Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Gay Marriage

Well, a California judge has ruled California can't ban gay marriage.

Dammit, get to the important stuff. Like banning anyone who can't parallel park their SUV from owning one.

A few brief thoughts on this: first, some of you may recognize a bit of the below. I got a couple requests to pull the gay marriage section from Oh, Oh Canada for separate citation. You can skip right past this.

The main argument against gay marriage, as I understand it, is that it's some sort of attack on Christian living, or Christian beliefs. That Christians will lose ...um ... damn, I thought I understood it for a second, let me look it up again ...

Back. The right to worship Christ? No. Umm, the right to educate their children as Christians? No ... hold on ... their own marriages, performed in a Church, will be invalidated ... no, that's not true ... they'll be forced to accept homosexuals in their churches and perform gay marriages ... no, also not true, individual churches are immune to enforced acceptance (thanks to separation of Church and State -- hey, sometimes it is good for both goose and gander!) ...

Here's the problem -- and I really do believe that misunderstanding this is the root of many issue in America today:

Your beliefs are not your rights. The government is in the job of enforcing your rights, not your beliefs.

The government does not belong in the bedrooms of the nation. It does not tell you who to marry, how to marry, who to love, what God to worship, what books to read ... that is not its job. The government's job when it comes to marriage is to make sure the legal mumbo-jumbo is observed. All the things that make marriage "marriage", all the emotional and religious context, that's up to the individual couples and their communities, be those communites Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jewish, civil ...

If you belong to a church which is against same-sex marriage, fine. If this judgement stands, your church will not be forced to marry gay people. Do you know why? Because, and I will take this slowly, odds are gay people are not going to your church. Strange gay people are not going to paratroop in and occupy your vestry. This law will not make you have to look at gay people, or associate with them, or like them. You will not have to forgive them, or even agree with them. The special vows that make marriage a holy institution to you, they will not being saying them in your church, changing the meaning of those vows to you. They do not change what "marriage" means to you. You can continue to argue that gay people are bad or wrong or evil in God's eyes, and do so freely. Do you understand? Your. Life. Does. Not. Change. Your rights are not abridged. And so, your right to find them objectionable or icky or evil ends where their right to enter into a legal contract begins.

You may have excellent moral, or religious, or personal arguments against same-sex marriage. But you do not have a single decent legal one. And that is the government's reach, and no farther.

All that, of course, is me trying to convince someone with silly things like logic. For me personally, it quite simply boils down to this:

Christianity survived the death of its founder, centuries of brutal persecution by the most powerful Empire on earth, Crusades, corruption, bad popes, multiple schisms -- and still spread and thrived, converting over the course of its history hundreds of millions of people from wildly diverse, often hostile cultures.

It'll survive two guys sharing a life insurance policy.


Scott said...

Well said. Well said, indeed. This country has been scaring me lately. It’s not like I want to watch gay marriages on television, although if I did I’m sure the FCC would have something to day about it.

Unknown said...

Some of the best comments on the subject.

I once sat in a small Southern Baptist church outside of Starkville, Mississippi and heard a preacher talk about what is wrong with this world is all these people wanting rights, such as Gay Rights, Women's Rights, and Civil Rights. My wife had to put her hand on me from getting up and stomping on the man's head (I was there for her family; we are Catholic and evil apparently). This is the same preacher who told some of my in-laws that blacks are supposed to be slaves according to the Bible.

Some people think their religion should be their rights. I can't wait to find a nice island to run away to.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir Kung Fu Monkey,

You have no idea how glad I am to have found your blog. Posts like this remind me that just because I suck a writing/communicating it doesn't mean my opinions cannot be well stated. Now... will you please go up to all my friends and tell them this? Please? I'll be your friend...

david golbitz said...

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Luke Barnett said...

Hi. Very well said. obviously your opinion. Lately i've had to brush up on my Australian History as i'm now teaching it to yr 9 students!!! ah teaching...
Anyhow. One clear point relevent to this topic is the progress of government from laissez-faire politics (i think that's the right term/spelling) - which basically is politics that DOES NOT interfere with business dealings and the actual goings on of people's lives. Rather, they solely work on the legal issues.
I know in Aussie gov. that they take moral stands on issues and obviously try to legislate on that basis. For me, being a Christian, it is easy to go with many of these policies because I agree with them. I wont advocate or agree with gay marriage (for the sake of this argument) - but, ALL have RIGHTS.
My problem is that the world (maybe Western, maybe too general) is focused on MY rights. and not MY RESPONSIBILITIES. Because responsibility means you may be accountable to other people, and have to do something for them by sacrificing something of yourself.
Anyhow. Cool.
Oh and John, the key with Christianity surviving is that JESUS LIVES, otherwise, we're all goners.

Oerwinde said...

Rock on John. My room mate was originally against gay marriage until we pointed out that there is no reason not to allow it. Now he just doesn't care if they get it or not, which is better than being against it. All these zombie worshippers whining that it destroys the sanctity of marriage should watch TV sometime and check out whats popular nowadays.

That post was really just an excuse to use the term Zombie Worshipper.

Unknown said...

Oh and John, the key with Christianity surviving is that JESUS LIVES, otherwise, we're all goners.

I know, I know, but I was using the individual's death relative to Christianity as a movement, rather than Christ's thoesophical identity within the religion. Never mess up a good rhetorical construct with details. That happens to be the western liberal's greatest weakness ...

Amy Ruiz Fritz said...

Great post. The media really promotes the "fear" some people have of gay marriage. I remember hearing some newscast where the news guy made it sound like gay people were going to be breaking into your house, forcing you to marry them. People are nucking futs sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Extremely well said and pretty much word for word what I believe. People don't seem to understand the church & state seperation clause and how it plays with this issue.

I also give *MAJOR* props to the California judge for having the guts to a fair ruling.


Anonymous said...

Thank you SO MUCH for putting what I feel into words. Now when someone argues with me about this topic, I can just quote you! hehe


Luke Barnett said...

Hey yeah. well i guess it's just as highly relevant that Jesus died as well as living again. that's all!

Karl said...

Two types of religious followers:

Those who truly follow

Those who say they follow merely to make themselves gods over others.

I think all this banning has a lot to do with the latter, and has absolutely nothing to do with the former.

Any extreme Christian who's too busy pointing out someone else's sin needs to be paid that much more attention with the sins they commit {and quite frankly needs to be brought to their attention...remember all sins are equal in the Bible, and therefore do their sins equate the nullifications of each and every marriage being "legal" and "moral"?}, rather than the person they are pointing at.

People thought they had a right to burn others at the stake merely because children pointed them out and called them witches....because of verses in the Bible.

Right now, I see the bannings as the veritable equivalent of the stake, the extremeism as the children, and I sure as heck do not want this to go into where people are put at the stake.

Anyway, just my opin.

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Anonymous said...

haha.. niice i really did enjoy your sarcasticness..
anyways you probally are ready read this but i think its hillarious...
Homosexuality is not natural, much like eyeglasses, polyester, and birth control are not natural.
Heterosexual marriages are valid because they produce children. Infertile couples and old people cannot get legally married because the world needs more children.
Obviously gay parents will raise gay children because straight parents only raise straight children.
Straight marriage will be less meaningful, since Britney Spears's 55-hour just-for-fun marriage was meaningful.
Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and it hasn't changed at all: women are property, Blacks can't marry Whites, and divorce is illegal.
Gay marriage should be decided by the people, not the courts, because the majority-elected legislatures, not courts, have historically protected the rights of minorities.
Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are always imposed on the entire country. That's why we only have one religion in America.
Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people makes you tall.
Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage license.
Children can never succeed without both male and female role models at home. That's why single parents are forbidden to raise children.
Gay marriage will change the foundation of society. Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and we could never adapt to new social norms because we haven't adapted to cars or longer lifespans.
Civil unions, providing most of the same benefits as marriage with a different name are better, because a "separate but equal" institution is always constitutional. Separate schools for African-Americans worked just as well as separate marriages will for gays & lesbians.

Scott Macphee said...

Dear Mr. Monkey,

If you're not dating anyone, would you marry me? In Canada. Or Massachuesetts. Or maybe Washington State in the next couple of years.

Personally, I'm not a fan of gay marriage. It's the one archaic social institution that we can recreate in our own stylish gay image, one fabulous couple at a time. I certainly don't fault any couple for choosing to follow their own family traditions. There is definitely comfort in that kind of history. But I also don't see the need to be locked into a system that doesn't encourage the equality of its constituents. Face it, modern marriage is a legal and financial way to hedge your bets just in case things don't work out. There's nothing magical about marriage. Love and respect - now there's some magic...

Also magical? Your way with words and a witty argument. You almost have me convinced that we should get married.

Anonymous said...

I know this is an old post but, in light of the recent NYC Court of Appeals ruling against a Constitutional right (currently) to gay marriage, I've been out trolling the blogosphere. Your post on this California ruling is the most compelling and well-written I've seen. I hope you don't mind if I link it to my blog. I'm also guessing you are a straight, white male, which only makes this post that much more compelling to me as you are the exact demographic the extreme right-wing is trying to convince has the most to lose.

Anonymous said...

You miss the entire point. First of all in a democracy, people have every right to vote against gay marriage. Secondly, churches may not be forced to allow gay marriage, but could be blackmailed by losing tax benefits for their charities. Just remember were in a democracy and by and large the people have spoken. If you dont like it, too bad, not everyone leaves happy in a democracy.

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Leoncefalo said...

To John Rogers,

I hope I got your name right. The elucidation is just that - crystal clear and you get great kudos for that. If you will notice in the New Testament, Jesus of Nazareth, the founder of Christianity, makes NO mention of same sex relationships. It is NOT a religious or moral issue. The same games that straight people play - adultery, promiscuity, bigamy, are played by same-sex couples. So it is a wash there. As for children, 'as the twig is bent, so grows the tree' can mean a straight child gets reinforced in a straight relationship( a good one) and a gay child gets reinforced in a gay relationship (another good one). Bad relationships produce children who do bad things later in life - but NOT because they lived in a straight or gay home. GOOD and EVIL are inherited qualities/vices and they all come from human beings, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. John Rogers, you are a man among men - straight or gay.

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