I never really thought I needed to take a clear stance on this on my blog because I assumed that anyone reading my stories would intuitively know where I stood on the subject. It seems I was wrong. I received an email asking me to clearly state my position, so here it is:
If you recognize someone as a citizen of your country, if you allow them to vote and you tax them, then you must allow them to marry, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Not to do this is to create / perpetuate an underclass of people who are not quite fully citizens. It is ethically wrong and it is dangerous. That is my intellectual position on the subject.
My emotional position is a little different. I simply cannot grasp why anyone would object to marriage between two people who love each other and want to make a lifetime and formal commitment to that relationship. This isn’t a position I came to after thought. I grew up surrounded by people of different races, cultures and sexual orientations. Had I taken my parents as the primary model for my view on marriage, I would believe it should be banned altogether, for anyone. My models of loving relationships were, primarily, non-straight ones. I think people have the right to be married. And I can’t really, emotionally, conceive of why anyone would object to that.
I have watched people who are against same sex marriage use the bible as the basis on which they object to it. And I have watched people who support same-sex marriage try to appeal to the opposition’s logic, using the same book. This doesn’t work.
I’d like to openly state, upfront, that I don’t believe the bible – old or new testament – is anything other than book. Admittedly, it has been the most influential book in history to the Western world. I don’t dispute its influence. But I not only dispute, but I refuse to accept that it is in any way ‘Holy’.
It’s a very long book, taken altogether. I have read all of it once and some of it a number of times. It has a fair number of internal inconsistencies. Something that might be expected of any aggregated text. Considering how large a text it is, it contains very few mentions of same-sex relations. There are, all told, six. Some are vague, some are not condemnations at all, and two are clearly hostile to it. Lesbians get off much easier. They’re not mentioned at all in the old testament and only once in the new. The BBC has a really good chart of the mentions and their various interpretations: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/3205727.stm
There are many more condemnatory prohibitions on other subjects. Adulterers, for instance, should be stoned. People who wear linen and wool together are terrible, too. People shouldn’t eat milk and meat together either.They shouldn’t work on the Sabbath – whatever day you happen to think that is.
Using the bible as the primary argument for why people of the same sex should not be married is not a logical choice. They are choosing to quote a few, highly suspect passages, because it is THEIR ONLY defense for why people of the same sex should not be married. Think about how ridiculous it would seem if they were using the same argument for why people who wear a mix of cotton and wool should be shunned? It is my belief that the ferocity with which biblical passages are used to argue against same-sex marriages says very little about the rightness or wrongness of that marriage and a great deal about the underlying homophobia of the people making the argument. I think they simply hate gays and lesbians and they will do anything in their power to make GBLT people’s lives miserable.
They consistently insist that allowing same sex marriages threatens the institution of marriage as a whole. They never offer any reasons why this might be the case. They can’t. It doesn’t make sense. How does someone else’s happy marriage threaten your own? It can’t. In fact, quite the opposite. The more happy, loving and successful marriages there are, the more good models children will have to call on for their own relationships in the future. Before parental prejudices get passed on, children are absolutely neutral about what constitutes a good, safe and healthy family.
Arguing with same-sex marriage prohibitionists by trying to confront them with the bible’s own inconsistencies, or pointing out that the concept ‘marriage’ in the bible doesn’t look anything like what we consider ‘marriage’ today, is not only a waste of time.
It validates their only weapon. They cannot argue that same-sex marriage leads to social instability, or worse conditions for the general population, or endangers children. Because societies that DO allow same-sex marriages seem to have higher documented levels of stability, health, and child-friendliness than their own. The very few passages in the bible that condemn it outright are their only argument. It is an unethical, inhumane and fundamentally flawed argument. And the arguments for same sex marriage vastly outweigh them.
I am absolutely pro same-sex marriage, adoption of children within same sex unions, and propose that there are simply no good reasons at all not to afford same sex couples every right afforded to straight couples, period. And I have no reservations in saying so.
Are we good?