Posted by mike in News,Religion at 4:28 pm on June 14, 2007

Massachusettes today shot down an initiative to put a same-sex marriage ban on their 2008 ballot. As such, they remain the only state to have legalized same-sex marriages.

What always gets me about issues like this is how remarkably ignorant the opposition always comes out looking. It’s not just that it’s pompous, idiotic, and against everything that this country supposedly stands for to try to legislate your personal beliefs onto others. It’s also that when you do so, you manage to completely miss the whole point altogether.

“Everybody comes from a man and a woman. That’s the basic fundamental group or unit of society,” said same-sex marriage opponent George Howe, 52. “People get caught up in man-man or woman-woman relationships, they are missing the point.”

I suppose the above would be a valid statement if, in yet another example of Christian beliefs that are not only nonsensical but also downright impossible, “the point” were for every person to procreate. It never once seems to enter into the minds of people like this that “the point” might just be that we–as a people, as a nation, as a society, as a culture–should not stand in the way of each others’ happiness, whenever possible. If what makes others happy does not make sense to you, that’s fine. But it seems like it should be viewed as a much larger and much more detrimental leap than it commonly is for people to then turn and feel justified in using this misunderstanding of others’ happiness as a basis for denying it.

It strikes me as quite ironic that people are so boisterously anti-gay-marriage only a few days after the 40th anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court case that legalized interracial marriage in this country. The parallels are remarkably obvious to all but the most bullheaded.

As seems to increasingly be the case lately, Penn & Teller make the most sense on this matter. It’s a pity not everybody gets Showtime, but fortunately for those who don’t, the show is available on DVD, and (obviously) highly recommended.

Comments (6)

6 Responses to “Family Values”:

  • I have found that there are two types of religious faithful, just as there are two types of political faithful. There’s the person who believes in the underlying concept (i.e., there is a god), and joins one religious group or another not because they wholeheartedly believe every word, but because that particular group most closely defines their personal beliefs. They’re religious moderates; folks who believe in God but don’t necessarily swallow the dogma whole. In a similar manner, there are political moderates who lean towards one party or the other, yet can see good and bad in both and may even vote a mixed ticket.

    On the other hand, there are religious zealots and there are political zealots. These folks mold their whole psyche around the core dogma of their religion or political party. They don’t recognize their beliefs as beliefs. Rather, they hold their beliefs as the only possible reality. Everything else is something other than reality. You know for a fact that tomorrow morning the sun will rise right on schedule. It is impossible for you or anyone else to believe otherwise, unless the world were coming to an end. And just as deeply, these religious zealots believe in every word of their particular rulebook, be it the Bible, the Koran, or the Torah. Accepting gay marriage or abortion is as impossible for them as you or I accepting that the sun will not, in fact, rise tomorrow. And despite their claims to the contrary, toleration is not within their capacity, for toleration means acknowledging and accepting that non-believers (or different believers) may have a moral right to their beliefs and the freedom to act as they feel is appropriate.

    And if you think about it, the religious right is not really trying to force us to believe as they do. They just want to deny us the right to act in non-accordance with their beliefs.

    I should also add here that opposition to gay marriage isn’t confined to religious circles. Certainly there are many folks who are non-religious who oppose gay marriage on other terms, be it homophobia or “patriotism” or what have you.

  • You make a good point, Mark, and of course it’s always the extremists and dogmatics who are the most dangerous in any arena, be it religious, political, or otherwise. However, the problem is that the “fundamental” belief structure that is most commonly attributed as the source of the types of protests I was referencing is one that is based on a perversion of their religion of choice. For example, the Bible actually has nothing to say on this particular topic, and yet the basis for their opposition to it is somehow still supposedly a derivative of their relgious beliefs. It’s the unfortunate confluence of outspoken extremists with the feeble-minded who are looking for somebody to tell them how to feel, wrapped in the guise of “morality.”

    I actually disagree with your last statement. While people will come up with all sorts of ways to characterize their opposition to things like same-sex marriage, I think it all is rooted at a basic level in religion, the only institution I know of that attempts to prescribe morality.

  • Well I’m not religious at all and I oppose gay marriage. It’s not really a stemmed political thing because I have beliefs from both sides. I just find homosexuality really odd; especially same gender-on-gender pornography / girl-on-girl action. As for society opposing marriage institutions, there’s always the
    “He’s 60 / she’s 21” /
    “She’s 30 / he’s 14” /
    “He’s Billy Bob Cousin / She’s Jilly Jo Cousin”, so it’s not just same-gender issues. I of course also oppose these types of marriages, and I don’t give a damn if it deprives them of their happiness or not. It’s just commonly sense wrong. Is it so bad that we have to draw lines in the sand? I wasn’t thrilled with the drinking age bring raised from 18 to 21, but I dealt with it.

    “Don’t marry your cousin!”
    “But she’s so attractive!!”

  • The basic fact is that there are 2 consenting adults who wish to be together, and it has nothing to do with whether you “give a damn” about their happiness or not–they are entitled to it as citizens of this country. Citizens who supposedly have all of the same rights that white-bread 20-year-old Bobby who wants to marry white-bread 20-year-old Peggy Sue has.

    Put more bluntly: Who the fuck are you to tell people what’s “wrong”?

  • Well the one example of the 30 year old woman / 14 year old guy is not two consenting adults. Are you suggesting the other instances are okay too?

    You don’t find it odd that a 60 year old man marries a 20 year old girl? Especially when the guy has a daughter roughly the same age? Do you ever wonder what they could possibly have in common? It seems more disturbing than anything. I just think those kinds of creepy situations should be frowned upon. There just has to be some screwed up psychological issues there.

  • Yeah, that’s why a 14-year-old cannot legally marry. They are not of a sufficient level of maturity to provide their consent, in the eyes of the law.

    I do think it’s sort of weird (or creepy) when an old guy marries a really young girl, but to each his own. It doesn’t affect me at all, so I don’t see how it should be any of my business what they do. If it makes them happy, more power to them. It’s not up to me to tell them how to live their lives.

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