Monday, April 06, 2009

The Gay Marriage Opposition

Obviously the Iowa Supreme Court decision has resulted in a flurry of outrage, tantrums and the general gnashing of teeth. I decided to listen in order to get a handle on exactly what these people see as the problem.

Clearly, and apparently foremost, they appear to be upset over secular society recognizing as acceptable something that their religion describes as detestable (NIV) or an abomination (KJV). They actually translate this acceptance into an attack upon their freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

I’m having a hard time accepting that one. Granted the acceptance of homosexuality carries with it an inference (and in the California Supreme Court decision more than an inference) that you are being bigoted if you criticize or condemn it.

And? I’m missing the problem here. No one is pushing for laws against condemning it. Feel free to attack it from the pulpit, or the congregation, if your religion says it’s an immoral perversion. You can even attack racial integration and/or the end of slavery in the same sermon if you think that Genesis 9:26-27 dictates one, the other, or both.

This is the old insistence of Christians that not only must I allow them their moral viewpoint, I must also extend to that moral viewpoint an acceptance that it is the right moral viewpoint. Somehow if I disagree, that gets translated into persecution.

WRONG! The last time I looked, I was entitled to my own opinion. Feel free to view homosexuality as a sinful perversion. Feel free to continue to condemn it. Feel free to try and convince gays that they should either subject themselves to Conversion Therapy, in order to become straight, or else remain celibate.

Of course don’t be surprised if gays continue to take offense at these pronouncements.

Here’s the bottom line, even if society’s acceptance of homosexuality and gay marriage was an intrusion upon your freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and I maintain it isn’t, it would still be the right thing because YOUR RIGHTS END WHERE SOMEONE ELSE’S BEGIN.

The single most fundamental right in a democracy, or for that matter any civilized society, is the recognition that everyone is equal under the law. We’re a long ways from that ideal. Money and racism still appear to influence our legal system but that’s a matter of practicality that we need to work on.

But before you can work on it, you have to accept the basic principle that everyone should be equal under the law. This is the foundation upon which the common law is built; it is a prerequisite for the administration of justice and it is expressly guaranteed to all citizens of the United States by the 14th Amendment.

Now, equality under the law does not mean unrestricted equality. It doesn’t mean everyone should have an equal amount of money, equal possessions, equal fame, equal prestige or an equally attractive spouse.

There is a difference between the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and stuff that you get either as an accident of birth, luck or sheer hard work and perseverance.

So, the question becomes where does marriage fit in? Is it a privilege reserved to those of us lucky enough to be born heterosexual or is a subset of the unalienable right of the pursuit of happiness?

Beyond the “my religion says it’s a bad thing” argument there are some secondary arguments related to public health issues which appear to be related to some homosexual lifestyles and a general revulsion of homosexual practices, especially male on male practices.

As far as the public health issues, if any, I don’t know enough to comment but I sort of suspect that, assuming they do exist, acceptance of gays in general would go a long ways toward eliminating many, if not all, of those problematic lifestyles.

As for the revulsion aspect, hey, I’m as squeamish about that as anyone but I’m also squeamish about some stuff that heterosexual couples (groups?) supposedly engage in. I’d really rather not know what people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms. Besides, it’s really not anyone else’s business.

So I listened, but I still didn’t find any valid argument against gay marriage. I’m sorry but “my religion says it’s a bad thing,” “it may be bad for you” and “I find what you do disgusting” are not valid reasons for relegating some folks to the status of second class citizens. It just doesn’t strike me as fair.

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