It is OK folks, we are all grown-ups here. If you have fought the battle to stave off the the silly concepts of “gay marriage”, “civil union”, or “equal protection under the law”, we understand. Just do the world a favor, and be honest about your reasons. At the risk of stereotyping, you folks fighting against the rights of LGBT persons are generally the same people who dislike political correctness, so what is your obstacle? Tell the truth! You don’t think gay marriage is a good idea, because you don’t like homosexuals. Oh I know, it isn’t that you don’t like them; hate the sin, love the sinner, right?
Get real. The fight against marriage equality is about the fear and loathing of homosexuality, pure and simple. Yet those doing the fighting have, with cold calculation and shameless cowardice, labeled their crusade, The Defense of Marriage. The notion is sickening really, and many Americans have bought into the idea. I suppose I understand the buyers; for most straight people, the idea of homosexual sex is less than appetizing. You might compare the visual to that of two ugly people having sex…or two fat people having sex. You might make the comparison, except that ugly and fat people are still allowed to get married, so long as they are ugly, fat, and straight. Apparently, the threat to marriage posed by the physically unattractive isn’t on the radar yet, and that, at least, is something.
So the buyers I can cut some slack; the sellers of the Defense of Marriage get no such dispensation. Homosexuals are people, people whose sexual identities are different from the norm. Homosexuality is almost certainly something LGBT persons are born with; you can’t catch “The Gay”. Despite this, despite all of the evidence, we are still confronted with the idea that marriage is an institution that can be attacked…by homosexuals. Lewis Black wondered about the existence of Gay Banditos roaming the countryside in search of young American families to destroy; it is a good question, and one that isn’t asked enough. What threat does marriage equality pose? How is your marriage threatened, minimized, or marginalized by the legality of homosexual marriage?
In case you aren’t sure, that was a rhetorical question. Your marriage, like my marriage, is defined by the two people who enter into the commitment. Money problems, societal ills, bad economies, war, famine, and your kid’s tattoos; none of those things define a marriage; affect the marriage, yes; define it, no. This concept is evident to most Americans, a majority of whom now support the idea of gay marriage. What is more, there is a broad coalition from both general sides of the political divide who support marriage equality. Liberal Democrats certainly do, but the Libertarians who now form the only consistent intellectual force on the right have no more interest in the government mandating marriage than they do for any other subject.
“Defending” marriage from LGBT persons is branding; it is how you make something most folks are OK with seem unpalatable. It is how you win political battles in today’s Charlie Sheen-esque environment of “winners!” Find an enemy, make regular folks afraid of it, then relentlessly reinforce the fearful message; “The Gays are coming for your children, and now they want to get married!” Billions of dollars have been spent by various Christian denominations over the last quarter century fighting marriage equality. Billions of dollars that fed no one, cleaned up no one’s water source, provided no one with medical care, comforted no one in a time of need, and saved not a single soul. Billions of dollars “defending” ignorance that could have been spent spreading the word. And the Catholic Church…my own dear, long-forgotten and still important, Catholic Church…oh my.
New York state’s Catholic bishops said in a statement provided to NBC News that passage of the bill left the “deeply disappointed and troubled.”
The bill will “alter radically and forever humanity’s historic understanding of marriage,” they said.
“We strongly uphold the Catholic Church’s clear teaching that we always treat our homosexual brothers and sisters with respect, dignity and love. But we just as strongly affirm that marriage is the joining of one man and one woman in a lifelong, loving union that is open to children, ordered for the good of those children and the spouses themselves,” they added.(MSNBC)
Can we, once and for all, set aside any clinging notions that the Catholic Church, as an institution, has any moral credibility left to offer the world? They have made it a mission to be on the wrong side of real values, instead choosing to focus on their own sanctimonious rantings. The four Gospels that, theoretically, serve as the bulwark of the Universal Church make no mention of homosexuality (a curious thing, Jesus not mentioning the terrible sin, given his residence in post-Hellenic Galilee…he would have seen it). Given the Church’s lack of admonition towards government officials who sanction war and torture, and policies that glorify wealth while treading on the backs of the poor, it isn’t immediately obvious that U.S. Catholic bishops should do more than shut their mouths and pray for a decline in sex abuse cases.
In case the celibate priests have forgotten, evolutionary drives will ensure that “history’s understanding” of marriage will not be altered. At least it won’t be altered any more…the Catholic Church, and most other religious groups, long participated in the arranging of marriages for political power, wealth, and reasons of class and ethnic bigotry. Good honest simple folks like us were always around to make sure that the artificially powerful didn’t screw up the notion too badly…in other words, marriage was saved from the plutocrats by regular people marrying for love.
You would be tempted to think that an organization supposedly founded and sustained by love, would be principally interested in enshrining that value at its core. You would, of course, be wrong; many Americans (faithful and atheist alike), understand that organizations like the Catholic Church (and the other big ones) are substantially founded and sustained by greed and power. And that is OK, because marriage equality doesn’t involve churches. Churches have always, and will retain, the right to marry who they choose in their facilities. So long as we embrace the fullness of religious freedom, that right continues. So take heart marriage defenders, you can keep the queers out of your houses of worship in perpetuity!
Meanwhile, back with the reasonable people of the democracy, New York became the most recent (and largest) state to ratify the civil rights of the LGBT community. The signing of that law by Governor Andrew Cuomo (after its passage by a Republican state senate), does alter something radically, and forever change a perception. For those who think that America isn’t really the land of the free, our democracy pushed a little bit closer to comprehensive civil liberties. Strangely, my marriage doesn’t seem at all threatened.
The Rational Middle is listening…