Denying Gays the Right to Divorce
All right. I guess, since the rest of the world's
going on and on about it, that it's time I faced up to my responsibility as a blogger and shot my mouth off meaninglessly about this issue too.
(If you'd prefer, you can wade into Halliburton
up to your armpits).
The entire gay marriage issue is revolting, and has no place in a public debate arena. But since I have only a few regular readers, I reckon this is hardly public space.
1) Gays, whatever may be said about them, are humans. Can we agree on this?
2) Most governments accord certain basic freedoms to humans, such as "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" or some similar legal fictions.
3) Most governments extend a certain legal sanctity to the relationship we call marriage, in which each partner commits to certain legal fictions having to do with responsibility in a lifetime relationship.
Okay, that's all the case for the "For" side.
Oh--that and the fact that there are clearly significant numbers
of people both gay and straight
who support the idea. Of course, there are also many people both gay
who are opposed.
"Democratic" governments may wish to take notice.
The first argument against is actually that homosexuality itself is somehow "wrong and unnatural"
Let's tackle "unnatural" first. The nosiest bastard in the history of humanity, Kinsey
, established during his surveys that around 10% of those surveyed were homosexual.
Leaving out the social conditions of the time, let's just mention that in his original research, Kinsey essentially counted a man who admitted to having a homoerotic dream as being gay.
But nowhere did he find evidence that being gay is somehow a choice. Nor did he discover that weak parents, domineering mothers, bad diet, or any other factor "caused" homosexuality.
Kinsey also considered a continuum model
of sexuality. You could be a hetero or homosexual if you tested at the extereme ends. In the middle were bisexuals. This model is worth remembering if you're stuck on the idea of sex as digital quality
The point is that no matter how hairy or testosterone-laden you are, and no matter how smooth or "feminine", you probably aren't 100% grade-A-stamped male or female yourself. You sure? Never looked at someone in those unisex locker rooms and had a nasty thought before you looked away? (Have I? Well, I must confess: it's none of your business).
I don't think that the number of committed homosexuals is that high, myself. Purely based on my own limited observations, it seems as though the number is about 5%, with bisexual people and transsexuals topping that number up to possibly 8%. But does it matter?
Now blacks are about 15 to 20% in North America, and we don't forbid them to marry. We no longer ban marriages between mentally or physically handicapped people, who are surely a smaller percentage than gays. So why ban gay marriages? How is banning a minority from fair exercise of civil rights granted to the worst family man
on earth and to death row inmates
"Oh, well" says my reader "That's
"Being gay is unnatural, and a choice
," says this person "People can't help their skin colour, or being physically or mentally challenged."
So let's see: You want me to believe that there are no natural gays; that some people are so perverse that they'd volunteer to be rejected by their friends, cut off by their family, shunned or actively persecuted
by the law
, and killed
just for being themselves?
Let's just say I disagree and that it's up to you to prove me wrong. Historically, of all attempts to moderate or control human sexual behaviour, none has failed as universally or thoroughly as the effort at "curbing" homosexuality.
We'll get to the "gay is wrong" argument a bit further on.
So if we're done trying to prove that gays shouldn't have rights in the first place, can we get to the marriage question?
1) "Marriage is about children". Mark Percel rants that "there's a biological reason that people get married" and decides that it's children.
Sure. Let's marginalize every couple that doesn't want to raise rugrats
. Percel says he supports that idea. Many childless couples presumably wouldn't.
There are gay couples happily raising happy kids
and producing no more gay kids than hetro
couples (do the math: Most gays were born to and raised by straights), and hetero couples who aren't. So let's put this garbage idea to bed
, shall we?
Marriage is traditionally about property rights and mutual support in an economically taxing relationship.
2) Allowing gays to marry damages the social fabric and undermines the institution of marriage. besides, people won't take marriage seriously anymore.
You're so right. And while we're at it, let's ban divorce, the rate of which is making a mockery of marriage as well. Oh--and divorce is only legal between heteros.
A related argument is the "Can't they just have civil unions?" idea. The short answer is why? The votes of immigrants count just as heavily as the votes of native sons and daughters. If I am wronged I appeal to the same court, in expectation of equal protection under the law (within the limits of local prejudice and my bank account) with the person who wronged me.
Granting people "civil unions" but not marriage is as just as giving everyone seperate drinking fountains
3) Allowing gays to marry would take us down a "slippery slope" to matrimonial anarchy.
A close friend whom I respect and love (and find achingly young and naive) once said to me "Well if gays can marry, then what's to stop me from changing the law so I can marry my dog? Or could a fifty-year-old man marry a fifteen-year-old boy?"
I chose to believe this statement is due to the depths of her inexperience, since she's really one of my favourite people.
What's to keep this from happening? Well for a long time, we've known that being gay is different from being a child molester (certainly Catholics have known), and there exist laws that prevent children from marrying. In my home province, where the legal fiction of "age of consent" is (or possibly was, the current government is both criminal and retentive) set at 14, there exists (or existed) a law forbidding relationships between people over nine years apart in age. That is, technically a man of 43 couldn't have sex with a woman of 34.
As for marrying the dog: gay rights are human
rights, and besides, the dog cannot legally consent to the marriage.
The Only Real Reason
The sole legitimate reason to oppose gay marriage is that your religion belives that marriage is somehow reserved or sacred. There's nothing
wrong with this. It's called a "moral" argument.
But in most democratic nations, religion is barely tolerated in the political arena. France and the United States are two current exceptions.
France seeks to stamp out the muslim head scarf (thereby trampling both religious freedom and women in one go) from an excess of honest zeal. But the law that prevents the wearing of headscarves is a loser. For one thing, it also bans "symbols of excessive dimension". How big does a crucifix
have to be to be "of excessive dimension"? What about a kipa
The point is that this is a discriminatory law introduced to maintain France's "irreligious" stance, enshrined in the articles of her creation at the time of the revolution.
In the US, where it is forbidden by the constitution to prefer one religion over another, the president is pushing a constitutional amendment to enshrine his own religious beliefs. Even the man in his cabinet
who should be barking is supporting him.
Never mind the alteration of the document that gun nuts
consider unalterable, never mind the violation of the separation of church and state. Cheney is violating the Preamble
, which includes the desire to "secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity". Mary Cheney will not be blessed with liberty to marry.
In short--If your only objection is religious, then please say so. There's no answer to religious argument alone. If a democratic majority is opposed to gay rights, then I suppose that's something we have to put up with, but if it's only for religious reasons, what gives you the right to pander to your own prejudices over mine at my expense?
The religious objection requires that I accept that some soi-distant "god" who created everything, including gays, watches us all from afar (and punishes people eternally
for violating his laws), and loves us all (except gays).
It also asks that I accept that this God is anti-gay, based on the authority of a revolutionary text (Islam) or a 2,000-year-old collection of badly interpreted aramaic shepherd's tales (both Christianity and Judaism), or some other such document.
If this is our model of omniscient, omnipotent justice and mercy, don't you find that worrying?
I was raised Catholic. You never shake that. But I believe that current dogma is wrong. Homosexuality happens. And inasmuch as I believe in a just civil society I support the rights of all. That includes accused criminals, gays, and even left-handed people.
But most importantly: Gay marriage is coming, no matter what you, or I, or almost anyone else thinks
. Soner or later, gays will marry and raise kids, and no-one will remember why there was all this fuss.
I wonder why there's such a fuss now
One of my guiltier (and who knows guilt better than an ex-Catholic?)pleasures: The politically incorrect world of Ed the Sock
, who has Triumph
Sorry--Nude Fishing? Yeah, I know the link doesn't work. I'm still debating whether to link to pornography.
pics don't count. When someone like this sets themselves up as the doyenne of "family values" they deserve every brickbat they get).
A lucid perspective on the "I-wants" of the net.