I’m obviously missing something. Gay marriage is lining up to be the “abortion debate” topic of the coming election. It is consuming an ever increasing amount of effort and attention from politicians. There must be a danger here I’m missing. Either that, or we already solved all the tough social problems and no one told me.
You see, at least with abortion I understand the importance of the issue. There is a life or death decision in the balance, and the debate rages over where to draw the line. Life and death is a topic worthy of debate and attention. But what’s the issue with homosexuals marrying? Who gets hurt? Who’s quality of life is diminished? Who’s paying the bill? I’ve examined this from a number of angles, and I’m lost.
These are the reasons I can think of why the law might want to oppose gay marriages, and why I think that reason doesn’t hold water:
Marriage entitles you to certain economic/legal benefits in this country. The implication is that more married couples would be an economic drain or otherwise a drain on societal resources. However, the very people most opposed to gay marriage just created a $1.5B fund to incent more and healthier (heterosexual) marriages. So the clear message is that either marriage is good for the economy and society, or that it’s a burden we are dedicated if not driven to bearing.
Gay marriage erodes the social fabric by destroying the classic nuclear family. Seriously? Has anyone looked at the census or even around the neighborhood? Most families today are not Mom, Dad, and Jr. There are step parents, single parents, grandparents, couples committed to not having children, and countless committed relationships which share a residence without the benefit of marriage. How would gay marriage be more damaging than all of this? Which in itself pre-supposes that our current state would be damaging. It doesn’t fit with our Norman Rockwell view of the world, but there is ample precedent for societies organizing themselves around social structures different from the nuclear family. There’s nothing magic about that.
If we make it legal, then people will think it’s okay to be gay. Does anyone really think there will be a sudden rush of people lining up to register as gay as soon as it’s “legal”? Besides, it’s legal to be gay already. There are lots of laws protecting your right to be gay. Popular culture is even beginning to suggest that it might be trendy or cool to be gay. Hell, I can now be metrosexual which is supposed to be just like gay without having to actually kiss a boy.
It’s a sin against God. First, we don’t live in a theocracy, so nobody’s god gets a say here. Second, this goes back to asserting that gay is a choice. Otherwise, if this were genetic disposition, we’d have to allow for the infallible God to have created flawed human beings. That would be bad. So it has to be a choice. I swear, anyone who actually believes this is a choice has never really known anyone who was gay. Perhaps we should start some sort of a gay mentors club where an actual gay person could share their intimate emotions with a narrow-minded Christian. But that wouldn’t be fair to the gays.
If anyone has any better arguments, I’d love to hear them. In the meantime, I’m forced to think this is all just political posturing to pander to voters who are too stupid to realize this is not really a political issue.
And another thing… should anyone ever decide to write an amendment defining marriage as heterosexual, I’m curious how they’ll tackle the issue of defining gender. Sure, it seems clear cut, but there’s more grey out there than many realize or want to deal with. If I have a sex change and become a woman, I will still be genetically a man (and a disturbing looking woman, but that’s not my point). Who am I allowed to marry? If I married a woman it would look like a lesbian relationship to all the neighbors, but it would be genetically heterosexual. If I married a man, it would be the opposite. There are many XY females out there. People who are genetically male, but have been raised and appear to be female. Who can they marry? Possession of ovaries or testicles doesn’t buy you much unless ovarian cancer victims will get annulments in the operating room. Ability to procreate means any man can get an annulment with a vasectomy. The bottom line is that any law will have so much grey area as to be impossible to enforce outside the mainstream. In fact, some marriages today would doubtless be overturned. I’ve seen articles on sex change recipients who’ve gone on to marry their same genetic sex.
I’m inclined to think that this is one of those things which is enormous in the headlines, but small in reality. Let’s say we allow it and let the news coverage of the first few marriages to fade. It’s probably no more likely a gay couple will move in next door in the future than it is right now. They exist as couples now. They own houses together now. They probably don’t live next to you now. Personally, they’re welcome in my neighborhood anytime.