Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Weekly round table...Gay Marriage

Our weekly round table discussion continues as we debate the finer points of gay marriage.

First up is the legendary Billy D...

Before we even get started here, let me say up front, that without having read Shrub’s or Morgan’s POV on this, I’m thinking I’m going to be on my own on this one.

Homosexual marriage. Where do I begin in explaining why this is so absolutely wrong for this or any other country? Marriage used to be between a man and a woman, and usually it was a precursor to having children. Now, I understand that this sounds old fashioned, and it is, really. Say, pre 1960-ish.

Homosexuals stayed in the closets, where they belonged. They weren’t “gay and proud” they were rightfully ashamed of the choices they were making. Sodomy (defined here as homosexual intercourse) was wrong, and they knew it. They still do know it, deep down inside, which I suspect is why there’s such a high number of gay suicides.

Now, I won’t go into any scripture here, it’s been done to death. Obviously homosexuality is very, very wrong in God’s eyes, at least in the Christian sense. But let’s focus on the marriage part of it.

First, the homosexuals claimed they want legal marriage for the benefits; partners rights after their deaths, insurance benefits (As an aside here, if gay marriage were to be legalized nationwide, your insurance rates would go through the friggin roof. Why? You would lose a portion of the pool paying in, as many would jump on their partners plans, and once the insurance companies have to start paying out for the ills that go along with a lifestyle making the average lifespan 42 years someone’s going to have to make up that difference) Civil unions were offered as a means to this end, and were flatly rejected by the gay community.

No, they want normalization. And legal equality is not nearly enough. See, homosexuality has already permeated most segments of our society. Obviously movies and music, television, even some of the various religions are now embracing homosexuality. So, marriage would be a logical next step, wouldn’t it? See, this has nothing to do with wanting legal rights. It has everything to do with forcing the other 98% of the country to not only accept homosexuals, but embrace them. An exaggeration? What’s happening in California right now with the textbooks? Mom and dad are being wiped from the pages, and replaced by mom and mom, or dad and dad.

I’ll not argue the repercussions gay marriage would have on the institution of marriage as a whole, as I don’t think there would be any. Marriage today is a government run thing, with not much at all to do with God anymore. And ever since the government took over the business of marriage, it’s been downhill since. Adding homosexuals to that group would hardly make it much worse, aside from driving the standing 50% divorce rate up even higher. And with a very large percentage of homosexual men claiming to have had between 100 and 1,000 different lovers in their past, with that amount of promiscuity the divorce rate would obviously be impacted.

Finally, take a quick look at the “slippery slope” factor. (I’m a big fan of the slippery slope) I know, it gets laughed off. “Where does it end?” people ask. Man and goat? Man and wife and wife? Man and Uncle? In each different scenario, the very arguments used to legally alter the state of marriage right now, can also, and would also, be applied to admit all the other perversions into the tent. You can’t legally have one without the other, at least not when someone starts screaming “It’s not fair”.

I know this is going to be an unpopular POV with many, and I understand that. But I don’t think the institution of marriage should just go quietly into that goodnight. It will eventually, but until then, it should be fought for and defended against those set to destroy it.

Now my take...

I have no opening statement so instead I’ll tell a joke…

How do you know if you’re at a gay wedding? Only half the guests are kneeling.

Now that that’s out of the way we can address the topic at hand…gay marriage.

The institution of marriage has existed in one form or another for eons. No societal tradition is as celebrated or sacred. Marriage and family have formed the foundation of society since the dawn of history. And truth be told, no commitment that one can enter into is as profound or life-altering.

So it’s amusing when some rail against gay marriage as if it’s the death knell for the very practice of pledging one’s fidelity to one another in the face of God and His church. Nuptials have been performed for as long as we’ve been walking upright and a few homosexual unions are going to undo in a few years what humans have been practicing since the Stone Age? Puh-leez.

All this hyper ventilating only serves two purposes; to raise the blood pressure and make one’s faith of choice look intolerant. Now if you want to deny the right for homosexuals to receive the holy sacrament of marriage, then by all means, as a private institution, do so to your little heart’s content. But to advocate a Constitutional Amendment barring homosexual unions under the guise of “defining” what marriage is is both unnecessary and foolish.

A federal government mandate to define what is and has always been a private arrangement is akin to handing the feds the keys to one’s house and saying “Stop by any time”. We as a populace would not dream of giving government such authority…but that’s precisely what you do if you favor a law that defines marriage.

Now there are those on the religious right who will make the stunning leap of logic that condoning gay unions will lead us down a slippery slope wherein polygamy, pedophilia, and a host of other taboo practices will be inexorably legitimized. Bah, nonsense. Polygamy and pedophilia are, by definition, illegal.

The same cannot be said of homosexuality. The only way to make homosexuality illegal is to strengthen sodomy laws and give the government sweeping police powers to burst into bedrooms at will and arrest adults for consensual sexual conduct. This is truly a Pandora’s Box that should be left closed, tightly.

Gay marriage may be an affront to God but isn’t that between the person and their church/deity. I really tire of hearing the self righteous crying from their ivory towers of indignation that gays are an abomination and should be ruthlessly persecuted and denied that which is maybe the most fundamental right we enjoy as humans, the right to cohabitate with whomever thou chooseth.

My mother has friends who are gay, one of my fraternity brothers is gay, and I’m certain 90% of the people out there know someone who’s gay. Now imagine walking up to them, looking them dead in the eye, and saying you will see to it that they never have the right to marry their mate. The gays I know are fiercely devoted to one another, and in the case of my mother’s friends, have been together for 20+ plus years. Like it or not you can’t deny the adoration they feel towards their partners, a love that is transcendent and beautiful. We should all be so lucky to wake up next to the person we envision spending eternity with.

All this consternation could have been avoided had we as a people told the government long ago to butt out of our marriages. Some will say that a certain amount of oversight is necessary for delineating inheritances, tax liability, and protecting the public health. These things were accomplished long before the proliferation of litigious legal systems and will sort themselves out if given due time and space. The legal fictions written and the unwieldy system that was created have served one primary purpose, to exponentially expand government power. And we are precariously close to handing over further power, on a silver platter, all in the name of preventing a few million gays from getting married.

So in my eminent way I’ve established that supporting gay marriage is a fairly foolproof way of strengthening the institution as a whole. Gays bring honor to marriage, their efforts to stay together and private makes your and my ability to keep the bedroom free from prying eyes all the more secure, and God will separate the worthy from the chaff when the time comes. Besides, at a gay wedding, you know the decorations will be elegant and tasteful.

Now, Auntie Morg...

With this ring, Fred weds Ted.

And I couldn’t care less.

Oh, I know. For one person like me who doesn’t care, there are any number of rabid fundamentalist Christians who are opposed to the idea of two men or women bonding through holy matrimony. Or any other way, for that matter. But for now, we’ll stick to their objection to matrimony.

The most common argument I hear is that if we let homosexuals marry, it will destroy the “sanctity” of marriage. They have a point. After all, why should we heterosexuals invite anyone to help us destroy and institution we've all but left in ruins.

The U.S. divorce rate stands at about 50 percent, and the Christian Right isn't immune. A 1999 poll conducted by the Barna Research Group found that that number of divorces is higher for conservative Christians than it is for atheists and agnostics. About 29 percent of Baptists, for instance, have at least one divorce in their past.

Of American couples those who remain wedded, there appears to be little bliss. Twenty-four percent of married men and 14 percent of married women admit to having extramarital affairs. One-third of divorce litigation involves Internet affairs. Internet discussion groups play to marital satisfaction. Forums with names like “Married But Flirting” or “Married But Looking” are booming.

If the Christian leaders were serious about preserving marriages, they’d lobby their representatives to tighten the laws that make divorce so easy. No more of this no-fault nonsense.

LIke that'll ever happen.

Getting conservative leaders to go for tighter divorce laws? You'd be about as successful as launching online Braille lessons.

Why? Because conservative leaders - especially the anti-gay marriage ones - just love their divorce.

Tighter divorce laws would have kept Rush Limbaugh from discarding his wives like so many empty Oxycontin bottles. Tighter restrictions may have kept Newt Gingrich from serving his last wife with divorce papers while she was hospitalized with cancer. Stricter divorce laws may have kept Operation Rescue’s wild-eyed Randall Terry from dumping his wife in favor of a twenty-something.

You know what I think? I don’t think government should be in the business of deciding the definition of marriage, or of sanctioning it. The government shouldn’t be in the business of issuing tax breaks as a reward for people who marry or have kids. My single, childless sister works just as hard as I do. Why should I get tax breaks for marrying and having kids that are only going to put more of a strain on what resources we have?

Why? Because it’s all about political pandering. And money. Politicians like Gingrich, while touting “traditional values”, throw a bone to heterosexual couples with promises to “protect” marital sanctity - and its monetary perks - from the gays. Religious leaders send out fliers touting the evils of same-sex unions and the money pours in. There's big money in bigotry.

But these religious types forget a fundamental truth - that marriage is a spiritual union. If a Joe wants to marry Beth, or if Joe wants to marry Ted, or if Joe wants to marry Beth and Ted, I’ll throw the rice as they run from whatever church gives its blessing. Even if it’s just the parties in a field, making their vows before God, who’s to say their union is any less valid. The only restriction should be age, for obvious reasons. But beyond that, there should be no barriers to marriage. But there shouldn't be any special perks, either.

Should that day ever come, only the weak will worry. And I will not be among them. No unconventional union can threaten the sanctity of my heterosexual marriage. There are only two people who can threaten that sanctity - my husband and I. We made the vows, and only we can break them. If a couple wants to honor the sanctity of marriage, it's easy. Just stay together.