Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Gay Marriage, and why it's none of your business

I have an uninterrupted history of heterosexuality.  I think that ultimately that really has nothing to do with where my viewpoint is coming from, but lest anyone get some other idea, I'm just putting it out there.

I'm trying to understand why people are so up in arms about gay marriage.  The opponents are varied, citing reasons ranging from religious tenets to, of all things, dilution of insurance coverage.

The Bible has a few things to say about homosexuality.  Most of them involve hellfire, brimstone, and Lot's wife peeking when she shouldn't have.  But that's Old Testament, and there's a fair bit more the Old Testament has to say.  When you get into the New Testament, however, the time spent on homosexuals gets pretty darned short.

In fact, the New Testament references that appear to be aimed at homosexuals may not really be addressed at them at all.  It all depends on how much you trust the translation.  Scholars will tell you, a lot of the translations aren't as accurate as you might hope.

Before you call down the lightning and thunder and plaster your "If It Ain't King James It Ain't Bible" bumper sticker across your chest, let me just say: more on that later.  Not today.

But let's try to address at least one of the spiritual issues.  I had this conversation with a coworker earlier today and it was intriguing.  The point I tried to make then and now is: if God made you, and you believe He's a perfect God that doesn't make mistakes, and you're gay, then who can gainsay that?  Wouldn't it contradict your own religious convictions to say that, for whatever reason, someone cannot be the way he is because it is "wrong?"  If it's "wrong," then God is "wrong."

Don't say Satan created anyone who was made "wrong."  Go and read your Bible some more, then come back.  If you can tell me with any conviction that Satan ever created anything, I'll eat this computer.

But you want to hold all those dangerous fags accountable on religious grounds - too bad.  That's God's job, and He even says so in so many words: "Vengeance is mine, I shall repay."

We're on dangerous ground, but only dangerous in the sense that I'm asking you to think about why you think the way you do.

My coworker posited the likelihood that all those people who are homosexual are made that way after birth.  Everyone is born normal, and conditions then act upon them to shape their orientation.  I concede he has a point and I don't doubt that is the case with a statistically significant percentage of LGBT people, but I'm not willing to concede that that's the case for everyone.  There are a few million LGBT people in the US alone - homophobes, start your horrors now and I can't believe that each of them is the product of wonky upbringing.

Bearing all of that in mind, what if his theory is right?  I don't have the resources to research it and prove it one way or the other, and even then - so what?  If a person is raised "broken," do we do him any favors trying to repair him, now that all that water is under the bridge?  You can't go back in time and reset all the factors that shaped him to something less "damaging," the damage is done and now he is the way he is.  Look at all the damaged people living in the United States: morbidly obese, amputees on their power chairs, functional alcoholics attending meetings, blind and deaf and short and everything else.  You're allowed to live while damaged.  Fat people are permitted to marry, blind people are permitted to marry.  Losing a leg doesn't mean you're off the market, it just means you have access to great parking when you get there.

As much as I dislike Al Sharpton on principle, the man has a point: black people are permitted to marry white people.  Unless you're a diehard KKK member (in which case please go away), that last sentence should really rankle: "What the hell do you mean, permitted?"  Don't forget, up until relatively recently in American history, black people weren't regarded as fully human beings, not accorded the same rights as other people.  Happily those days are behind us and fading, the color of your skin has no bearing on how complete a person you are.  All these other segments of the population don't have their person-ness abbreviated by whatever shortcomings they might suffer from.  Why, then, must the LGBT segment suffer such an abbreviation of rights?  I haven't heard any compelling arguments yet.

So then, what if you're just born that way?  Think about that for a second, and think about all the other people who are born the way they are.  Like I said before, black people marry white people, Asians marry Europeans, short marry tall.  Sign your name on the dotted line, notarized, congratulations on your new life together.

To say you can't marry as a same-sex couple is to open the door to limit marriages to other people.  If it's okay to deny that right to this couple for a reason that is naturally occurring, then it should be okay to limit the right to that other couple for a naturally occurring reason: sorry, Four-Eyes, no marriage for you.  Only 20-20 vision in the gene pool.

The governments in some areas are stepping up to try to define a marriage as a union between a man and a woman.  For the various reasons I've cited above and lots more and better ones that I haven't, that opens up a great big can of worms.  Establishing precedents like that makes it possible for others to step in and use the precedents to achieve other, less desireable goals - my outlandish example of making it illegal for nearsighted people to marry is extreme but you can establish a logical (and admittedly far-fetched) progression from one to the other.

Why do you care?  If it's for any of the reasons above but you're not the one getting married, then what difference does any of it make to you?  Someone else's marriage doesn't reflect on yours; what you do is what reflects on you.

There are many trite cliches I can trot out at this point: glass houses and stone throwing, motes in eyes, judge not et cetera.  If you're spending time casting judgment on someone besides yourself, you're wasting your time.  You don't have the entire story, you don't have the entire picture in view.  To tell someone what he can or cannot do, when even so reputable a reference as the United States Constitution doesn't speak against it, is the height of hypocrisy.  "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..."  Nothing in there about who loves who and how, or whether it's allowed.

This country has had a nasty habit of peeking into our bedrooms and telling us what we can and cannot do; that such laws even still exist on the books speaks, I think, more to the embarrassment we feel toward our own less-than-ideal history than to whether or not such laws should ever have existed in the first place.  No one wants to pick up the subject and address it because it is unseemly - maybe if we just don't talk about it, the issue will go away.

Quit talking about gay marriage.  It isn't a subject for discussion.  Marry who you love, and don't tell anyone else that they cannot.  If that isn't a guaranteed freedom, then we don't deserve any of the others, either.

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