Saturday, December 06, 2008

Gay Rights - Newsweek Poll Results

I don't get it.

More Americans than ever, a pretty clear majority if a recent Newsweek poll is any indicator, are in favor of granting gays and lesbians virtually all the legal rights associated with marriage, but not allowing them to get married. Read the full poll results to see the numbers.

Actually, I do get it.

It's the same issue I've railed about in previous posts. We have allowed the word marriage to be defined in a religious context. That definition has become so ubiquitous that people who favor granting gay and lesbian couples all the legal rights associated with marriage through civil union can't take the final step and say, "Yeah, let them get married."

Let them inherit property...have visitation rights...adopt or use assisted fertility and have children...make them eligible for dependent insurance benefits...just don't let them get married. All the legal rights and responsibilities currently granted through legal marriage are fine; only the moral definition of marriage, a definition rooted in religion, is still holding up the show.

Wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. And a really bad precedent.

What about divorce and remarriage? Many Christian sects teach that divorce is against God's law except in cases of adultery, and some teach that it's wrong in any case. Shall we decide then, that divorce is illegal? What if we held a vote and your marriage to your current or perspective spouse hung in the balance while other people decided if it was moral or immoral?

How about procreation? There are those who teach that marriage and sex are primarily for procreation. Why don't we vote on whether birth control is moral enough for America? And while we're at it, let's make marriage between partners who can't have children illegal, too, since they can't fulfil the true purpose of marriage.

So if you're a post-menopausal woman and meet the love of your life, you can have a civil union but don't try for a wedding, 'cause we're not standing for it. If you've been divorced and meet someone new, go ahead and live together and we'll sanction it legally so you can have insurance and stuff, but we reserve the right to maintain our moral superiority and smug self-righteousness intact by not calling it marriage because America is a Christian nation.

Wait a minute...what did I just say? America is a Christian nation? When did we get a state religion? When did we ratify a Constitutional Amendment and adopt an American morality?

Oh...that's right...we didn't. My bad.

No. It's bad, but it isn't mine...and I'm not going to stop talking about it until we get over it.


  1. Anonymous11:54 AM

    I don't get it, either, Momma. You know why we don't get it? Because our stance on this issue has more to do with open minded analysis and logic rather than emotion. We haven't allowed ourselves to be lured onto that slippery slope that says that the world as we know it will end and the sky will fall and apocalypse will commense if gays marry. The sad thing is that we can point out the glaring illogic of that rationale and the bright light of reason won't penetrate that fog because that fog was created by emotion- namely, fear and hatred- which aren't based in logic or reason at all. There's a quote from Dune (the movie) that's directly on point: "fear is the mind killer." I think you can add hatred here and the quote still applies. The hatred comes in because people truely believe that being gay is a sin, and hated by god. It's been the battle cry of the religious right for years. And it's far easier for people to be sheep than to use their brains. The question becomes: how do you change someone's views when it's emotion that's controlling them? ~zephyr

  2. I like your thinking on this issue. Great write up.

  3. Beauty graphics.

    I think I agree, but I'm not sure. Marriage has two aspects: civil and religious. In terms of the civil aspects, gays should have every single enumerated right as everyone else. Marriage, in terms of the government's view, is a contract between two consenting parties.

    If the [insert church name here] church doesn't want to recognize that marriage as blessed before God, they should get to do that.

    I think that's what people mean when they say they're for civil unions and against marriage. Personally, I think the government shouldn't be in the marriage business, outside setting up and enforcing the contract.

  4. Thanks for the comments, Zephyr, Yvonne, and Chris.

    Chris, you and I are saying the same thing, actually. When you have time, read "Marriage, the Law, and Doing the Right Thing Twice" (posted November 15)...I suggest there almost exactly what you describe, and for the same reasons. The Catholic church has done that very thing for as long as I've had any awareness; the Church will not sanction a marriage that violates doctrine, yet the legal status of the marriage is unaffected. Read the post and tell me what you think.



Sing with me...