Monday, June 05, 2006

Bush, senators renew fight against gay marriage

There are really only two bases for the arguments against gay marriage and one of them falls apart upon even the most cursory inspection.

First, you can argue against gay marriage because your religion says homosexuality is immoral. Hey, that's fine and dandy if your religion codifies bigotry, but this reasoning has no place in a debate about civil marriage. Nobody is trying to pass a law stating that the Catholic church, for example, will have to marry gay people. So all the churches should stay out of it, if they're trying to inject religious beliefs into a civil debate.

Second, you can try to find some non-religious basis on which to oppose gay marriage. The one that everyone seems to have settled on is that marriage is the foundation of society and that gay marriage somehow destroys traditional marriage. This, they say, leads inevitably to the downfall of society. This argument, of course, is only thinly-veiled bigotry. First, gay couples exist whether the law recognizes this or not. They will continue to exist and society will go on. A legal recognition of this fact will not devalue traditional marriage, if anything it will strengthen marriage by allowing more people to participate in the civil institution of marriage. More participation means more stability, better protection for families, and more reasons to promote marriage. Second, forget about gay people for a minute, there are many, many non-traditional families out there who are doing just fine, and are also no threat to us straight people. One of my daughters' friends down the street lives with her mother, her uncle and her grandpa. She's a good kid and they're always doing stuff together. You can tell they have a strong family relationship. But according to Bill Frist, her family doesn't provide as much "protection" as a traditional family. My older daughter's best friend lives with his mom and her grandparents. He's a good kid, in gifted, good behavior. From what I've seen they have a happy, stable family. I know that anecdotal evidence only gets you so far. But it's clear that the foundation of society is family, regardless of it's composition, not marriage.

If you take all of these people who oppose gay marriage and look at the root cause, you'll invariably find religion. They all talk in generalities about defending marriage, but they really think just think gay people are immoral. I think it's clear this federal amendment won't go anywhere, it's just a way to fire up the bigots in the base. What I would hope for is that the state amendment route has almost run its course. Then if Massachusetts can hold on, and a couple of other states can follow suit, there'll be some islands of sanity that can spread tolerance.

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John Howard said...

Tolerance will spread, I don't have any doubt about that. You look at kids today and their attitudes towards homosexuality, and they're completely different than even when we were kids which isn't so terribly long ago. There's simply more exposure to it, and that makes it harder to be afraid of. These kids will grow up accepting it, as they should, as just another part of life. The thing that frustrates me about it is you shouldn't have to be exposed to it to realize the right side of this issue. It's crystal clear, if you care about people at all. I don't have any gay friends, our parents never explicitly taught us to be more accepting of diversity, it's just obvious to me.

the SIL said...

Unfortunately, it's the same situation as black vs white that went on prior to our time. We grew up with blacks, but our parents and grandparents grew up with desegregation. It takes time. It shouldn't, but it does. I think you could just remove Gay or homosexual from all the arguments and replace the terms with Negro and it will all be a rehash of an old argument. Didn't the government an white establishment argue that interracial marriages would be the downfall of society? And didn't they argue (even further back) that having women vote and enter the workforce would cause the downfall of society?

It's just SSDD.

the SIL said...

"grew up with desegregation"

oops. make that segregation!