"I want, I want, I want ... but that's crazy"

Friday, November 7, 2008

As promised, my rant against the gay marriage bans

I haven't taken the time to outline this post, so it will probably start to wander all over the place. Consider yourself warned. But here's my rant on California's Prop 8 and the two other gay marriage bans that were enacted by the voters on Tuesday.

Let's go over the standard arguments against gay marriage, and I'll address them one by one. (Thanks to the jackasses at nogaymarriage.com for making this easier.) Maybe it'll help keep this a little more organized, but I still don't promise not to stray a bit.

* God says it's bad, according to the Book, anyway. We have no business legalizing behavior prohibited by God.
Alright, I'm going to get the God argument out of the way right now. We're not talking about church doctrine, we're talking about law - as in man's law. The church doesn't apply on a legal issue. Each church has the right to decide whether or not they will bless the union of a same-sex couple or a heterosexual couple, but under law, marriage is a contract. Religion has nothing to do with it. Atheists are allowed to get married, and the church won't sanction it, but the state will. As the state should. Under law, marriage is a contract. If you have religious objections to gay marriage, that's your right, but you - or the government - can't force any other part of your doctrine on the rest of the population - thanks to our already constitutionally protected right to freedom of religion. No church or religious entity of any kind has to sanction a marriage in order for it to be legal. I got married the first time in front of a judge, not a minister. God wasn't mentioned in the vows or anything I signed. When it comes to law, sorry folks, God has nothing to do with it.

* Legally sanctioned gay marriages destroy the institution of marriage and are a threat to traditional families. More specifically, it's "devastating to children."
Ok. Tell me, HOW exactly it is a threat? Will heterosexual couples stop getting married if gay couples are allowed to marry? I think not. It's completely ridiculous. So this is sanctioning non-traditional families. Well, mixed race families are non-traditional. Mixed-religion families are non-traditional. Families with adopted children or foster children are non-traditional. Hell, marrying outside the clan is a break with tradition, and if you look at the history of royal families, marrying outside YOUR OWN BLOODLINE was a violation of tradition. Traditional marriages, depending on your culture and tradition, included having herds of mistresses, often living within the same household. Traditional marriages were arranged by the parents, with no right of the children to choose their own mate. Tradition sent pre-pubescent girls into wedlock with men old enough to be their own grandfathers. Times change. Don't even try to make the argument that "tradition" is the gold standard for determining what is right. Slavery was a tradition once, too, in this country. In many places, it still is. Does that make it right? Does anyone really believe that there's any validity to the "we do it this way because this is the way we've always done it; therefore, it is the right way to do it." We wouldn't get very far if we thought that way about everything. And as for destroying the institution of marriage, gays are trying to be a PART of the institution of marriage. They're showing the ultimate form of respect for the institution of marriage. What do the anti-gay marriage people think this is? Some kind of segregated country club? And as far as being devastating to children, it's been well-established that children of gay couples are no more likely to be socially deviant in any way than children of opposite-sex couples. In fact, children raised by two committed parents statistically are better off, regardless of the sexes of the parents. Besides, I might remind you that marriage is not biologically required by homosexual or heterosexual couples to bear children. I know lots of lesbians who've given birth to children. Usually in the "old-fashioned" way, too. If mommy lives with another woman, she's still mommy. And the other woman might well be mommy, too. Why can't they get married and legally establish the commitment they've made to each other? As it stands now, if the biological mommy dies, the non-biological one has no legal right to keep the child she might well have raised since birth. Taking both parents away is somehow BETTER for the child?

* Legally sanctioned gay marriage will lead to polygamy and other vile practices such as marriage to children or animals. This is the so-called "slippery slope" argument.
This is my favorite. I'll say again marriage is a contract. By its nature and definition, it is an EXCLUSIVE contract. Remember that "forsaking all others" bit in the usual vows? That's what it's about. The contract legally binds two consenting adults to each other to the exclusion of others. So the idea that legally sanctioning gay marriage will open the door to polygamy is, like the rest of the arguments, a complete load of crap. There goes the part about marrying children or animals, too. Under any contract law, contracts cannot be entered into by a minor (without a parental co-signator) or by an animal. Enough said. On top of that, states already have in place protections regarding the age of parental consent for marriage. All the states. So this supposed door has already been closed.

* I'm pulling this one directly from the site, because it's such crap you need to see it in its entirety. "An even greater objective of the homosexual movement is to end the state's compelling interest in marital relationships altogether. After marriages have been redefined, divorces will be obtained instantly, will not involve a court, and will take on the status of a driver's license or a hunting permit. With the family out of the way, all rights and privileges of marriage will accrue to gay and lesbian partners without the legal entanglements and commitments heretofore associated with it."
Damn, I've got to say, "paranoid much?" There's a homosexual movement? So they've got recruiters out there or something trying to "turn" your children like it's some kind of cult. Give it up! Gay marriage means these people WANT to commit exclusively to one person for the rest of their lives. How on earth does this equate to a desire to make divorces as easy to obtain as a hunting permit or driver's license. Besides, MARRIAGE is already easier to get than a driver's license for most people. There's no test involved. Divorce, however, is not easy. That first marriage of mine in front of the judge, we got it in two days by signing a couple of papers and filling out an application. And the marriage lasted five months. Yes, it was a mistake, but it was ours to make, and it was perfectly legal. The divorce? That took 22 months. Nothing in legalizing gay marriage can possibly relate to making divorce easier. The marriages and the divorces should be equally as easy or difficult to get as they are right now for anyone else. Just EQUAL. "With the family out of the way, all rights and privileges of marriage will accrue to gay and lesbian partners without the legal entanglements and commitments heretofore associated with it." How is that, when precisely what they're asking for is to be able to have EXACTLY THE SAME legal entanglements and commitments as heterosexual couples?

* Every school will be required to teach that this "perversion is the moral equivalent of traditional marriage."
I don't think anything about any kind of marriage has been taught in most schools since maybe the early 1970s or so. I mean, they don't have time to teach music and art because there are all these tests they're required to prepare kids for. Schools don't teach morality.

* Courts will not be able to favor a "traditional family" over a household with two parents of the same sex in adoption or foster family child placement.
So what? Children need to be raised in a healthy, loving family. There are thousands of heterosexual married couples involved in drugs, violence and all kinds of other criminal behavior. Each couple should be evaluated on its own merits, and frankly, they need to be evaluated a lot more closely. There are children who need good homes that could be provided to them by a loving homosexual couples. Those parents will dress them for school, help them with homework, make them dinner, drive them to soccer games - just like any good parents do. Preference should not be given to a couple with lesser qualifications just because they're of two different sexes.

* It would be excessively draining on the Social Security system because of the millions of new dependents entitled to survivor benefits.
Umm, so you shouldn't be able to collect Social Security benefits because you're gay? Umm, do gay people not work and pay into the system just like everyone else? And let's talk about the children again. If a parent dies, the children are entitled to Social Security benefits, which, by the way, are calculated based solely on that person's lifetime income and payments into the system. So, if Tommy has two mommies and one of the mommies dies, he shouldn't get that benefit? Yeah, that's really protecting his interests, isn't it?

* This one's not from the site, but from a comment I read while going through all the post-Prop 8 passage news. The purpose of marriage is to sustain and propagate the species. Gay couples can't have kids. As I recall, the fellow said something along the lines of "why should they get all the rights and benefits associated with marriage while WE do all the work."
Alright, stupid. So does this mean that heterosexual couples who cannot or choose not to have children should not be allowed to get married either?

The supporters of Prop 8 in California and the other abominations in Arizona and Florida are arguing that the majority has spoken, and gay couples will just have to live with it. One of the primary purposes of government is to protect the minority from the majority. These propositions never should have been presented to the voters in the first place. It's just allowing the morality of the majority to be imposed upon the minority. It's sanctioning discrimination. If the abolition of slavery was put to a vote in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia in the 1860s, it would have failed. Would that have made it right?


Flo said...

This is an excellent post!! Your arguments are well thought out and make an awful lot of sense. I have to say I consider myself a conservative but I don't understand the uproar against gay marriage. We heteros haven't done that great a job at it, with a 50% divorce rate. Again, excellent post.

Goddess said...

Thanks! I've had it in me for a while, and I don't know why it's taken me this long to get it down in print. I'm proud to say that I reposted this on CNN's iReport site today, and it's the second-highest viewed item on the topic. (The top one is a video piece.) It's also been on the iReport home page all day as one of the top "newsiest" stories. The link to the iReport post is http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-142657.

Mountain Woman said...

That was a fantastic post! I had never heard the argument about social security before. Whoever is arguing that point is completely deluded. I wish people would allow other people to live and stop trying to foist their beliefs upon us.

jodapoet said...

Thank you so much. I've been trying to get the message across on my blog to no avail. You've detailed each argument and asked very direct questions. What's funny is the backers of prop 8, from Utah and is reported from the Mormon church are the ones that spew the "sacredness of marriage between a man and woman." Correct me if I'm wrong but aren't these the same people who practice polygamy? How sacred is that? I find the people who voted for prop 8 as religious fanatics who want to shove their own agenda down everyone's throats. They live is a state of fear resulted from sheer ignorance. It's really sad. Thanks for this fantastic post.

Lea said...

It is so absurd how some of this stuff gets taken so seriously. It's like one part false urban legend and one part people believing anything their told, especially if the words "Bible" and "God" are in the sentence.

Will people ever wake up and think for themselves instead of thinking what someone tells them to think?

Rebecca Hartong said...

Your first marriage only lasted 5 months? If you'd just gotten married in a church, you'd probably still be married to that person.

Kidding! Kidding!!

Had you worried for a minute there, I bet. ;-)

Nicely written. As you know (having already been to my site), I have several times gone on at length about the same topic.

Actually, I wouldn't really have a big problem with groups of adults marrying one another. Yes, I'm talking about polygamy. I wouldn't enjoy that kind of marriage -- and I think it would be really complicated -- but, for those who want it, why not?

I suppose, though, it's best to focus on one thing at a time. So... forget I ever said that thing about polygamy.

Brian said...

Well thought out. I always laugh at the people who claim marriage is for procreation and survival of the species. If survial of the species is so important, we should all be polygamists, pumpin out babies in every direction.

Reg Fife said...

I believe I posted a comment here earlier, did you review it yet? Or did you not want to post a comment with an alternate point of view?

Goddess said...

I approved every comment I've received on this post. If you submitted something before now, I didn't receive it. Feel free to comment again.

Infidel753 said...

A lot of very good points. Where the fundies are concerned, you have to remember that the "homosexual movement" they talk about, with its "agenda", is something that exists purely inside their own heads, like the Satanic ritual abuse cults which the same people believed in during the eighties. It has essentially nothing to do with actual flesh-and-blood homosexuals who exist in the real world.

An even odder objection to gay marriage (and to homosexuality in general), which I have actually heard people make, is that since homosexuals can't reproduce, tolerance of homosexuality will lead to the human race becoming extinct. This, of course, would only make sense if one assumed that tolerating homosexuality will immediately cause the entire population to become homosexual. This supports the view that many of the most obsessive gay-bashers are self-deluding closet cases; they secretly find the concept tempting, so they assume that everyone else does, too.

In any case, the shape of the future seems clear. Proposition 8 passed 52%-48%, a very narrow margin compared to most earlier referenda on the subject. Gay marriage already exists in five foreign countries and two US states. In a few years this battle will be over.

Reg Fife said...

I think the comment I referred was on another blog with the same subject. But I would like to speak for the other side here too.

To me,what the debate boils down to is to support or not support same-sex unions. First, I should point out that while marriage between man and woman has been has been recognized in virtually every society throughout history, same-sex unions have not. There have been various degrees of tolerance towards homosexuality, but as far as I know, no sociey, past or present, has given same-sex unions the exact same status as married heterosexual couples. So I wouldn't be so quick to scoff at the "slippery slope" argument, since we are already drifting into uncharted territory.

Also, regarding the religious issue, let me put it this way: Would you go to India and ask for license to slaughter a cow (a sacred animal there)? I'll bet if you did, the most polite response you could expect would be "If you really want to, I won't stop you, but don't ask us to support or sanction it." If you then called them bigoted or "beefeaterphobic", for not giving you license to kill and eat whatever animal you wanted, their attitude toward you probably would not improve. If you then tried to convince them that you won't corrupt their children with your beef-eating doctrine, they probably wouldn't believe you, because you've already tried to force your agenda where you knew it wasn't wanted, and on top of it showed disrespect for their beliefs.

The way I see it, homosexual behavior should not be outlawed as long as it is between consenting adults. But actually sanctioning it with a marriage license goes too far, in my opinion.

Incidentally, the LDS church does NOT practice polygamy anymore. The groups that do are not part of the LDS church. The LDS practice ceased when the law of the land specifically forbade it. But that whole deal is another issue.

Infidel753 said...

marriage between man and woman has been has been recognized in virtually every society throughout history

Among past and present cultures surveyed by anthropologists, the majority have allowed polygamy. Most complex cultures have allowed slavery. Virtually none allowed women anything like an equal social status. Precedent is not a basis for making final decisions about what should or should not be allowed in a modern society.

Would you go to India and ask for license to slaughter a cow (a sacred animal there)?

The analogy fails because the advocates of gay marriage are not outsiders coming to America from elsewhere and demanding that we change our ways to accommodate them. They're Americans who simply want the same rights the majority already have.

But actually sanctioning it with a marriage license goes too far, in my opinion.

It's a free country and everyone is free to disapprove of things. When you want to have your disapproval enacted into law and enforced on everyone, you need grounds more convincing than "my opinion".

I don't approve of religion, but I wouldn't enact a law banning religion even if I had the power to do so.

Tens of millions of fundamentalists deeply disapprove of Mormonism. I don't think the Mormon Church would accept that they had the right to enact a law banning Mormonism, even if they could get 52% of the vote in favor of it.

This is the crux of the problem: basic rights shouldn't be decided by referendum. Polls showed that the majority of voters still favored anti-miscegenation laws in the 1960s when the courts struck them down; an anti-miscegenation Prop. 8 would have passed at that time, too. A law to ban minority religions like the LDS might well pass in some states today.

Where any right can be stripped away as soon as 51% of the public disapproves of it, freedom will not last long.

Charles said...

Isn't it a "slippery slope" argument to speculate that Mormonism will be outlawed too? As for the original blog post, you dismiss the merits of your "favorite" argument because the marriage contract is EXCLUSIVE between two consenting adults (given the direction we are headed in, that doesn't convince me that polygamy wouldn't be next). But, let's go with your argument for a second: are you saying that an ADULT brother should be allowed to marry his ADULT sister? If you are, that's not so "slippery slope" anymore, is it?

As for heterosexual couples not getting married if same-sex couples are allowed to marry, I would point out that SOME closet homosexuals do, indeed, try to marry someone of the opposite sex first. It is logical to assume that at least a FEW of them wouldn't, given another legal option, right?

Paul Raeburn said...

You did a nice job of teasing apart some of the arguments--more arguments against gay marriage than I knew existed, to tell the truth.

My suspicion is that the real reason many critics of gay marriage are opposed to it is because it is, for lack of a better word--icky. They're repulsed by the thought of two men kissing, or two women, and even more repulsed by whatever they imagine to be gay men's and lesbian's sexual practices and sex lives.

I wouldn't criticize anyone for feeling uncomfortable about gay unions or gay sex. What they feel is what they feel. But it would advance the discussion, I think, if we got that on the table.

Paul Raeburn