Saturday, May 02, 2009

Controversy: Why I am for Gay Marriage

WARNING: This blog is not only controversial but politically charged. If you can not read this and engage in an intellectual and open minded dialogue - please stop reading now.

I support gay marriage.

Now for a little bit of background - I was raised Catholic, but I am certainly very open to other religious ideas and fascinated that we study so much in school before choosing a profession but never study religions of the world before "choosing" one but that is a topic for another blog. Not that it should matter but I feel I should disclose that I am heterosexual and married. So I probably have nothing to gain by seeing gay marriage pass - but I can still point out where I see injustices or at a minimum narrow minded policy making.

I think on it's face if marriage carries legal privileges - then by default it should be open to any two consenting individuals. And I am saying this from an objective position as a legal matter. If you are going to give people rights and privileges if they get married - then in my opinion you can't discriminate against people who want these privileges.

Now let me debunk a few of the arguments against Gay Marriage from how I see it.

The bible says it's a sin
I'm sorry but I don't care. And I am saying this as someone who thinks the bible is obviously one of the most powerful books and thinks as a whole religion helps society deal with the unknown and gives us a reason to act as a civilized society rather than like animals killing each other for our own gains. First - I can't claim to have studied the Bible enough to know whether or not it really says being gay is a sin- I am guessing many can interpret the bible to meet their own needs - but let me talk about a bigger point. I don't think we should be creating laws for a country based on any specific religion or religious document.

I guess I still believe America was founded by the Pilgrims who were trying to escape religion persecution. Whether you believe that or not - I at least believe if you are the governing for ALL the people in America - then you need to take into account that not everyone's religions beliefs are based on this interpretation of the bible or the bible at all for that matter!

It also bothers me that when people say gay marriage is wrong because the bible says so - I am bothered by the clear lack of consistency in this thought. I'm not sure the bible says it's a sin to be gay - but I do know it says it's a sin to commit adultery and I don't think we have any laws in place against that. If we were being consistent shouldn't we say that anyone who has committed adultery should not be allowed to marry again because the bible says it's a no-no? Or if adultery was committed in a couple who decides to stay together - should we as a society strip them of all the legal benefits of marriage because of the sin?

Let me now also say that I don't believe that being gay is a sin. And I've spent a lot of time thinking about this because it's such a political hot topic. I guess it comes down to the fact that there are a lot of things I think are wacky about Catholicism including treating women as second class citizens if they wish to pursue a life serving god. I hope to see female priests in the Catholic mass in my life - it wasn't until I was in high school that they started to allow female alter servers. But I'm getting off topic.

The reason I don't think being gay is a sin is because on a broader non-organized religion view I just believe that if there is one great creator called God then God created some people to be gay (and I am sure there is a spectrum so that is how I rationalize bi-sexuality). I also believe that scientific evidence is pointing to this direction - but for now that's irrelevant because there are many gay people in the world - and that is how the world of today was made.

At the end of the day I can't see anything that comes from a place of love and respect as a sin. I think it may be easy for some to call it a sin if they are not familiar with a loving and caring gay couple - but if they got to know more and more people who I believe may just be born with a different sexual orientation then they can see that there is nothing to fear from gay marriage destabilizing a society - in fact it would only improve things because the more committed couples we have the better.

Children need a Mom and a Dad
I am not going to doubt that this is true. I think it would probably be best for the kids to have a mom and a dad - nuclear family - and a pet. But the problem I have with this argument is that it is fantasy - not everyone is going to have that chance. Either by divorce or death of a parent many children are raised without a mom and a dad. Also there are probably some really bad moms and really bad dads out there anyways (like the ones who video tape their toddlers smoking pot - but let's not go there). Now to take this further - using the fact that ideally children would have a good mom and a good dad as a justification to oppose gay marriage is similarly detached from reality - just because some people say kids are better off with a mom and a dad isn't going to stop gay couples from living their lives together and raise children. In this scenario I believe we as a society are better off recognizing the commitment to their families of gay couples. Just because America tries to punish gay couples by withholding legal privileges of marriage from them doesn't mean gay couples are going to disappear.

If there is no possibility for children then it shouldn't be called marriage

I'm getting long winded so I'll debunk this one quickly - if this were the case then there should be laws that if due to medical reasons a heterosexual couple couldn't naturally conceive a child - then they should not be allowed to marry to be consistent with this philosophy.

It devalues marriage
Really? Because I think there are a lot of disgraceful and repugnant things going on in heterosexual marriages. Abuse, infidelity, etc. We can't really think that this argument could hold up as a reason to oppose gay marriage.

The majority are opposed to gay marriage
News flash - the majority opposed interracial marriage decades ago. Where I think the court decisions of overturning a ban on gay marriage are right is because the majority should not be allowed to just vote to keep rights away from a minority, otherwise we could today pass a law that says Republicans can no longer vote based on majorities. Another news flash - the majority of Americans are uninformed or ignorant. Would you really trust the intelligence of the masses to decide what is fair and just? I think I could get a majority to agree to put an end to Woman's suffrage. Women have been sufffraging for too long! But then Americans would figure out that they just passed a law to end a women's right to vote. Besides it was ill-advised power majority who previously prevented women from voting.

In summary - I actually don't have any issues with people having strong religious beliefs about whether homosexuality is right or wrong. Everyone is free to have their own opinion. However your right to swing your fist stops at another's face - so to speak - and when it comes to legal matters and laws for an entire country - I'm sorry - no matter how big a majority a specific religion may have - it should not be the defacto law in my opinion. That is such a narrow view that because it's some groups strong religious belief that it should become public policy - well our public may not all agree with the same religions ideas and we all have to live together. By default for me laws should be fair to all - not the majority.

I also am encouraged to see that younger generations are more tolerant and open minded - and while recent polling puts the issue currently close to a 50-50 split - I believe it will only be a matter of time before gay marriage will be granted the same legal rights and no longer will we have second class citizens (at least not for gay Americans and at least not legally anyway). Hopefully in 50 years we'll look back at this issue the way we do at preventing women to vote and we'll think "what the heck was America thinking back then".

I hope this blog helps start a useful dialogue and shed some light as to why we can't just point to the bible or any religion for answers to national policy - at least in my opinion.


Ivette said...

very good arguments, i say live and let live!

Karen said...

i can't comment or argue because my thoughts exactly mirror yours on just abotu every item (including the "off topic" ones) that you stated!

MrsJ said...

Very well thought out. I'm also sorry not to comment more, but I agree as well.

Anonymous said...

I'll throw in a few points for debate:

I know someone that is fiercely atheist and is also strongly against gay marriage. So don't make assumptions that just because someone is against gay marriage means that it is because of their religion.

On the topic of consistency, what about marriage between two consenting adults who are related by blood?

When it comes to making the law, everyone wants the law to reflect their own personal convictions. What difference does it make whether your personal convictions are influenced by religion, the media, friends, family, or self-thought?

"By default for me laws should be fair to all - not the majority."No law can be fair to everyone. You want to allow guns or ban them? Whichever way you choose, you step on someone's toes.

I do have a problem with people who bash others for being intolerant and narrow-minded, yet insist on their own convictions. (Not directed at you, but for the general audience). The only way you can make that claim is if you are against all laws--that would be true tolerance. For everyone else, they are just using the "tolerance" card to achieve their own agenda.

Tom said...

Anonymous -
I'm certainly not trying to attack any religion - though I hear a lot more uproar on gay marriage from religious groups vs atheist groups.

I'm not saying we don't piss anyone off with laws, like whether to ban guns or not - I don't care much if people don't like them as long as "everyone is equal under the law" versus some are not equal. If we said a certain group could have guns and a certain group couldn't - then I'd have an issue (unless the groups were decided by proficiency tests like a diver's license as long as everyone can take the test).

I like your devil's advocate argument of siblings wanting to me married but the law not allowing them to - but I will leave that one to psychologists and geneticists.

I do draw a distinction between someone having convictions that their beliefs about gay marriage (or any other topic) should prevent others from being married versus having your own convictions that it's not up to other's to judge them here on earth.

So I'm not bashing people who are intolerant (at least I wasn't trying to) - more so saying why should some things apply to select groups. On that theme I'll repeat I think laws are GREAT! I just think everyone should be equal under the law and to me gay marriage is an example where that isn't so. In fact - if there were no legal benefits to marriage (and there are over 1,000 from what I uderstand) then I probably wouldn't even jump into the fray because as I said I am in the lucky "majority" on this one but I think I am interested to see how society justifies somethings. I'm sure it "made sense" to some to prevent women from voting and to state that black men counted as 3/5 of a vote - but in hindsight it all just seems like silly ignorance (if not worse).

Lastly - even if gay marriage became law - it doesn't mean as a society we have become more tolerant. Sometimes that's where the courts have to protect the inetrests of the minority - which is why I think it is stupid to vote on gay marriage issues - again I think I could get a majority to pass a law over a minority - but that doesn't make it fair or just.

PS - I used the word fair in my original blog because I didn't want to get into it but laws don't have to be fair - they just have to be just.

PPS - Here's a CNN article on this very topic!

Anonymous said...

Glad we can have a meaningful dialog.

"If we said a certain group could have guns and a certain group couldn't - then I'd have an issue"There are so many laws/policies that have conditions that give certain groups benefits and not to others. One example is the progressive tax bracket. Does that mean the progressive tax bracket is unfair or unjust?

"I like your devil's advocate argument of siblings wanting to me married but the law not allowing them to - but I will leave that one to psychologists and geneticists."You haven't addressed the question. If you want everyone to be equal under the law, then why can't relatives marry? Or why can't a woman marry multiple husbands at the same time? Shouldn't we strike down those laws too?

Tom said...

Anonymous - I think the reason I am OK with preventing siblings from marrying is that due to the genetic issues, you are potentially hurting children - so I put this in the camp of you are free to swing you fist until it hits someone else's face. I don't disagree with you that there is some strict inconsistency but I can only tell you how I see it.

As a quick aside - I am ALL FOR a flat tax or fair tax. On the flat tax - you may be surprised to see that it will be a tax increase for business owners as many laws help them write off taxes, a flat tax disproportionately helps the upper middle class for taxes as a % of income - but thats a whole other blog - I agree on the tax part being messed up. I guess hitting someones wallet is less offensive than attacking their lifestyle so we haven't seen as many flat tax rallies as gay marriage.

Anonymous said...

Hey i enjoyed your articale and i am glad you said that I am not against people who have stong religous belifs and i hope this helps with meaning ful dialoge that is a great point.

peace man.