Tonight while taking our dog Buddy out, I noticed that someone put a sign in our apartment complex yard that said, "Vote Yes on Prop 8". This is a California proposition that would eliminate the right for same-sex couples to marry.
I have a very difficult time understanding why anyone would want to withhold the right and sometimes burden of marriage to everyone. The proponents of prop 8 are using the argument that marriage is a contract between a man and woman and by allowing gay people to marry, somehow a straight marriage would be negatively affected....soooooo, let's talk about that.
I do believe that marriage is in trouble. And gay and lesbian couples are convenient scapegoats. So I propose, if we want to protect marriage, that we make divorce illegal. Divorce is in the bible too, and it's a big fat sin. But no one wants to enforce that "protection," because it would actually affect the lives of straight couples, big time. And not in a symbolic way, in a direct way. And we want to keep divorce as an "out," to our sacred bond, ya know, to use a gay term. I obviously don't want to make divorce illegal, but if we're going to use religious or moral arguments against gay marriage, then let's not cherry pick our favorite bible passages and make them law, especially when it doesn't negatively affect the majority.
If we were to implement religious law, parents would be allowed to stone their children to death, and no one would be allowed to work on the Sabbath, so all hospitals and fire stations would have to close on Sundays. Just thinking about sinning is as bad as actually sinning, so our government could punish people for thinking vengeful or sexual thoughts. If we were to implement religious law, all offenses would be considered equally sinful, so a man who commits adultery would receive the same punishment as a murderer. For all of those people who are supporting the "protection of marriage" acts, would you also protect the "protection of the Sabbath act" or the "coveting thy neighbor" act? And would you hold yourselves accountable? Would you like someone else to decide your life, your opportunities, your freedoms? I am a firm believer in the separation of church and state, because the bible would be impossible to legislate, and more importantly, our country was founded on escaping this type of religious persecution.
But I don't believe this argument is about religion at all. I think the heart of the argument is discrimination. Gay people don't deserve what I have because there is something fundamentally wrong with them. And if we allow gay people to share my family values, to make the same vows I made, then gay and straight people are in the same group. And I don't want to be in the same group. It's playground mentality. So we'll call their type of love a "legal bond" and our type of love "marriage." And then I won't have to feel uncomfortable and address why I'm uncomfortable. If we rule out religious reasons, this is just discrimination. Straight people are "grossed out" by the thought of homosexuality. And because they are grossed out, they feel entitled to legislate the lives of others.
Another argument is: If we allow homosexuals to marry, our straight marriage won't be taken as seriously as the sacred bond I made with my husband. Ya know what lessens the sacred bond my husband and I made on Oct 5, 2002? Brittany Spears and Kevin Federline. If I were to compare my marriage to them, our wedding would be the equivalent of getting really drunk, going through a Vegas drive thru, and making a tasteless reality show and a couple kids who drive mini Hummers. Fortunately, I'm secure enough in my marriage not to allow someone else to define it.
Under this umbrella, let's protect marriage against atheists. How are they able to call their institution a marriage when they don't believe in the god who made their union possible, if you believe that marriage is a covenant of God? Let' s protect marriage against pregnant teenagers who are morally forced into the decision by their parents, only to divorce years later. And drug addicts, and poor people. Addicts can't be committed to a loving relationship when their true love is getting high, and when we let poor people get married, we're telling them it's okay to have children they can't afford, children taxpayers will end up supporting. First cousins in some states are still legally allowed to marry, but two consenting adults of the same sex are not. So let's protect marriage from cousins too. Let's pass a prop against interfaith marriage. If marriage is a covenant between God and a man and woman, and the couple worships different gods, then their marriage is just plain confusing. And if one of them is Hindu then is it a covenant between a man and a woman and God and God and God and God and God? So for crying out loud, let's protect marriage from Hindus! Let's protect marriage from people who are mentally retarded. If they can't fully understand the implications and seriousness of their vows, they shouldn't be allowed to make the same commitment I make.
Felons can get married. Pedophiles can get married. Rapists can get married. A fourteen year old in Utah can marry her step-father, but two thirty-year-old college educated woman may not. Whew, these are a lot of propositions! But... and this is a big BUT...the only people singled out are gay and lesbian couples. Why? This question has to be asked. If atheists and cousins, drug dealers and interfaithers, pedophiles and murderers, the poor and basically ANYONE our society looks down upon, is allowed to marry, why do we only have a legal problem with homosexuals? How is this not discrimination?
Another argument is that we need to protect our children, to give them clear black-and-white gender based roles, that fit neatly into marriage. And if gay people were allowed to marry, we would be forced to have a discussion with our children about how sometimes love does not fit neatly into our black and white lives. And why are people gay, do they choose it, or was it chosen for them? And by our government passing laws that clearly express gay people have the same rights as mommy and daddy, we'll have to explain to the kiddos that inequality is wrong, and that would be VERY uncomfortable. Can hermaphrodites get married? Should they be allowed to marry anybody or nobody? These are heavy questions, that I would really like to avoid.
I do NOT believe we need to protect our kids against homosexuals. There is no gay boogie man. Ninety-seven percent of pedophiles are straight, and gay and lesbian couples are more likely to adopt children with special needs than straight couples. Ohhhh, the horror! There is no gay agenda, a group of radical homosexuals trying to recruit people on the street corner, or give away free toasters to anyone who joins the other side. The gay agenda is the radical notion of equality. My gay friends only want to live, to be accepted, and to have the same rights as me. Ewww, scary.
I believe, and not because I read it in a book somewhere, but because I've had many gay friends, that we are born with our sexual identity. And it can't be fixed or prayed away. And I don't believe it is anything to fix or pray away. I believe this because I have known people in loving and committed relationships, couples raising children, and living like you and me, and I don't believe I'm better than them because I was born straight. This is the heart of it. This is discrimination because only gay people are singled out.
People are fighting for this proposition like their lives depend on it, like their marriages depend on it, like their children's lives depend on it. This fear is displaced. I think a lot of people are searching for the reasons behind why our society has lost it's 1950's moral code. But the moral decay of our society does not permeate from the gay community. It permeates from Paris Hilton and politicians, from ignorance and people unwilling to parent their children. Moral decay permeates from hatred and fear and values that aren't really values. It permeates from heterosexually based promiscuous shows and movies, from a society that praises and celebrates violence, from fathers who leave their families, and mothers who allow their children to be abused. But how do you legislate that? You can't. So we blame it on a group that is easily singled out.
No one should be denied the right of marriage, to be there in sickness, to share the same health insurance, to be the legal guardian of children , to have the right to bicker incessantly, and to have their relationship taken seriously.
People are spending millions of dollars to make it illegal for a man and man or woman and woman to stand in front of friends and family to say "I love you, and I am committed to you." People are spending their own child's savings on the promise that the child of a gay parent will not receive the same rights as their child. It makes me sick that those millions of dollars are being wasted, when they could have been donated to organizations like the CF Foundation, or Breast Cancer research. Let's protect our children against childhood diseases and Leukemia, poverty, and poor education -REAL threats, not imaginary ones.
Teach your kids whatever you like, no one is stopping you. By giving gay people the right to marry you are not taking away your right as a parent to tell your kids that you disapprove. When segregation ended, did racism also end? Nope. That is the ugly beauty of our democracy. Teach your kids what you will.
Marriage is about commitment, sacrifice, and love. I can't imagine another group of people who know more about these three concepts than gay couples. They've had to sacrifice friends and family who wouldn't accept them as they are, commit to the fact that they have to be true to themselves, and still continue to love the people who won't accept them. If anyone is worthy of happily ever after, it is our friends in the gay community.
Needless to say, I pulled the sign out of the yard and threw it in the trash where it belongs. If you live in CA or are voting on a prop similar to this, consider who you are hurting, the families of gay and lesbian couples who have children and family values, who need their health insurance and the same rights of straight families. We're all on the same team here, the same universe where love is always the answer to any question you're asking. How could you think any different?