Friday, October 16, 2009

A Rant For Gay Civil Rights

I apologize for the following rant, but as a Mainer (or Maine-iac, as I prefer) I'm dealing on a daily basis with the fight against gay marriage, since in November voters will decide whether or not to keep the new gay marriage law on the books (no marriages have taken place yet. Gay marriages can start after the election takes place if the law stays on the books) or to overturn it. My husband and I are heterosexuals, so the law doesn't directly affect us, but it does affect friends of ours. I also have grown tired of the arguments about marriage and the bible. My husband and I are both atheists (no hate for religious people! We have friends who are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Baha'i, and Hindu. It's just what we believe) and the government allowed us to get legally married. We also don't plan to ever have kids. We love kids, but we don't want any of our own. So the whole "gay marriage can't produce kids" argument doesn't hold water with today's legal marriages anyway. Otherwise we wouldn't allow infertile people or older women to get married.

In fact, I have yet to hear a coherent argument against the legalization of gay marriage. I have heard plenty of arguments against allowing gay marriage in various religions. I have no real issue with that. If allowing gays to be wed in your church is against your religion, then that's fine. What I do have an issue with is the fact that various Christian groups are trying to force their religious beliefs on LEGAL marriage, which is not beholden to any religion. You can be Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Pagan, Atheist, heck, you can be part of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and still be allowed to get legally married and the government doesn't give a hoot! You don't have to be able to produce children to be able to get married (otherwise we wouldn't let older couples, infertile couples, or couples who don't want children to wed).

Right now, all you have to be are two adults who love each other, want to be legally become a family, and get all of the benefits legal marriage gives you... oh, and you have to be of the opposite sex currently (except in a few fabulous states). You say you want to go back to the earliest form of traditional marriage? You mean back when religious officials weren't involved in marriages at all? When women were considered property and were given away in exchange for land, goods, and social rank? When people of different races weren't allowed to wed (heck, back before the Civil War, slaves weren't even allowed to wed amongst themselves)? We've been changing the definition of "traditional" marriage for centuries, for the better.

But won't allowing legal gay marriage open up a "slippery slope?" Then adults will be able to marry children, animals, multiple people, and TOASTERS!!! Uh huh. Here's the problem with that theory: Let's get rid of the whole animals and toasters thing. Two individuals have to be able to give consent to be married. Animals and toasters can't give consent. Maybe you think that your beloved doggy really really loves you and wants to be your lover (ewww), but you can't honestly tell me that Spot understands what marriage is and consents to be your lawfully-wedded pup. Now about pedophilia and polygamy/polyandry: relationships between children and adults and between multiple adults are psychologically damaging to one or more members of the marriage (typically with the weaker individuals receiving the brunt of the psychological damage: Feelings of helplessness and inferiority at its best, and in self-mutilation and suicide at its worst). Two consenting adults of the same sex getting married don't face these problems (well, with no more proclivity towards psychological and physical damage than us heterosexuals seem to have. Whitney Houston and Bobby B, anyone?).

"But you can decide to be gay/not gay!" My favorite gay couple? The lesbian swans in the Boston Public Garden. They've been together for years, show no interest in male swans, try to raise eggs together (unfortunately, the eggs can't be fertilized without a male swan), and care for each other. How dare these swans decide to be gay! Or the several sets of gay penguins at the Central Park Zoo (and I'm not talking about the ones in the movie Madagascar). It doesn't make much sense to decide to be gay, what with the "awesome" things many gays have to face: expulsion and hatred from their family and "friends," discrimination, violence and even death.

And the idea that gay parents are psychologically damaging to their children or will cause their children to be gay? Ridiculous! The children I've met who have gay parents are some of the nicest and friendliest kids I know. Maybe this is because gay parents feel genuinely grateful to be able to raise and love children, as opposed to several heterosexual couples I know that pop out kids and view them as just another mouth to feed. And the sexuality of the parents doesn't have anything to do in determining the sexuality of the children (otherwise all these gay kids must be coming from really closeted gay parents... Dick Cheney?).

So, we're coming to the end of my argument/rant. In a nutshell: the reasons that many people give against gay marriage have no merit in the debate of whether or not to LEGALIZE gay marriage. We do not want to change your religion's stance on gay marriage, or force your church to perform gay marriages. We just want two consenting adults who love each other and want to show the world how committed they are to each other the legal right to do so. Heck, if the government doesn't have a problem with two childfree atheists getting legally married and receiving all the benefits therein (thanks, gov't. My husband Kyle and I appreciate it!), why should two men or women who love each other be any different? If you've read this far, whether or not you agree with me, I owe you a cookie. I hope I've at least raised some points and/or answered some questions that you may have had, and helped you understand some of the arguments FOR legalizing gay marriage. Thanks again!

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