Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jesus would vote No on Prop 8

I recently read a post about marriage and Prop 8 in which the poster writes candidly about why she got married -- from the love she has for her husband to the convenience marriage affords -- and defends every person's entitlement to those basic rights. She says:
"I got married so we could own property together. I got married so that we would have enforceable rights if anything happened to either of us. I got married because he’s got great insurance benefits & I’ve got a great credit union. I got married because when we weren’t married, the world seemed to look at us differently, like we weren’t really in love. I got married because it made everything (taxes, renting, car ownership, illness, life insurance, nearly everything) easier. Just one document & so many issues simply evaporated.

And that surprised me. Social issues, family issues, governmental issues—completely resolved simply because I had a different last name, a legal document, and a [white] gold ring.

For these reasons and for all the reasons I didn’t list, I cannot condone restrictions on marriage between consenting adults of any gender. Nor can I sit idly by while bigots and homophobes attempt to restrict rights on the basis of religion at best and ill-articulated arguments at worst."

I will never understand the position that your sexual orientation or gender identity should dictate how you're treated as a human being, or which rights you're entitled to receive. And I will never believe that a supposedly omniscient, benevolent being would want to see anyone marginalized, judged, or excluded based on something as fundamental as sexual orientation, something that simply isn't a choice. (Do you choose who you fall in love with? Who you're attracted to? If you do, I'd love to have a chat with you to see how that works.) We talk about equality in this country, about tolerance and respect, and then we lob outdated, fearful, uninformed rhetoric about the "sanctity" of marriage, the "unnatural" "perversion" of non-hetero relationships, blah blah blah, into the sphere of federal legislation. How is this allowed to occur in the 21st century? In a country that clearly defines church and state as separate entities?

Sure, marriage between men and women has been around for thousands of years, and is a traditional, well-established institution that many people hold in high esteem. Know what else was? Slavery. And as for the arguments against gay marriage that involve such topics as procreation, child-rearing, morality, and gender norms, I would urge everyone to visit this site, which summarizes these and other popular arguments and addresses each of them thoughtfully, rationally, and dispassionately -- something that most anti-gay-marriage crusaders don't bother to do. Present me with a reasonable, informed opinion, and I'll listen. Spew ignorance and hate, and I won't.

I have no problem with Christianity, or any religion, for that matter. However, I do have a problem with things done in the name of Christianity (or, again, any religion) that impede people's basic rights as human beings. I have great respect for people who believe in the Bible because it emboldens them to be gracious, tolerant, respectful, kind, and brave. I do not respect people who use the Bible selectively as an excuse to further their small-minded, judgmental, hate-fueled agendas. I don't want to demean the Bible, which has a lot of profound things to say on a variety of topics, but it is a document that's thousands of years old, was committed to paper by men, has always been controlled by men (including the suppression of certain biblical gospels), and has been translated and edited thousands of times, often by people with their own agendas and biases. Those who selectively quote the Old Testament's proclamations against homosexuality seem to overlook the fact that the very book (Leviticus) that refers to homosexuality as "an abomination" also uses that exact term to describe shellfish. And commands that children who disobey their parents be put to death. And endorses slavery. And so on and so on. The reality is that the Bible condemns a lot of practices, many actively practiced by modern Christians. If scriptural condemnation is the sole basis of the argument against gay marriage? I'm unconvinced. I'm going to need a lot more to believe that the Christian God doesn't want GLBT people to have the same rights to happiness, equality, and choice as their heterosexual brethren. It seems counterintuitive to the whole Christian ideology.

I'm not even a big proponent of marriage -- in fact, I don't know if I ever want to get married. But I fully support everyone's entitlement to that right. I truly believe that fifty years from now, denial of rights to the GLBT community will be seen in the same light as racial segregation, or the denial of women's right to vote. Our own Declaration of Independence plainly states that any form of government that interferes with our ability to secure our "unalienable rights" should be "alter[ed] or abolish[ed]." I believe that this is one of those times, one of those rights. And if I ever get the opportunity to register my vote to that effect, I'll be one of the first in line.


Taylor Brice said...

Hell yeah!

Anonymous said...

You've seemed to rise above all previous posts and took a social stand beyond just entertainment and the Arts. This was quite good and provoking. I'd like to see more gifted writing in this realm. Not bad at all...