Gay marriage is the big cultural issue of 2004 — and everyone’s got it wrong.
Since Valentine’s Day (a holiday wasted on the foolish), more than 4,000 gay couples have devoted their lives to each other in holy matrimony in San Francisco, New Mexico, New York and now Oregon.
The debate is not about the sanctity of marriage. Despite what the religious right tells us, allowing gays to get married is not going to destroy the institution of marriage. And, despite what the gay lobby tells us, their battle is about more than gaining legal recognition from the state — and it has very little to do with civil rights.
First, the argument that sending gay couples down the aisle will ruin the “institution of marriage” in this country is laughable. Gay people cannot do more to harm marriage than straight people already have. Depending on the data source, somewhere between 47 and 50 percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. That’s half of all couples who have committed themselves to each other for life calling it quits.
Before Pat Robertson & Co. start preaching about the ways homosexuals will tear down the sanctity of marriage, they need to start cleaning the straight house. It’s ironic really, for the self-proclaimed leaders of the segment of society that has ripped marriage to shreds and thrown it down the garbage disposal to suggest anything else could ruin the institution of marriage.
The debate is not about our rights. It’s a little unclear where everyone has the right to marry in the Constitution (then again, the right to privacy isn’t there either). There are many things in this country that are legally recognized that we don’t have “rights” to — rather, we must meet the qualifications. You can’t drive unless you’re of a certain age and you can actually see the road. You can’t vote until you’re 18. You can’t apply for student loans unless you are actually a student. And, you also can’t marry unless you wed someone of the opposite sex.
Though the gay lobby likens its cause to the Civil Rights Movement, barring same-sex couples from the altar isn’t a civil-rights issue. Gays are defined by their lifestyle, not by their race or their genetics. In fact, when the U.S. Supreme Court voided the ban on interracial marriage in 1972, it specifically upheld the ban on same-sex marriage.
The debate is not about the definition of marriage. The judges who upheld the same-sex ban did so not because they were bigotted, or even because they hated gays — they upheld the ban because marriage, by definition, is between a man and a woman. People may argue that our definition of marriage is rooted in Judeo-Christian beliefs, and should be thrown off.
But our definition of marriage is really rooted in nature. It is based on the ability of men and women to procreate — to have children. Not to brag, but that’s something gay people are not naturally able to do.
Of course, the next line from the gay crowd is that marriage is NOT about children, but it is about a personal committment. If that’s the case, then what are we doing with laws that ban brothers and sisters from marrying, or mothers and sons? They haven’t been allowed to receive marriage licenses because their children would have birth defects. But, since marriage is not about creating children or raising a family — who cares?
Or what about polygomy laws? If it’s discriminatory to bar gays from marrying, isn’t it also discriminitory to prevent men from taking second or third wives.
The gay marriage debate is about recognition.
Those in the homosexual community want the government to not only give them the priviledges that go along with marriage, but to recognize their lifestyle as normal. That’s evidenced by their outright rejection of civil unions, and their stampede to break current law — their demand to be married.
The religious right, on the other hand, wants the government to continue to recognize heterosexuality as the preferred lifestyle for raising children and families and to reject homosexuality as acceptable.
So it’s a battle of wills over who gets to be called “normal.” If the government is in the business of giving lifestyles such labels, we should let nature decide.
But really, at its core, marriage should be handled by churches, and the government should stop recognizing any kind of union. That would eliminate the need for this gay-straight pissing match, and would take the wind out of the election-year sails — but we’ll be landing men on Mars long before it ever happens.