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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Thirty Days of Truth, Day 18

Day 18: Your views on gay marriage
Warning: this is a bit of rant. I apologize in advance!

To do this military style... here's the BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front): My stance on gay marriage is that there's no reason why they shouldn't have all of the legal benefits of marriage that straight couples have, but the church part needs to be left up to the church. Separation of church and state and all that.

Now, the long explanation of the above. The rant portion, if you will.

There are two different aspects to marriage that people seem to want to mix into one. You can't just walk into a church and get married without doing the legal bits. Most churches are able to do those for you - its a nice little arrangement states have made with them (and I'm not against taking them out and separating them entirely- maybe that would help folks understand better that church and legal marriage are not the same thing). Without the legal bits, its just a symbolic church wedding and not a legally recognized one. You need that license and whatnot to be able to get the benefits, change your driver's license, and all those other fun things you do after you get married. In my mind, there is ZERO reason why a gay couple shouldn't be able to do all the legal bits. I have not heard a single argument against gay marriage that doesn't come down to something religious, and the US doesn't legislate religion, therefore the US shouldn't legislate legal marriage.

The church part is a little different. I can understand why churches that do not believe in homosexuality don't want to perform homosexual marriages. And the whole part where we don't legislate religion, I think it applies here too. I was raised Catholic, so I'll speak of what I know.  The Catholic church can refuse to marry a couple where one person is not Catholic unless they complete a whole bunch of counseling and promise to raise children Catholic and I'm sure, in some parishes, there are even more reasons. The Mormons won't even let you in to the Temple for the wedding if you're not Mormon, much less let someone get married in there who isn't. And nobody is making huge public outcries over these conditions - they're pretty well accepted. And I think you'd be hard pressed to find a case where two Satanists went to a Baptist Church wanting to get married, much less filed a lawsuit when the Baptists wouldn't do it. 

Gay marriage advocates have compared the fight for gay marriage rights to the fight for interracial marriage rights. I agree with them on the legal stance - its a very similar fight. However, for the most part, there was not the religious intolerance of interracial marriage for nearly as long as there was the legal intolerance - when the anti-miscegination laws were finally struck down in the US, most of the major denominations in this country were already willing to perform interracial marriages, and in some cases actually were doing so. The interracial marriage advocates had the support of religion, for the most part. The gay marriage advocates do not.

The first Americans left England to escape exactly what the religious right / conservative christians  / anti-gay marriage / call them what you will are trying to advocate for. They were persecuted for their beliefs by a government that let the Church make the rules. The Freedom of Religion granted all Americans by the Constitution means that no religion gets to make the rules. So why are they trying so hard, and, even more concerning, why are we letting them? If two people love each other and want to be legally bound, why are we stopping them? A healthy, loving, committed relationship is never a bad thing. Of all of my friends who have gotten married over the years, a large majority are no longer together. When I think about strong marriages among my friends, the one that comes to mind, first and foremost, is my friend from the Day 3 post, who was married to his husband in Canada 6 or 7 years ago (I think? Can't remember for sure, but re-read the post, we haven't been that close for a while) and have been together for 10. Why can't their marriage be recognized legally no matter where they go in the US? I'd rather see them get that recognition and benefits than half of the straight marriages I see on a regular basis!! The fact that this group of Americans is fighting so hard for something that so many take for granted and take less than seriously should mean something - why not let them have the same option?

Sigh... I get worked up over this.  Give me a good, solid argument against gay marriage that is not at all based on religion, and we can have a real debate. But I have yet to hear one. And that just reinforces my frustration with politics in this country.

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