… and what is wrong with it.

Gay marriage is such a hot issue right now. Those that are for it scream for equality and justice. They want to be seen as equals in a society where they are expected to contribute equally in taxes and laws. Those that are against it fear for the end of civilization as we know it. I hear so many arguments against gay marriage. Here are my problems with some of them.

1. “It’s unnatural”– If you mean that there are no examples in nature then you should look at penguins, dolphins, albatross etc. Animals have all kinds of same sex relationships. In fact, over 450 species practice some sort of same sex activity. (NY Times)

If you mean they can’t reproduce then you are correct. However, we don’t outlaw marriage for the elderly and infertile. We also have not outlawed birth control. Natural procreation is only one of hundreds of  possible valid reasons to get married. There is nothing unnatural about desiring marriage for the sake of love, commitment and companionship.

2. “It goes against my religion” – That may very well be true. No one is asking you to change your religious beliefs. The beautiful thing about this country is that we have freedom to practice any belief system we see fit. We do not have a State church. Anyone, religious or non-religious, should be very appreciative of that. Christianity alone has so many denominations and there are extreme differences even between them. You are free to choose, not only your specific religion, but how when and where you practice it. The minute the government starts making laws based on one religion it puts all religious freedoms at risk.

3. “But… but… Sodom and Gomorrah!”– First of all, this is again, based on a specific religion and so shouldn’t have an influence on legislation. If however you’re afraid that our country will be destroyed in fire and brimstone or that you’ll be turned into a pillar of salt as a result then you’ll have to get in line. Spain, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Portugal, Netherlands, Iceland, Canada and South Africa all have laws allowing gay marriage or domestic partnerships. If these countries start getting systematically destroyed by bizarre acts of nature we’ll have plenty of time to reevaluate our stance on things.

And if you really want to get theological about it, the perverts in Sodom and Gomorrah wanted to rape the angels that came to visit Lot.* Rape is a disgusting and abhorrent act. It could be argued that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed, not for being cities full of people in loving, monogamous, same sex relationships, but rather because they were cities full of murderers and rapists. Plus, when God wanted to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah He said that if there were even 10 righteous men He would spare it. I certainly hope we could muster up that many righteous people in the event of imminent destruction. (Genesis 18 and 19)

4. “Marriage has always been this way.”- Marriage has actually changed drastically and often throughout history. Marriages used to be a simple property exchange. The man owned the women in order for her to produce heirs and do household tasks. Marriage used to involve one man and as many women as he could afford to keep. This was again to ensure he had as many heirs as physically possible. We have since changed the laws and marriage is now only recognized in most areas of the US as between two people.

Another very recent change to marriage is legalization of interracial marriage. As few as 45 years ago, interracial marriage was as illegal and feared as gay marriage is today. Opponents used the same arguments, that is was not biblical and that it was unnatural. They were afraid that it would produce mentally handicapped and damaged offspring. As a proud aunt of beautiful and brilliant interracial children the very idea that 50 years ago they wouldn’t have been allowed to see their mom and dad married sickens me. As a proud daughter-in-law of a highly intelligent and loving gay man I feel the same way for him. Sick.

Until relatively recently in history women and black people were seen as property. Should we go back to that because it’s the way it’s always been? Of course not! History is not the standard by which we set our values, attempting to mirror it as closely as possible. Instead, history is something we should examine carefully and learn from. We should be taking the good and rejecting the bad so that we can grow into a more ideal society.

I think it’s time to take a hard, honest look at the motivation behind these and any other arguments. They are all based on fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of loss of power. We have many examples of healthy, normal societies where gay marriage is nothing more than another normal relationship. These societies have yet to fall apart as a result.

Put yourself in their place. Would you not be devastated if your marriage was illegal? Would you not fight with every breath to see that changed? I know I would. I would also fight with every breath if my sister and brother-in-law could not be married just like I am fighting now for my father-in-law to be able to marry someone he loves.

Gay people aren’t looking to make your life harder. They’re not looking to affect your personal life at all.  All they want are the same rights and privileges that you enjoy. They don’t want any special treatment, they just want equal treatment. Isn’t that what the United States is all about?

*Yeah I know my Biblical characters. What?