I don’t like to use the term ‘gay rights.’ There’s only one type of right: your right to liberty. —Ron Paul
Okay, how about ‘gay restrictions’?
As often happens, with the issue of gay rights we suffer the problem of religion demanding seemingly contradictory rights. They stand by their right to the freedom of religion, but argue that other peoples’ religious beliefs are immoral or deviant and thus should not be allowed. They argue that marriage is a religious tradition and thus reserved for the churches but argue that the government rights that come with marriage should not be granted to non-Christians.
Those are all the easy arguments to make, of course. What I stated above is the “weak argument” in favor of gay marriage—it doesn’t have anything to do with whether gay people should actually have the right to marry, and there’s nothing to actually contest or debate. Choose a side—either you agree with me or you don’t.
From the beginning, this blog has argued that secularism holds the absolute truth—that an hominem or status quo arguments are not necessary to show that non-religion is the superior solution. Let’s presume that every single objective argument that comes from the Religious Right is true. Even then, it is clear that same-sex marriages should be completely legal.
- Gay marriage is immoral and damaging to society.
- Gay parents are unable to raise their children as well as straight parents.
- The purpose of marriage is to procreate, which gay couples are unable to do.
- Marriage is a religious ceremony and therefore should not be celebrated by people who defile the religion.
- Tradition has always been defined as a man and a woman.
- Permitting gay marriage destroys the sanctity of the institution (see also #4).
- If we are to allow same-sex marriage, we should just as easily allow people to marry multiple wives, or their dog, or a toaster.
Now, I am not saying all or even any of these things are true. However, by simply going back and forth with “no, it isn’t!” “Yes, it is!” we make no progress. Here is our argument that every single one of these could be true and it still stands to reason that gay marriage should be not only legal, but protected as a basic right.
First of all, what exactly are we arguing to protect? What is the definition of ‘marriage’? If you start by saying “the definition of marriage is a bond between a man and a woman,” you’re not trying to come to any sort of consensus, you’re trying to shut up the other side. What is the agreed definition of marriage? Here’s our suggestion: Marriage is the introduction into one’s family of someone not related by blood. Unlike many of this blog’s definitions, this one does a pretty good job of capturing what makes marriage so beautiful. It is not only an expression of two peoples’ togetherness, but a responsibility that is not owed to any other individual. You cannot run away from a marriage as readily as you can a friendship, or a job, and by getting married, you’re agreeing that you would never want to.
So now we look at the arguments. Gay marriage is immoral and damaging to society. Since when has that been illegal or even frowned upon? On the contrary: there is a long tradition of marriage being a form of ownership, of a woman being forced into the familial bonds of a man, or of a man and woman of royalty from two countries being burdened with the bond that their respective countries desire. And even outside of the cultural tradition of arranged marriages, it is to this day an expectation of two friends who have caused an accidental pregnancy to get married before the child is born—if they are to raise a child, they should be obliged to each other.
When a couple marries in anticipation of a child, does that undo the fact that they had premarital sex? Absolutely not, and their conservative family members may still condemn them for their “sin,” but they will follow it up by saying, “at least they did the right thing.” They’re having a child, but they’re committing to raise it. All is right with the world. Having a baby isn’t the only reason why people commit to each other—maybe they want to live together. Maybe they can’t afford to support themselves on their own. Maybe they live in different countries and it’s the only way they can be together. In fact, it seems like marriage is used as a necessary solution for all sorts of problems. Marriage in itself tends to be used to ‘right’ a ‘wrong,’ so why wouldn’t otherwise deviant behavior (homosexuality) be justified by them vowing to stay together ‘for the right reasons?’
Now for procreation. I’ll allude to the obvious here, that there are 132 million orphans in the world who need parents of any kind. Many gay marriage opponents try to make the claim that two loving gay parents is equivalent to a single mother, which everyone agrees is less ideal than two loving parents, and the obvious response to that is that two loving gay parents are actually pretty similar to two loving parents, in that they are. However, in this blog, we’re ceding every single point to the opposition, so we’re going to say: what if gay parents are worse than straight parents?
When was bad parenting illegal?
Why should it be legal for fathers to be abusively anti-gay but illegal for fathers to be gay and tolerant? Even if you say being gay is deviant and disgusting, so is leaving your children with some dude you met in a bar, or blowing pot smoke in their face just to see how they act, or intentionally terrify them to force complacence, or pull them out of school for fear of them learning about genetics. Yet all of these are not only legal, but there are some circles of our culture which actually condone each of those actions, and defend their right to do so.
There’s a Public Service announcement right now in Portland which says “you don’t have to be perfect to be a parent.” It’s from the foster care service, trying to find parents. Mind you, they’re targeting people who aren’t procreating. Some who can’t, some who don’t want to anymore, some who can’t afford to raise a child from 0 to 18. Imagine in another state, running that same ad, only to turn gay parents away, telling them, “yes, we’re desperate for imperfect parents, we’re desperate for people who want kids but can’t have their own, but we won’t take you.” Being an imperfect parent is not only legal, but greatly desired over non-parents.
Now, for the religious aspect. No church should have to marry a gay couple if they don’t want to. There, that was easy. Now, as for others, their marriage doesn’t affect the church. I’m not only atheist, but I write a pro-atheism blog in my spare time. Yet I’m married, and no religious person would ever suggest that I shouldn’t be. So why would I have the right to engage in the sacrament of marriage, but not a gay couple?
But that’s beside the point. Here’s the point: since when was marriage a religious right? If marriage were a religious ceremony, betrothed couples would be granted no rights that the church isn’t permitted to give. That means no tax deductions, no cohabitation rights, no special visitation rights, no making decisions on the others’ behalf. They can sit together in the pews and they can be buried together, and that’s it. You want all those other rights that are given to domestic partners? Get a civil union with the gay people.
Never mind the fact that the early Christian religion actually did not recognize marriages. Holy blogger man, are you serious? Yeppo. It was not until St. Ignatius decided a hundred years into the church that bishops should marry betrothed couples in the church. Before then, marriage was considered a pagan excuse for mindless fucking. So if the church really wanted to remain pure, they’d reserve marriages for they gays and sluts, and forbid good Christians to marry at all. I mean, if they’re really observing tradition.
To be continued…