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August 03, 2006

A Non-Rant about Gay Marriage

I'm not much of a ranter so Andy may have asked the wrong person to guest-blog here but I want to use this as an attempt to flesh out my thoughts about gay marriage. You'll probably find some things to disagree with and I would certainly appreciate your feedback in the comments.

Ever since this has been raised as an issue on the national level, I've been completely inconsistent in my views. Inititially believing it was a mistake to legalize it but as time went on, I realized that view was only because of the hard-to-admit bigotry born of "distaste." That's not a good enough reason and since I always try to be rational about my positions, I began to explore the arguments from both sides.

In short, based on civil rights, I simply cannot find a good argument against it. I can't remember where I read it, but someone said only one word should apply to your reasoning in this area and that's "Freedom." For some reason that did it for me. Why? This is a country founded on the very idea of freedom from an oppressive form of rule. That government should be free of religious influence, a rule of law that guarantees every man equal rights, and for man to live life in dignity without fear of undue government intrusion. I now believe banning gay marriage is an undue intrusion into preventing two people from enjoying the fullest benefits of our laws with dignity.

Let's take a look at some of the more popular arguments against gay marriage:

1) It's for the sake of our children! Nonsense, we are becoming a more and more tolerant and diverse society. I don't think children seeing two people of the same sex obviously in love with another is going to change their lifestyle. A nation of 300 million people and growing can deal with the few who want their union to be recognized legally. Heck, it might even help those young gay adults accept themselves without the feelings of shame and depression that sadly can lead to suicide or other destructive behavior.

2) It will lead to a worsening moral decay in our society! Granted, there are a lot of awful things about our culture that makes me cringe. However, once again, like #1, a truly tolerant populace will adjust accordingly.

3) You're trying to change the definition of marriage! Again, nonsense. There have always been varying degrees of marriage since the beginning of the "institution." See the outlawing of inter-racial marriages, forced marriages, child marriages, polygamy, etc. This is also part of the "slippery slope" argument but how difficult would it be to only legalize the union of two legal-age people? Also, frankly, the stupidity of some Republican senators to say allowing it might lead to marrying animals embarrasses me. I do fear the idea of a judge using gay marriage as a precedent in allowing more than two people to marry though.

4) As a religious person, the thought horrifies me! Fine, I'm not religious but I can certainly understand why you oppose it based on your beliefs. However, if you are truly conservative, you must act accordingly. That is, government should be free of religious influence and focus solely on the proper rule of law. Allowing two people of the same sex to get the same benefits under the law surely is not going to change your belief in God, is it?

5) What about states rights? Shouldn't the people themselves determine what they want? As a conservative, this would be ideal and as it is now, all states that have put it to a vote are banning gay marriage. This is where advocates have made their biggest mistake. By going to the courts first and not spending more time to educate people about how Freedom should also apply to them, they've managed to set back their agenda maybe for a generation. Waiting 10-15 years more until our younger, more tolerant people were in power would've been the better strategy. Instead, their "going around the people" and calling every one who opposes it a bigot has sadly backfired.

That about sums it up. I know there are more arguments against it, but for the purposes of not putting you fully to sleep, I picked these five. If you have another one to discuss, feel free to bring it up in the comments and I'll address it as best as I can. People can definitely have what they feel are genuine reasons for opposing gay marriage and that's fine. All I ask is for you to consider it without letting emotions guide your ultimate position. Once you let the initial "distaste" go, I think you might be surprised at your final conclusion.

Now, if I get too many of Andy's readers agreeing with me, I will next express my hateful views about the "woman's right-to-choose." :)

Posted by Blake at 12:41 PM