their votes…

    i just say “if two people want to get married,
    who am i to stop them?” and leave it at that.

    better than working yourself up into a tizzy.


  5. Kassia says:

    but tizzy is what i do best — and, you know, frankly it’s time that people like me got worked into a tizzy. we keep saying that fairness and logic will rule, but we need to be passionate, tizzified.

    thank you for approving this message, jim!

  6. Carol Connelly says:

    Kassia, I am in a tizzy too, and I completely agree with you. One thing I have noticed here in Fresno is that along with a McCain Pallin yard sign there will almost always be a Yes on Prop 8 sign. Shows you where the bigotry is!
    By the way, I am very proud to be a ‘loper Mom!

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