March 09, 2004

Gay Marriage: Equality at Work

With all of the violence and economic hardship running amok in the world, it’s good to know that our esteemed leaders are tackling the most lethal issue of all: gay marriage!

Leave it to Team Bush to dream up the first-ever unconstitutional amendment. The proposal would define marriage as a holy union between a man and a woman. Not only would this turn the Constitution into a right-wing dictionary, but it would also reverse the long-standing trend of taking discrimination OUT of the law.

Isn’t it remarkable how conservatives claim to be for less government until it involves either the bedroom or the war room?

I previously wrote on gay marriage in the July 23, 2003 issue of The Vermilion. At the time, the Supreme Court had declared the Texas sodomy law unconstitutional. The ruling seemed to represent a long stride toward equality for gay people. Of course, the religious right immediately stepped up its constant crusade with ideas as flimsy as they are ferocious.

I’m not impressed by any arguments against gay marriage. Why? Because every one of them ties into dogma. Faith varies by individual and thus is not a reliable bedrock for democratic law. Religion and government must remain separate, being that this is the whole point of the United States. We are a nation of laws, not of established religion. If you doubt this, ask yourself why the Founding Fathers drew up secular documents of law rather than enforce the Bible or other holy book.

One reason people give to deny gays the vows is that marriages are fostered for the purpose of begetting children. This would, in effect, annul all childless and infertile heterosexual couples. By logical extension, all future weddings would be shotgun weddings. A bride who ISN’T pregnant would be stigmatized. But I do see their point; if there’s anything wrong this planet, it’s that there aren’t enough humans.

On the secular side, critics accuse homosexuals of wanting special rights. What exactly are these “special” rights? Among them are marriage, civil benefits, hospital-visitation rights and equality under the law. What nerve! Seriously, as far as I can tell, the only thing that makes these rights “special” is that only heterosexuals are allowed to have them.

What is it about gay marriage that defiles the idea of wedlock? It must be bad, if it defiles the institution of marriage as much as conservatives say. I say that if marriage can survive a 50-percent divorce rate, quickie Britney Spears-style hookups, group weddings and “Who Wants to Marry My Big, Fat, Obnoxious Multi-Billionaire Bachelor?,” then it can certainly withstand two same-sex people expressing their love for each other.

The backlash against gay marriage is simply the latest attempt by conservatives to turn America into a cesspool of fanaticism. The religious right cares nothing about equal opportunity under the law. Instead, they attempt to turn their burning obsession with gays into attempts to write hate into the Constitution. Substitute “black” or “Jew” for “homosexual” in any of their rhetoric and see just how much they truly love their fellow man.

Allowing any two loving adults to marry benefits both homosexual and heterosexual couples. I’m not married, nor am I gay. Allowing gay marriage is not going to affect who (or if) I marry one way or another. On the other hand, it just might make marriage less trivial than people treat it now. If people really were really as serious about saving marriage as they claim to be, then they would support this cause. Marriage is one institution that could use some Queer Eye.

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