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Activism, Christianity, Culture, Politics

Why is Gay Marriage Even an Issue?

With President Obama’s landmark endorsement of gay marriage, the United States has taken a significant rhetorical step forward in the First World.  The barrage of hate and vitriol spewing from the Far Right seems farther and farther removed from the opinions of workaday Americans, who appear to be coming around to the belief that things like economic security and healthcare are more important than spying on the neighbors’ bedroom antics.

Even so, there is still plenty enough hate and vitriol to go around.  In April, an activist group boasting a quarter of a million women supporters lobbied Congress to block the most effective domestic abuse bill in history because it extended protection to lesbians. (LINK)  In February, Georgia’s own Tanya Ditty testified on behalf of the Concerned Women for America of Georgia.  Her claim?  Homosexuality is in the same class of sexual dysfunction as necrophilia.  (LINK)  In both Atlanta and California, there are ongoing debates about whether certified mental health practitioners may practice bigotry against homosexuals. (LINK) (LINK)  And of course, there’s FOX News’ defiant claim that Obama is waging war against marriage. (LINK)

While the debate continues to rage, perhaps it is important that we take a step back and ask a very fundamental question:  Why is this an issue in the first place?

Ostensibly, the issue at the heart of any social debate is whether harm is being caused.  The Christian Right, in league with Republicans, have trotted out a number of claims about the harm caused by permitting gay marriage:

  • Tradition itself.  Marriage, they say, is between one man and one woman, and that’s the way it’s always been, and that’s the way God wants it.

The problem with this claim is that it’s wrong on absolutely every count.  Marriage is as diverse as culture, and the concept of exactly one man and one woman, indissoluble for life, is extraordinarily recent.  In fact, it was not commanded by anyone in the Bible.  Not Jehovah (who was a big fan of polygamy) nor Jesus, nor Paul.  The definitive command to only marry one woman came from the Catholic Church.  In 1563 CE.  (LINK)

It’s also completely untrue that it’s always been between men and women.  Gay marriage — or the cultural equivalent — was an old concept when Jesus was known as Tammuz.  There are cultures far older than Christianity that have survived just fine with all manner of marriage, including marriage to ghosts, and no marriage whatsoever.  (LINK)

  •  Gay marriage weakens society.  Immorality, crime, depravity, and sexual deviance will thrive if we go down the slippery slope of gay marriage.

Only, that’s not what’s happened in any of the other countries that have allowed it.  Not only has there never been even one study demonstrating even one increase in societal dysfunction linked to gay marriage, the best country in the world according to the U.N.’s societal happiness rankings has had legalized partnerships since 1993 and fully neutral marriage since 2008.  (LINK)

  • Gay marriage is unstable, bad for children, and leads to dysfunctional relationships.

No, it is not, it is not, and it does not.  The “bad for children” meme is perhaps the most emotionally charged, but it’s completely false.  There is so much hard data on the subject that it’s considered rather droll to suggest continued study.  Not only is gay marriage not bad for children, there is substantial evidence that especially for girls, the best arrangement is two moms.  (LINK)

When confronted with the facts, the argument against gay marriage becomes threadbare.  “Traditional marriage” is a recent invention.  Gay marriage is very common in world history.  It’s never harmed a society.  It doesn’t harm children.  So…  What’s the problem?

One suggestion is that legalizing gay marriage is threatening to homophobes who are unwilling to examine their own homosexual desires.  There is very good evidence that this might be true.   An experiment at the University of Georgia demonstrated quite conclusively that 80% of aggressively homophobic men are turned on by homosexual porn. (LINK)  Of course, we don’t restrict the rights of others because of our own self-loathing, so this is certainly not a good argument for DOMA.

There is also the argument that God says gay marriage is wrong, and God’s laws supercede America’s laws.  This argument has — shockingly — been advanced by one of our Supreme Court Justices. (LINK)  Fortunately for the rest of us, there is still the First Amendment, which vehemently denies the right of the government to make any law based on religion.  There’s also the inconvenient fact that there is no explicit prohibition of gay marriage in the Bible.  (LINK)  Such strictures must be interpreted, not directly gleaned from the pages of the Christians’ holy writ.

Once we’ve debunked the alleged threat of gay marriage, exposed the self-loathing of aggressive homophobes, and remembered the existence of the constitution, what is left?  What argument can be raised which justifies the continued legal discrimination against people who happen to love someone of the same sex?

The truth — the sad truth — is that gay marriage is an issue because the American populace is woefully undereducated in the science of human sexuality, and frightenenly over-attached to beliefs they took on faith, not from their holy book, but from homophobic pastors, priests, and politicians.  For some politicians, gay marriage is a wedge issue that serves to deflect attention from more inconvenient issues like universal healthcare or tax cuts for the rich.  It creates single-issue voters who will ignore real societal problems in favor of perpetuating their own bigotry.  For pastors and priests, the pulpit is a source of incredible revenue in opposition to the “godless liberals” who would dare contravene the will of the almighty.  Perhaps for some, it is an attempt at catharsis.  Physician heal thyself, indeed.

There is no place for reasonable debate on the issue precisely because there is no reasonable argument against gay marriage or even homosexuality itself.  In a country where freedom and liberty are the highest ideals, we do not restrict the freedoms of an entire class of people when there are no good reasons for doing so.  At this critical juncture in American history, we must ask ourselves if we really do value these ideals.  We must ask if we are willing to forfeit the foundational principle of our government simply to appease vociferous raconteurs with chips on their shoulders and gay porn stashes on their laptops.  It is time in America that gay marriage stops being an issue.

Discussion

16 thoughts on “Why is Gay Marriage Even an Issue?

  1. Quite right, gay marriage is not an issue. However it has been made an issue by gay lobby groups using a basket of red herrings to get what they want. . As far as I am concerned, homosexuals are not gay, they are homosexuals end of story. Marriage legislation should not be changed to allow people of the same sex to marry because it goes against nature. I published a post on this issue some time ago so, before anyone accuses me of being homophobic I suggest you read my views on mt blog and ten make some constructive comments rather than name calling. My blog address is aquarianmist,wordpress.com. Look forward to hearing pro and anti views on gay marriage.

    aquarianmist

    Posted by aquarianmist | May 18, 2012, 7:27 pm
  2. Good question. But yeah, who needs reasonable argument when making stuff up will get you way more votes.

    Seriously, it’s only a matter of time before someone blames the euro-crisis on gay marriage. Can’t wait for the first politician to pull some creative anti-gay marriage statistics out of his/her ass. *yawn*

    *switches on fox news and waits for it*
    (I kid. We don’t get that channel here. Just the occasional clip on comedy shows)

    Posted by snowylocks | May 18, 2012, 7:35 pm
  3. You did a wonderful job with this one! Haven’t seen it so concisely put together in a single place yet. Great job.

    Posted by Valentine Logar | May 19, 2012, 7:56 am
  4. I think that some people attack homosexuality because they think that it threatens the legitimacy of heterosexuality. If people are allowed to have same-sex sex and relationships, then that somehow means that people don’t have to be heterosexual.

    There are some other sources of homophobia that I would not dismiss outright.

    Some people find homosexuality to be just plain gross.

    Some men find it hard to respect a man who lets himself be a “bottom” for another man.

    Posted by lpetrich | May 19, 2012, 2:13 pm
  5. Of cause it’s gross. What other animal species on this planet use the body’s waste disposal outlet (anus) for sexual gratification? What on earth is wrong with vaginas? They are so beautifully packaged.

    aquarianmist

    Posted by aquarianmist | May 19, 2012, 5:20 pm
  6. @aquarianmist : “What other animal species” ? Quite a few actually. Also, doesn’t hetero-sex also involve a “body’s waste disposal outlet” ? And I’m pretty sure that anal sex isn’t an exclusively gay affair.

    You’re absolutely right about vaginas, though. :)

    Posted by snowylocks | May 20, 2012, 7:29 am
  7. @aquarianmist : Gay marriage is not an issue in the sense that there are no reasonable objections against it, as the blog-post you just commented on points out.
    You can call gay people homosexuals if you like. I’m sure they won’t mind. They’ve been called worse.
    As for it being “against nature”, well, so’s marriage itself, and quite a few other things you probably have no problem with whatsoever, so that one doesn’t fly either.
    I have read your blogpost and submitted a comment, free of “name-calling”, dealing with all the “red herrings” you mentioned. It’s been awaiting your moderation since yesterday.

    Btw, I’m still mystified why you would post a comment like “what on earth is wrong with vaginas ?” on a blogpost that features a picture of a lesbian couple.

    Posted by snowylocks | May 21, 2012, 2:12 pm
  8. I suggest you read the book ‘The Naked Ape’ by Zoologist Desmond Morris; Delta publishing, New York 1967. This book clearly describes the origin and reasons for human long term pair bonding (now called marriage) between a man and a woman. This biological need was around long before religion or politics formalised and institutionalised pair bonding. It is also of note that this book was published at a time when homosexual sex was a criminal offense. But the truth remains that marriage, as deemed by Mother nature, is to be between a man and a woman and the sooner homosexuals accept this the sooner we can all get on with our sex lives in private, the way it should be; not parading around wailing about equal love, marriage equality and Gay rights.

    Aquarianmist

    Posted by aquarianmist | May 21, 2012, 7:09 pm
  9. Urine is non toxic and can be drank without any ill effects and some people actually drink their own urine for medicinal reasons. I don’t know what would happen if someone ate the excrement that is ejected from the human anus because people became sick after eating vegetables grown using human excrement as manure.. As for homosexual animals, please name one animal species where a male animal will stand still and allow another male animal to penetrate it,s rectum.

    aquarianmist

    Posted by aquarianmist | May 21, 2012, 7:19 pm
  10. @aquarianmist : Just one ? Is 1500 okay too ? http://www.news-medical.net/news/2006/10/23/20718.aspx

    “Human long term pair bonding” and the institution of marriage are two very different things indeed.

    I also don’t know what would happen if someone ate another’s person’s excrement. Could you explain the connection between that activity and gay marriage ? I’ll help you out : There is none.

    And you still haven’t explained why you posted “what on earth is wrong with vaginas” as a reaction to an article that features a picture of a lesbian couple. Did you even read this blogpost you’re commenting on ?

    Posted by snowylocks | May 21, 2012, 9:05 pm
  11. …oh, and just to avoid any more strange same-sex-sex-is-yucky comparisons, let’s make one thing clear :
    You may approve of gay marriage, or you may not, but your opinion of gay sex is just as relevant to the issue here as your opinion of anything “gross” that might be going on in a “straight” bedroom, is to the issue of heterosexual marriage. Namely, not at all.

    And just for the record, and I can’t believe I’m having to explain this, gay sex doesn’t include eating excrement any more than straight sex does. I mean, seriously, you can’t possibly be suggesting that you didn’t know that.

    It’s a nice trick to associate the subject with something distasteful, though, I’ll give you that.

    A nice trick, but not very honest.

    Posted by snowylocks | May 21, 2012, 9:26 pm
  12. @aquarianmist : sorry, but there’s another strange thing you posted here that makes no sense at all :
    “…the sooner we can all get on with our sex lives in private, the way it should be”

    Who’s stopping you from doing just that ? Please do get on with it in private, and let other people do the same.

    Once again, this is about gay MARRIAGE (or “homosexual” marriage if you prefer), NOT about gay male sex (, which is just as well, as you seem horribly misinformed about the subject)

    And since I pointed out that “Mother Nature” isn’t on your side in this, and you failed to address any of the points brought up in the article who’s comments thread we’re now cluttering, what argument do you have left ?

    Posted by snowylocks | May 22, 2012, 6:57 am
  13. I shall respond when I have followed your link.

    aquarianmist

    Posted by aquarianmist | May 22, 2012, 7:18 pm
  14. @ aquarianmist. No hurry. If the subject interests you, here’s some more :

    http://www.nhm.uio.no/besok-oss/utstillinger/skiftende/againstnature/references.html

    Posted by snowylocks | May 22, 2012, 8:38 pm
  15. I would posit that, as far as I can tell, marriage was originally a religious ceremony. If you look at your marriage license, its main (only?) real purpose is to make the state a third parent and give it control of your children. And to charge you a fee for its coffers, of course.

    So, if it is at its core, a religious affair, shouldn’t the separation of church and state make it a non-legislatable issue? If your “church” doesn’t agree with it, it has the right to forbid it to its members… ala birth control and the Catholic church. There are many churches/faiths in the U.S. that we are supposed to be able to freely chose from, and not all are so narrow-minded.

    Posted by DragonDancer | July 24, 2012, 7:35 am
  16. Although I personally am somewhat disturbed by homosexuality and it seems to be prohibited by Christianity, I still support gay marriage on principle. Why? Well, assuming a couple is simply getting a civil union, the couple is already not marrying under God. Therefore, there is no need for them to conform to the guidelines of a religious ruleset they do not follow. And if they do profess to follow God and wish to marry under Him, let them do it through a denomination that is supportive of gay marriage.

    It shouldn’t even be a state issue, honestly. The choice to accept homosexuality should be left to the religious institutions to decide for themselves.

    Posted by Piggle Boy | April 11, 2013, 9:26 pm

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