Friday, May 11, 2012
Everyone has the right to love.
The recent rehashed fracas over same-sex marriage following the presidents official statement of support for it has prompted a slew of comments and opinions from people on all sides of the issue. For the record, I support same-sex marriage because I support equality for all human beings. I've heard a lot of arguments against same-sex marriage, though, and I have yet to hear a single one that I consider valid. Yes, I am biased because of my own opinion, but I'm not so obtuse as to not recognize a good argument, I just haven't heard one yet.
"If we allow gays to marry, we may as well allow people to marry animals and inanimate objects!"
I call this the Bill O'Reilly argument because I have heard him make this same ridiculous point numerous times on his show. The idea is that, under the equal protection clause, allowing gays to marry will force society to also recognize marriages between humans and animals or humans and objects. This is a terrible argument simply due to the fact that equal protection doesn't currently allow gays to have the same marital rights as heterosexuals. If this argument were valid, then there wouldn't even be a debate over allowing gay marriage, it would simply be legal under equal protection. Since this obviously isn't the case, then it stands to reason that society could allow gay marriage without also having to allow beastiality and marriage to inanimate objects.
Never mind the fact that animals and inanimate objects aren't citizens, they cannot enter into legally-binding contracts (such as a marriage) and are therefore no more allowed to marry under the law than a 6-year old child is. Animals can't buy houses, they can't buy cars, they can't make real estate deals and they can't get married.
But, let's humor this laughable ignorance and assume that somehow the legalization of gay marriage in this country led to men and women also legally marrying animals. Let's ignore the fact that this is not the case in any country on Earth where gay marriages are legal, let's ignore the fact that gay marriage legalization has not caused any increase in acts of beastiality or a rise in polygamist marriages in any country on Earth where those marriages are legal. Let's ignore all of the empirical data that disproves this absurd argument and just humor the bigots... well, so what?
So some guy in Arkansas decides he wants to marry his horse, so what? Leona Helmsley left her dog $12 million in her will when she died and that was perfectly legal, so is there some difference between people doing stupid shit like that with their animals and people who want to marry them? Beasitality is a crime, it's cruelty to animals. Allowing humans to marry animals is like allowing adults to marry children, it's abuse of an innocent victim by a perverse and disgusting perpetrator. There's no way under the law that a human being would be able to legally marry an animal, but let's assume that a man and his horse are in love with each other and have a mutual, romantic relationship, in defiance of all the laws of nature... How does that affect a heterosexual marriage at all?
This is the question I can't ever seem to get a good answer to from those who oppose gay marriage. I keep hearing about how "if we're gonna allow gay marriage then we may as well allow men to marry animals and blah blah blah!" and, even if that were remotely true, how does that affect your heterosexual marriage?
Right now, somewhere in the country, a man is having sex with an animal. It's not pretty, it's not right and it's not even legal, but it's happening. It's going to happen whether it's legal or not, because some people are just disturbed and compelled to do whatever they want regardless of the law. So, how has this fact impacted the act of sex for heterosexuals? Using the anti-gay marriage logic, if allowing gays to marriage ruins the entire institution of marriage for everyone, then wouldn't men committing beastiality ruin the entire act of sex for everyone? I mean, how could two God-fearing straight people have sex when there are people out there having sex with animals or children? Yet, in spite of the fact that beastiality and pedophilia exist in this world, straight, religious couples are having sex every day, engaging in an act that has been tainted by perverts and sodomites.
Hell, what about prostitution? Surely that is a disgusting insult to the sanctity of procreation? Having sex not just for pleasure but for money as well? And not even trying to get pregnant from it? Surely that's an affront to the traditional, "moral" ideal of sex?
If allowing gays to get married will completely destroy the sanctity of marriage, then allowing gays to have sex has already destroyed the sanctity of sex between consenting, straight adults. Therefore, any so-called Christian who is still having sex is doing so in celebration of a tainted, vile and Godless act.
But I still don't know how gays getting married affects heterosexual marriage at all.
My wife and I have been married a little over a year and in that time many states have allowed gay marriage and many thousands of gay couples have been married. In that time, much to my surprise, our marriage has remained valid in the state of California. I almost couldn't believe it because I was sure that when gay marriage was allowed in CA, that would completely negate all marriages in the state and turn us into a vast, amoral wasteland of people living in sin and having children out of wedlock. However, despite gay marriage becoming legal and then illegal again in CA, my wife and I continue to be legally married and our rights as a married couple are still unchanged.
Also incredibly shocking to me was the fact that people marrying their animals didn't skyrocket once gay marriage was passed here. Now, I know gay marriage wasn't legal in CA for very long, but given the difference between human years and dog years, even a few months of legalized gay marriage would be like years of legalized man-on-dog marriage and yet, in spite of that obvious fact, I don't know of a single person in the state of CA who married an animal due to the temporary legalization of gay marriage in my state. According to gay marriage opponents, the floodgates of beastial marriage should have flown open, but apparently animals still prefer casual dating to serious commitments, perhaps the problem is that humans were trying to romance the wrong species of animals? I hear dolphins mate for life, maybe chasing after dogs and horses is just asking for heartbreak?
"God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve!"
Ok, technically, if God creates all life on Earth, then he created Adam, Eve, Steve, Bob, Ted, Carol and Alice. God created us all in his image, or so they told me in Sunday School. Even when humans procreate naturally, God is given credit for creating the life that grows inside the expecting mother, so, unfortunately, that means God created gay people, straight people and even those weirdos who want to marry their cats or bacon or whatever.
Be that as it may, however, there is an important flaw in this logic: Adam and Eve were never married.
Yep, there was never a ceremony, never an exchange of vows, nothing. Hell, before they even got settled in to their garden villa, Eve got them kicked out for eating that damn apple, so these were just two sinners, procreating out of wedlock.
Also, Eve was created from Adam's rib. She was formed from Adam. Now, I'm no anti-gay marriage legal expert, but if it's considered a valid argument that gay marriage equals bestiality, then wouldn't having sex with a part of yourself be considered masturbation? Adam was essentially having sex with his own rib, plus a little extra meat and fat that grew around it after God took it from his side. So, technically, Adam was having sex with himself, out of wedlock of course because that would just be weird to let someone marry themselves...
Well, according to Leviticus 15:16-18, spilling ones seed on the ground is considered a sin of the same caliber as homosexuality. There is no distinction drawn that says one is just a misdemeanor and the other is a felony, they're both labeled as unclean acts. Thus, by allowing Adam to have a sexual relationship with Eve - who was made entirely out of Adam - God was essentially allowing Adam to engage in masturbation. Does this mean that all women - as descendants of Eve - are really just pieces of Adam and that having heterosexual sex is just masturbating with a rib that happened to grow legs, breasts and a vagina?
I know what you're thinking "But Dave, ribs can't get pregnant!" Yeah, well last time I checked, ribs don't turn into girls, either, no matter how long you cook them, but God works in mysterious ways!
Here's another quandary about gay marriage equaling beastiality, which person in the gay relationship is considered the beast?
If two guys having sex is equal to a man having sex with a dog, then which man is the human and which is the dog? This is important to determine because what if the man-who-is-really-a-dog happens to be bisexual and has sex with a woman? Didn't she just commit beastiality too? What about women? Which woman is the dog in a lesbian relationship? Is it the one who receives? Or the one who gives? Many times, gay sex is carried out in the "doggy style" position, but is the pitcher the doggy, or is it the catcher? Or, is it both of them? It can't be both of them, because then that would just be normal sex between two animals and that's perfectly ok. I think it's essential to this debate for there to be a generally-accepted consensus over which partner in a gay relationship is the animal and which gets to keep being a human, the sooner we can determine this, the better.
Also, if a gay man has sex with a dog, is this legal? It should just be considered an animal having sex with another animal, right? Surely no one freaks out when they see a dog trying to hump a pig, do they? I believe, in fact, that this sight would make for quite a funny Youtube video, that poor dog trying to hump on a pig, that will never work! It seems to me that if we aren't going to lock that silly dog up for trying to mate with a pig, we shouldn't lock up gays for trying to have sex with other animals either, right?
"This is all about preserving the sanctity of marriage."
So was this.
Seriously, all of the arguments being made against gay marriage today are almost identical to the ones made against interracial marriage in the 1960's. Back then, opponents of interracial marriage also equated it with beastiality. The argument back then was "If we allow people from different races to mix, then what's next? Men having sex with animals?" We were told that children would be forced to learn about interracial marriage in schools and indoctrinated into a society where interracial marriage was not only ok, but you would be considered an outcast if you didn't participate in an interracial relationship. "Your children will be exposed and you will have to explain it to them!" Sound familiar?
The bible was invoked then, as well. People who didn't have the guts to just admit that their opposition to interracial marriage was just simple prejudice and bigotry hid behind the bible, they hid behind a false concern for "children" and what they would be taught about interracial marriage, they hid behind a sense of duty to "preserve traditional marriage" and keep it from being turned into a mockery by allowing different races the same rights to marriage that couples of the same race already enjoyed. They claimed interracial marriage would lead to an explosion of beastiality and people marrying inanimate objects. They claimed it would undermine our economy, cause property values to decline as interracial couples moved into "normal" neighborhoods. They claimed it would destroy the family unit as scores of "half-breed", mixed-race children infiltrated our society with their bastardized culture and genetic disposition towards amorality.
Nearly 60 years later, the same arguments are being recycled by the anti-gay marriage crowd. Literally, the same exact language. Replace "whites and negroes" with "gays and lesbians" and you have the current anti-gay marriage talking points to the letter. Is there a reason why this kind of talk was hateful ignorance in the 60's but it's values-based morality today?
Another interesting fact - nearly twice the percentage of the American population was opposed to interracial marriage when it was federally legalized in 1967 than the number who are opposed to gay marriage today. About 72% of the population was opposed to interracial marriage when the SCOTUS legalized gay marriage in all states and 48% - or nearly half the country - felt that gay marriage should be a crime punishable with jail time. Legalizing interracial marriage was a wildly unpopular act at the time, but our society is better, stronger and more diverse today as a result.
"Don't force your gay agenda on me!"
This is possibly my favorite asinine anti-gay marriage comment. The idea being that telling people who are opposed to gay marriage "You can be opposed to it all you want, it's still allowed" is forcing gay marriage upon them. There is a great quote "Saying that someone else's gay marriage is against your religion is like being mad at someone for eating a donut when you're on a diet." It's simplistic but true. Being opposed to gay marriage from a religious standpoint is absolutely your right, if that's how you believe, but Muslims exist in a world where people eat ham and bacon, Jews exist in a world with non-kosher foods and all religions exist in a society where not everyone shares their beliefs and yet everyone in these religions feels as though they will be allowed entry into heaven, despite the fact that there are many other people on the planet who don't believe as they do and who, according to their beliefs, are most likely doomed to an eternity in hell for it.
Legalizing gay marriage doesn't "force" anything on anyone. If you're not gay, you still get to be not gay in an America with legalized same-sex marriage. If you're in a heterosexual marriage, you still get to be in that heterosexual marriage in an America with legalized same-sex marriage. Nothing, absolutely nothing, is being "forced" on you.
If gay marriage is legalized tomorrow, the gay police aren't going to show up at your door and force you to have gay sex, or marry a gay person, or attend a gay wedding or even send a nicely-worded card to a recently married gay couple. You don't have to change a single aspect of your life, you don't have to do anything any differently than you ever have. Your wife or husband will continue to be your wife or husband, your children will continue to be your children, your heterosexual sex life will remain whole, intact and preserved.
However, if gay marriage continues to be illegal, then gays can't get married, they can't have legally-recognized same-sex commitments, they can't enjoy the rights and privileges of a traditional married couple. Simply put, allowing gay marriage doesn't affect anything for the average straight American, but keeping it illegal affects everything for a committed, same-sex couple who wants the same rights and privileges as a heterosexual couple.
Legalizing same-sex marriage doesn't "force" anyone's morality on a heterosexual person. Keeping same-sex marriage illegal does force someone's morality on the gay community, however. Nobody is going to arrest you for not having a same-sex marriage, but North Carolina just arrested two women this week for trying to get a same-sex marriage license in their state.
Stop trying to force your homophobic agenda on the rest of us.
"If it's such an important issue, then just put it to vote! Let the people decide what they want! Leave government out of it!"
Essentially, this is a valid point and I agree with the principle behind it, except rights aren't subject to popular vote, that's what separates rights from privileges.
See, being allowed to drive when you're 16 or buy a gun when you're 18 or drink when you're 21, those are privileges. They can be taken away if you violate the law, for instance. Men and women are not denied the right to marry just because one or both of them have broken the law. Americans are guaranteed rights under the constitution. These rights aren't subject to the law, they are the law.
Or, as Rachel Maddow put it: