Monday, April 1, 2013

Stop Arguing Love

Stop arguing about love. Quit with the red and pink equal sign avatars to support “romantic equality.” Love means nothing to the law. The United States Supreme Court doesn’t give two hoots two people being in love. You want to be in love? Be in love. Ain’t nobody stopping you from falling in love. It doesn’t take a judicial rubberstamp to be in love. No one needs to be in love to get married. There’s no checkbox on the marriage license application: Are you in love with this person: Yes or No? There’s no test to prove your love in order to qualify for a marriage license. When was the last time you bought flowers? How many times do you say, “I love you,” every day? None of that. You don’t even have to know each other! All you have to do is be a citizen, be competent to enter into a contract, file the paperwork, pay the fee, and sign on the dotted line. Boom, done, married.

 

If you are in love, go ahead, throw a party, exchange rings, say your vows, and announce to the entire world you’re in love and want to share the rest of your life with this person. You can even say you’re married. Shout it from the rooftops. I’m married to my same-sex partner! Be married. Buy a house together. Make a life together. No one is stopping you. The police aren’t going to arrest you. Marriage in the romantic sense – the part where you commit to love and cherish each other ‘til death do you part (or until you change your mind) – doesn’t require government approval. The two of you can make that promise to each other without involving anyone else, but good luck turning those romantic promises into a legally-enforceable marriage without the government’s approval.

 

In the eyes of the law, marriage is a contract formed between two consenting adults (of opposite gender). The contract is an exchange of promises. The couple promises to take care of each other and any children resulting from the marriage (even if the marriage terminates, responsibility for minor children continues). Taking care of each other includes being a defacto guardian in the event one spouse becomes temporarily or permanently unable to make decisions on their own behalf; it also includes sharing financial assets and being mutually responsible for each spouse’s individual financial decisions, as well as being financially responsible for supporting the children. The couple also promises fidelity to each other. Love is presumed, but it’s not mandated. So stop arguing love because it has nothing to do with the legal fundamentals of a marriage contract.

 

The question is not why should same-sex marriage be legal? The question is why should same-sex marriage be illegal? Americans don’t answer to our government. Our government answers to us. The government is required to prove to us why a particular activity is so dangerous to the general welfare of the entire nation that we should limit its practice. When President Clinton passed the Defense of Marriage Act, the American people were asleep at the wheel. Everyone thought, “I’m not gay, so this really doesn’t apply to me” or, “God says being gay is immoral and it should be illegal.” Neither of these are proper justifications for a government restriction of same-sex marriage.

 

Though Christianity may be the majority religion in the United States of America, we are governed by the Constitution and not The Holy Bible. Everyone who is against homosexuality and/or same-sex marriage because that’s what they learned in church needs to reread the Doctrine of Separation of Church and State. It means the government is prohibited from enforcing religious teachings as law. Freedom of religion means the right to practice your religion peacefully and without undue government restriction. To all the people who think they don’t need to be concerned with same-sex marriage because they aren’t gay and don’t care, I got news for you. Complacency is the first step to catastrophe. When the government comes looking for the rights you hold dear, you’ll wish your neighbors gave a damn.

 

Look, I’m not trying to be a fear-monger, but the government is filled with stupid yet amazingly talented power-hungry jerks that are really good at creating their own necessity. We need to be ever-vigilant in protecting our rights and the rights of our neighbors, otherwise they will erode over time and our children and grandchildren will learn about freedom in the history books.

 

In the spirit of keeping the government at bay, I demand a showing of proof that same-sex marriage is a threat to the general welfare of the nation. I demand a showing of proof that same-sex marriage endangers the children of same-sex couples. I demand a showing of proof that same-sex marriage puts society’s most vulnerable members at a heighted risk of abuse and manipulation. I demand a showing of proof that same-sex marriage unduly jeopardizes the safety of either spouse. “Because God says so” is not a showing of proof the government recognizes.

 

Stop arguing religion. Your God does not govern the United States of America. Religion is irrelevant to lawmaking. If anything, by continuing to argue Christianity’s prohibition of homosexuality as the justification for the government’s prohibition of same-sex marriage, you’re turning the government into an enforcer of your religious teachings, i.e. the law will be automatically disqualified by the Supreme Court. Practice your religion. Uphold the teachings of your religion. Share the teachings of your religion. Protest homosexuality if your religion dictates that it’s immoral. Shout from the rooftop that you hate homosexuals. You have a qualified right to verbalize your opinion. No one is stopping you. No one is going to arrest you. Why? Because you live in the United States of America and we protect your right to peacefully practice and promote your religion even when we think you’re a bigoted asshole. This is a sacred value to us, one that we found to be so essential to the human existence that we left our homeland, took a long boat ride into the unknown, and established an entirely new country to promote religious tolerance after a particularly bloody war with our former fathers. Freedom of religion. Freedom of speech. Freedom of the press. Freedom to petition and assembly. Freedom of association. Freedom is the foundation of this great nation of ours.


If someone can show me proof that legalizing same-sex marriage would have adverse consequences for the general welfare of the nation that are so significant that the least harmful course of action would be to limit the basic civil liberties of an entire class of persons, and/or that legalizing same-sex marriage would cause harm to specific classes of individuals whom the government has a duty to protect, then I will reconsider my stance that same-sex marriage should be legal. Until then, same-sex marriage should be legal because there is no government-recognized reason for it not to be.

9 comments:

  1. Here's the problem with your position. Not that Christianity should be made the law of the land and forbid gay marriage, but that if gay marriage becomes law then it is incompatible with the Constitutional right to the free exercise of religion. For example: A Methodist church in New Jersey was sued for not offering its facility for use during same-sex weddings. A judge ruled against the church.

    Read this: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/03/26/gay-marriage-religious-freedom-are-incompatible/

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  2. I'm surprised the church was required to offer its facility for same-sex weddings. This makes me wonder what else was at issue in the case. Compelling a church to perform services that are in direct opposition to its religious teachings goes against freedom of religion. I suspect there's alot more to this case than what FoxNews is reporting. That point aside, we permit pharmacists to refuse to sell contraception and we permit physicians to refuse to perform abortions for religious reasons. However, both of those acts are specifically condemned by various religions. As far as I know, taking photographs isn't prohibited by any religion, neither is printing t-shirts or providing room and board. To what extent should we prioritize the right of a business owner engaged in a non-religiously sensitive business practice to cite religion as a reason for denying service to a protected class of individuals? I think this question has been answered a thousand times over - businesses are prohibited from engaging in discriminatory practices. You take your customers as they come. Businesses have the right to refuse to work with a specific customer, but the reason for the refusal can't be discriminatory.

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  3. The judgement had nothing to do with same-sex weddings - which were illegal in NJ. It was for plain discrimination. The church were claiming tax breaks on the basis that it was a public space with equal access. Once they stopped claiming the tax breaks, they no longer had to do that.

    There's more on the case here:
    http://equalitymatters.org/factcheck/201210100001#reality4

    But in fact all of the examples in that Fox article have been debunked:
    http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/03/28/fox-news-fails-to-prove-that-marriage-equality/193325

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  4. Anna, great blog. Just to be clear, not all Christians are homophobic. Not all Christians are against gay marriage. We all know by now that extremists can interpret any book, even the Bible, to say what they want it to say. Jesus' message is the same as yours, love. If Jesus was hetero or bi or gay, that does not change his message. He died at the age of 33, still unmarried. For a person from that culture at that time, it may well say something about his sexuality.

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    1. I'm not religious, but I do wish more Christians would emphasize the message of Jesus Christ, which is one I don't think you need to be a believer to follow. Love, forgiveness, and acceptance. We could all benefit from trying to live this way. I'm exhausted with the messages of intolerance, hate, and threats of eternal damnation. I don't think it's representative of Christianity, just ashame it's being portrayed that way because of the protests and the only people who seem to be out there protesting against homosexuality and same-sex marriage are religious zealots.

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  5. [i]Everyone who is against homosexuality and/or same-sex marriage because that’s what they learned in church needs to reread the Doctrine of Separation of Church and State. It means the government is prohibited from enforcing religious teachings as law.[/i]

    There are a lot of problems with that. First, the concept of the separation of church and state - in short - means that the federal government cannot adopt a national religion. Second, plenty of religious teachings are law (see murder, incest, theft).

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  6. Why is the government involved in marriage at all? I know they originally wanted to encourage child rearing, but is that their business? I would prefer that the religious construct of marriage be left to the church and all arrangements with a justice of the peace be classified as civil unions. I realize it would cause the legislators to do less and dismantle things. That so goes against their natural impulses.

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  7. I agree with Bob59, why is the government involved at all? Why do married people get different tax benefits?
    I would classify myself as a conservative Christian. I how every don't understand why Christians get so upset about gay marriage. To me and my beliefs marriage is a Godly institution between a man and a women. No man or government can mandate who is and isn't married, since ultimately it's a three way relationship between man, woman and God. That being said if some guy wants to hook up with another guy and call himself married, I have no problems with that since they are just using marriage as a label that has a different definition from mine.

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