If I Ran The World: Gay Marriage Edition

The furor over California\’s passage of Proposition 8, an amendment to the state\’s constitution banning same-sex marriage, continues to boil. Newsweek had a recent cover story discussing whether or not the Bible supports or condemns gay marriage.

I found the article poorly researched and not well written, something I would expect on a blog (insert irony here) not from a respected bellwether such as Newsweek. However, after reading the article and the associated feedback Newsweek received, I find myself asking the same question I always do when this topic comes up: what is so wrong with gay people getting married?

The first and foremost reason has been Religion. There are portions of the Bible that denounce homosexuality. But as the article notes the Bible devotes far more time to rules on how to properly sacrifice animals. It has always been my argument with people that use the Bible to promote anything that you cannot pick and choose your verses. If you use the Bible\’s literal text to believe that homosexuality is an abomination, you better start burning some animal organs on your altar as well. The text in the Bible is a reflection on the times during it was written. During this time it was common to sacrifice animals to the Lord and it was common to buy and sell slaves. It made sense to dictate what kind of animals could be eaten, which were clean and unclean; and it made sense to have rules to isolate people with infectious skin diseases (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=3&chapter=13&version=31). But I digress; the Judeo-Christian religion does not support any position for or against gay marriage.

Another reason against gay marriage is Society. The founding fathers of the United States had no reason to legislate anything regarding marriage. Societal pressures ensured that anyone who was gay was pushed to the furthest fringes, virtually invisible. As our society has evolved, gay people are no longer marginalized to that extent. They are front and center today. Sadly there is a significant portion of our society that holds onto old biases against gay men (oddly enough there doesn\’t seem to be much issue with gay women, as long as they are hot, and are willing to have a man join them for an evening of… ahem… well I digress). This portion of society is against gay people in general, let alone gay people getting married. Another part of society doesn\’t have a problem with gay people, but is threatened by the notion of them getting married, as this somehow damages or devalues their own (hetero) marriages. While I strongly disagree with these segments of society, at least their existence makes more sense. There are idiots and bigots in every society. Over time they slowly disappear… or at least move on to some other issue to be an idiot or bigot about. With time these people will be gone. Black people had to wait hundreds of years for society to weed out enough bigots to move in from the fringes of society, gay people have come a long way in the past few decades, but they will have to wait out today\’s bigots as well.

The only other reason against gay marriage that comes to mind is Economics. I could understand if people were against gay marriage because of the economic repercussions. Same-sex medical benefits and the like. But there isn\’t much argument here either. Any economic reason one could come up with against gay marriage would also be against all marriages. So it really all boils down to ignorance and hate.

So what would I do if I ran the world?

Well, first off I would get the government out of the marriage business. From this moment forward you will get a civil union license from the government. Signing and filing of this document (signed by witnesses of course) is a legal agreement between two individuals (of appropriate age) that ensures visitation rights, inheritance rights, economic rights, and so forth. Now I know this is where the Mormons step in looking to ask why a civil union can only be between two people. The answer is that this is the belief of our society. That two and only two people should be joined. If you don\’t like it, try another society, or wait around a hundred years or so and maybe that\’ll change. Life sucks, get a helmet.

Next, that leaves Marriage completely in the hands of the non-secular. Whether you want a large 3 hour Catholic ceremony, or if you want to confirm your love in front of Captain Jean-Luc Picard at the Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas; it\’s totally up to you and your beliefs. That\’s what makes this country great. You have that right, no matter how wacky it might seem to everyone else.

It just seems that the separation of church and state would dictate that the sacrament of Marriage should not have any influence by the government. The basic purpose of government is to provide security, preserve the public order, and protect property rights. That\’s about it. Unless gay marriage threatens your security or public order, the government should stay out of it.

Sadly, I don\’t run the world. But maybe someday.



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7 responses to “If I Ran The World: Gay Marriage Edition”

  1. alex Avatar

    I bet you say ‘Happy Holidays’, too.

    I could add another thousand words to this myself, but the bottom line is that this country needs to get back to *more* separation of church and state. There’s nothing wrong with church, mind you, so long as one denomination does NOT get to legislate over all the others.

  2. wadE Avatar

    What’s wrong with Happy Holidays… maybe I’m wishing you a Merry Xmas, Haunnakah, and Kwanzaa… they are all holidays… or maybe I’m just wishing you a happy holiday season (T-giving through NYE). I don’t have a problem with Happy Holidays… it acknowledges that there are many different holidays, and I’m wishing you to enjoy this time of year.
    What I really hate is Season’s Greetings… just doesn’t even sound good.
    Anyway, in terms of church and state, I agree… but in my opinion this issue is more about Society (of which religion has some influence), but it’s society that isn’t comfortable with gays marrying… moreso than religion. My $.02.

  3. alex Avatar

    It was a sarcastic, Bill O’Reilly’s ‘War on Christmas’ type comment. And I agree with you, but would posit that those in society who aren’t comfortable with gay marriage strongly correlate with those in society who think that Christianity should be (or *is*) the state religion.

  4. anderswa Avatar

    > The text in the Bible is a reflection on the times during it was written

    yessir. throw that in with what one loses in the translation from hebrew / greek to english (one o.t. passage “condemning” homosexuality is actually referring to pedophilia) and it’s hard to take pieces of the bible and apply it to today’s world. granted, this is quite the slippery slope.

    al, i’d be cautious of lumping all christians in with those who seem to get the most media coverage (reed / dubya / swindoll)– just because they’d like to co-opt the “C” word for their own uses / gains doesn’t mean many christians agree with ’em.

  5. monkey Avatar

    Just a note about how other western societies handle this: In Germany, where the State collects taxes on behalf of the Church (!), nearly everyone who marries has two ceremonies — one at the local government office to do the legal deed, and then one at the church to do the religious deed (and not necessarily on the same day or even in the same year). It seems utterly nonsensical to me that a person of the Church is pretty much automatically granted powers of the Government when that Government was founded on keeping the Church’s hands out of Government. What a country!

  6. wadE Avatar

    Well, the church really doesn’t have the powers of the government, as in some states you can get married by signing the certificate in front of the person you pick it up from at the courthouse (my brother had that option in Colorado). Some states are a bit more strict, I believe New York you need to be licensed to perform ceremonies, Georgia too. While some states you just need a witness when both people sign the certificate.

    In the vein, I agree… what a country!

  7. alex Avatar

    Wade – I wasn’t really joining those two statements together, although I can see how you’d read it that way. Just one joke, one serious statement…

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