Friday, December 5

Gays vs. The Marriage Police

Here we go again. In California, support for Proposition 8 banning same sex marriages, passed by 52 percent of the vote.

“It was a great victory, . . .we saw the people just rise up.” said the Rev. James Garlow, senior pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego County and a leader of the campaign to pass the California measure, as quoted in a NY Times article.

For many this has become a highly charged issue but amid all this drama and legal battling I wonder what is the big frigging deal here? So a few thousand people of the homosexual persuasion want to get married, settle down and have a normal life like everybody else, what’s the problem ?Most of the argument hangs on the definition and meaning of the word marriage.
So let’s take a look at what that means.

Religious conservatives foam at the mouth-excuse me- say in grave tones, that same sex marriage is a threat to the sanctity of traditional marriage. The mere idea of them sharing in a loving, monogamous relationship like theirs is corrosive. How? It doesn’t infringe on heterosexual marriages, doesn’t put limitations on or change the purpose of marriage. Gay marriages are legal in Canada, Spain, England, and the Netherlands with no discernible effect on traditional marriage.

As for the sanctity of marriage, how is it valued when anyone from a mayor to the captain of a ship or a minister of the church of the universal light dressed as Elvis in the chapel of love in Las Vegas can marry anyone-except gays?

Marriage is for procreation the conservatives insist. The Washington State Supreme Court agreed in it’s ruling that upheld a 1998 ban on gay marriages: “limiting marriage to opposite sex couples furthers procreation, essential to the survival of the human race and furthers the well being of children by encouraging families where children are reared in homes headed by the children’s biological parents.”( they mentioned children three times) Yet these same critics have no objection to heterosexual marriages that do not or can not produce children. Marriage doesn’t necessarily promote procreation, but procreation certainly can promote marriage. (My parents married after mom got pregnant. ) With six billion people on the planet procreation isn’t the sole purpose of marriage anymore.

Traditionalists claim homosexuality is a choice yet there is growing evidence that homosexuality is genetic and occurs naturally in other animal species well. Heterosexuals have the potential to procreate, they claim, but homosexual don’t as if their plumbing doesn’t work. Thanks to modern science and artificial insemination, gays and lesbians are having children.

Another claim is same sex marriages harm children despite numerous studies that show otherwise. According to a comparative study of lesbian and heterosexual parents “Healthy development outcomes for the children in this and other studies support the view of Charles Patterson and others that neither father presence not parental heterosexuality is crucial for healthy child development” (David Flaks et al, Developmental Psychology 1995).

The ruin of the traditional family are dysfunctional parents, shifting social and economic demo graphs, high divorce rate, and daddy preferring to cruise the internet for porn rather than talk to the family. Conservatives claim they are not anti-gay simply pro family but when you strip away the poor logic of their arguments, they really just hate gays.

Religions, for all the communal fostering they bring have also historically created conflict to the point of wars. Gays on the other hand have done little damage to society (when was the last time there was a heterosexual bashing by a gang of gays?). As conservative Andrew Sullivan points out on his blog : “What social conservatives have to grapple with is that openly gay people are not going away.” This was dramatically demonstrated by recent protests across the country against the passage of Proposition 8.

Banning gay marriages will lead to further discrimination. What’s to stop religious conservatives from going further? Will they demand that all marriages be sanctified in the church of their choice or the union will be null and void and the children considered bastards like the good old days? Louisiana recently voted to ban heterosexual civil unions as well as same-sex marriages.

Marriage isn’t defended by preventing people from marrying. Reducing the 51% divorce rate and stopping spousal abuse are more positive and productive ways to protect it. People once believed that interracial marriage or allowing women to vote would weaken the American family. It hasn’t and I doubt allowing gays to enter into a monogamous, loving marriage is going to either.

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