Gay marriage in the United States is one of those debates that just boggles my mind. It baffles me that it’s even a debate. But I guess that’s what you get around election time when people know that a good way of getting votes is to get self-righteous morons enraged about something that shouldn’t even be a question in the first place.
So…should homosexuals be allowed to marry?
For Zombie Jesus’ fucking sake, why shouldn’t they?!
Just a year or so ago in my native Vermont, the gay marriage debate struck again. It had hit in full force back in 2000 when Vermont became the first state to have civil unions, and it returned when people finally started to remember that separate is not equal. At both points, it was an insipid debate.
Now, politicians have been known to pull some pretty stupid stuff in the past. There was Bill Clinton years ago saying that he smoked marijuana but didn’t inhale. In the early 20th century, we had Woodrow Wilson running on the platform of neutrality, only to bring the US into World War I the year after he was reelected. In 2000, there was the whole Florida debacle in which we found out that people are apparently stupid enough to mistake Pat Buchanan for Al Gore. But the gay marriage debate is one of those things that just drains my faith in this country. Here is a sizable portion of the United States that thinks that the whole “Pursuit of happiness” part of our Declaration of Independence stops applying because of a poorly interpreted passage in the Bible. Back in 2004, there was even a movement to get a constitutional amendment to block gay marriage – a movement that was successful enough that several states passed such a revision to their own state constitutions.
It’s important to note that the constitution of the United States serves as the closest thing to a moral compass that this country has. So in trying to ban gay marriages via an amendment, the supporters of that amendment were actually going so far as to say that such occurrences are morally wrong. Once again: the assumption here is that it is ethically wrong to allow homosexuals the same rights, liberties, and ability to pursue happiness that heterosexuals have. The reason given? Apparently, it is our duty as American citizens to defend the sanctity of marriage, an institution that, according to the anti-gay marriage side of the argument, has been around for millennia and needs to remain untampered with.
Ah yes, the sanctity of marriage. Because, as we all know, marriage is a ritual that has remained unchanged for thousands of years, right? If gays are allowed to marry, then suddenly all of us normal straight folks are gonna feel threatened because the natural order, the one thing that has remained constant through all these years, is being threatened. Right?
Well, I asked my VHS copy of Ghostbusters what might happen if gay marriage was allowed nationally:
Okay, that really has nothing to do with the debate, but it’s entertaining, and it makes exactly as much sense as everything else said by the nay side of the debate.
Let’s establish one thing here: marriage has not always been the same. It varies from religion to religion and from era to era. There has been a time in the history of the United States when blacks were not allowed to marry. Should we go back to that, then? Or how about we go back further into European history where the Catholic Church had the only official power to marry people. Wouldn’t that be fun if the United States went even further into its conservative religious shell and declared that only certain people of certain races and creeds were allowed to marry because of the sanctity of marriage?
But then we go to the apparent statement that many people want to see in the constitution, that marriage should be defined as a union between one man and one woman. Because even when marriage was restricted, that was the definition, right?
Wrong. There have been many different societies that have embraced different types of unions as marriage. There have been polygamous societies, there have been societies that have not had any marriage laws at all, and yes, there are societies even today that allow homosexual marriages. Hell, there’s been a case where a man married his freakin’ TV! Marriage is a social institution people, and it changes with society. Barring gay marriages isn’t protecting the sanctity of anything; it’s just a way to exclude one group of people from having the same rights as everyone else.
The other argument that I hear on the subject is that allowing gay marriages opens the doors to all sorts of obscenities out there. If gays can marry, why can’t a mother marry her child? The answer to that one is quite simple. The mother should not be allowed to marry a child because such a relationship would be physically and emotionally unhealthy. There’s been research done, and we know for a fact that incest fucks up a lot of people’s lives. Homosexuality, on the other hand, carries none of those problems. You don’t have the birth defects because there is no birth involved. You don’t have the emotional trauma because such unions, as with heterosexual unions, are between two consenting adults. Sure, you’ve got the occasional rapes or sex crimes, but you’ve got them with heterosexuals too, and they all get punished the same way. Gay marriages isn’t putting the camel’s nose in the tent because it has no relationship to obscenity such as incest or bestiality. It is not harmful to others any more than a heterosexual marriage is harmful to others.
Then there’s the argument that homosexuality is not natural and therefore is wrong. Well, fact is, it is a natural occurrence. It occurs in nature most often as a way of controlling population growth. Science has confirmed this; many animals tend to develop homosexual tendencies when put in an overpopulated environment. Considering that there are 6 billion plus people on this planet right now, I’d say that we’re pretty damned overpopulated. And if you still reject the scientific conclusion and hold to the notion of homosexuality as obscenity, then you might as well get used to seeing more of it, because things are not changing and people aren’t keeping it locked up in the closet anymore.
And, of course, there’s the religious aspect. I’m not going to bother touching on this one too much, because religious nuts are so devoted to their beliefs that it often becomes impossible to debate with them logically. All I will say is that the Bible was written as a book of tales told in a desert environment where survival of the religion depended on a high birth rate. Since lying with man as with woman does not help such a situation at all, it made sense to have it considered abomination in those days; such actions meant a blow to the survival of the culture. We’re now far beyond that, and survival is no longer a question. If various religions wish to be ignorant on the matter and condemn homosexuality, fine. But last I checked, this country liked to pretend that there was a separation of church and state, so religious creed should have no impact whatsoever on federal law.
So when we boil it all down, we have a group of politicians claiming that gay marriages are morally wrong. They have no historical basis for this, as marriage is a social institution and has changed drastically over the years. They have no moral basis for it, as a union between a homosexual couple harms no one. They have no scientific basis for this, as homosexuality is not some sort of disease or aberration to be shunned from society. They’re simply trying to take away the right for a group of people to be happy because of their own ignorance and prejudices.
A lot of this rant is targeted toward those on the extreme conservative side of the political spectrum, but I can’t really say that I find the Democrats much better on the matter. What is their solution to the problem? Don’t have a constitutional amendment, but instead enforce civil unions instead of marriage. Civil unions are for tax and government purpose equal to a heterosexual marriage, but they’re called a different name to keep the two institutions separate. You know, because separate but equal has worked so freakin’ well in the past for this country. The Supreme Court said that it was wrong back when it affected blacks, but now people might just decide that it’s okay when applied to gays.
To an extent, I can understand Democrats not fully endorsing gay marriages, because such a move would be political suicide and ruin his chances at being elected. But at the same time, it points to my main problem with the Democrats in general: they’re mostly gutless. There are basically two halves of the political spectrum: the extreme right that knows how to get their more ignorant constituents out to vote, and the sane Republicans and Democrats that don’t have the balls to say what is right. Screw demographics, screw polls, just stand up and say, “This is wrong.” One of the reasons the anti-gay marriage side gets so much support is because they at least have balls. If someone would draw the line and just say that gays should be allowed to be married, maybe they’d get more support than they think. I for one know that I would love to vote for a politician that I actually like rather than trying to figure out who will screw things up the least. But instead we admire those people who are able to waffle and weasel their way around the issue regardless of whether they should. Part of it is the fault of politicians, who are too gutless and duplicit to actually take a stand on an issue. A lot of it is the fault of the people who are so ignorant as to endorse candidates who will not do the right thing. We vote for people that we know to be liars and cheats, but as much as we complain about them we still endorse them because we’re too focused on picking the lesser evil in this two-party system rather than taking a risk and voting for someone who is willing to do what’s right.
Unfortunately, no matter how this issue bears out in the coming years, America isn’t going to change all that much. We might claim to be a land of freedom and tolerance, but instead we’re a bunch of gutless and ignorant rubes who are so focused on enforcing our beliefs and our way of life on everyone else that we don’t even care about what is actually right and wrong anymore.