3.28.2013

Gay Marriage: I Don't Get It.


(This post was originally run May, 2012. With the Supreme Court reviewing the topic of gay marriage this week I thought it was appropriate to repost.)

I consider myself a smart guy.

I actively seek understanding and knowledge, and to that end, I read (a lot). I ask a lot of questions. I talk to a lot of people. I watch videos. I listen to talks. I try to pay attention to as much around me as I possibly can. And I feel like I do a pretty fair job of accumulating data, parsing it and drawing at least somewhat educated conclusions about things.

But I have to come clean: There's one thing I just plain cannot understand, and that's why anyone gives a shit about gay people getting married.

Why is this a thing? Why does it matter? It makes NO sense to me whatsoever.

Two men or two women decide to tie the knot. What happens? Why are religious people and Republicans (usually one in the same) so up in arms about it?

To try to wrap my head around it, I've analyzed it step by step and see what effect it has on you (or anyone who isn't them).

1) They love each other. They have found another person on this planet -- a planet housing nearly 7 billion (that's 7,000,000,000) people -- that they not only get along with, that they not only feel emotions toward, that they not only share a bond with, but that they feel safe around and unified with. They love each other. Just like you love your spouse, fiancee, or significant other.
Who does this affect? Their friends, who are happy for them. Their family, who (we hope) support them.
Does this impact your daily life? No.
What should you do about it? Mind your own fucking business.

2) They exchange vows. They promise to love, honor, protect and support one another.
Who does this affect? The caterer, the event planner, the hosts, and the attendees.
Does this impact your daily life? No.
What should you do about it? Mind your own fucking business.

3) They hand each other rings. They place a band of metal (or string or what have you) on each others' hands as an external symbol that they are in a monogamous relationship with another person.
Who does this affect? The jeweler. They've made a little money.
Does this impact your daily life? Well, are you the jeweler? No? Then no.
What should you do about it? Mind your own fucking business.

4) They consummate the marriage. However they see fit.
Who does this affect? Unless they're particularly loud about it and you're in the next room, no one except them.
Does this impact your daily life? It shouldn't. If it does, you're overly concerned about the private lives of other people and seriously, seriously, SERIOUSLY need a hobby that isn't counting rosary.
What should you do about it? Mind your own fucking business.

5) They live together. They decorate their home. They watch television or listen to the radio or knit or play video games. They cook food. They eat. 
Who does this affect? Retail outlets in the community who benefit from increased domestic goods sales (because, let's face it, couples consume more than individuals in just about every regard).
Does this impact your daily life? If you work at a retail outlet where they shop, sure. 
What should you do about it? Mind your own fucking business.

6) They share benefits. House, insurance, 401k, cars. Just like a man and a woman would.
Who does this affect? No one that isn't already affected by the union of a man and a woman.
Does this impact your daily life? Are you impacted by marriage by a man and a woman in the same way? Then yes, and you should seek to abolish all marriage. Otherwise, no.
What should you do about it? Mind your own fucking business.

None of this computes for me. So I have tried to fall back on my early "churchgoing" life (which is code for "My parents dragged me somewhere I didn't want to be for two hours every Sunday, except when they didn't feel like going"). And in this attempt to understand based on past recollection and current explanation from my religious friends, it boils down to the following:

"The Bible says homosexuality is a sin. The Bible is the word of God. We are God's adherents. We must honor and respect the word of God. This means we stand against the union of people of the same gender."

I will share here a link to a fantastic resource which lists, with excruciating detail and research, the contradictions and fallacies in the Bible. The word of the almighty, the perfect, the all-knowing... Filled with contradictions. But ignore the actual facts for a minute.

These points are from a rather fantastic response to Dr. Laura, an openly Christian Orthodox Jewish (corrected, sorry) "therapist" with a nationally syndicated radio show who routinely quotes scripture to help callers with problems. They highlight quite a number of issues that "God's word" speaks against, and yet in our modern society, we've found ways around:


  • When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord (Lev. 1:9). The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. How should I deal with this? 
  • I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as it suggests in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
  • I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness (Lev. 15:19-24). The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
  • Lev. 25:44 states that I may buy slaves from the nations that are around us. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans but not Canadians. Can you clarify?
  • I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?
  • A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 10:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?
  • Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?



And here's Dan Savage's take on the matter, which I implore you, regardless of your religious beliefs, to watch -- if for no other reason than to take in data on the other side of the argument and actually have some information to form your points:





So yes, I don't get it. I don't get the hypocrisy, I don't get the insistence on putting your morals on other peoples' daily existence, I don't understand how beliefs -- which by nature belong solely to you and pertain only to whats in your mind, regardless of who else could relate to them -- can manifest themselves in actions against other people's lives WHICH DON'T IMPACT YOU WHATSOEVER.
I don't get it. Please, explain it to me. Give me a reason that doesn't start with "my beliefs" or "the Bible says" because neither of those things matter when it comes to the daily lives of people. Give me reasons. Give me plausible, fact-based logical reasons why homosexuals shouldn't be allowed to bond themselves in legal union and share their lives. 
Just one. I beg of you. Because of all the stupidity in the world, even the stuff I cannot relate to one bit, this is one thing I simply cannot get my head around.