If you are in a real hurry you can just read the first paragraph and skip the rest of this essay. The question is should gay marriage be legal. The answer is, it’s a no-brainer, yes.
While many among us may find the concept unusual and/or uncomfortable that should not be confused with whether it should be legal. I remember the first time I saw two young ladies walking down a street holding hands and openly displaying affection for each other. I have to admit I took notice. It was different. But the world didn’t end because of what happened on that Boston street that day. The Red Sox have even won a World Series since then. Being a Rays fan, the latter disturbs me, the former does not, but both got my attention because they are not everyday occurrences.
Future generations will look back at this discussion and wonder why it even occurred. It is similar to the way my generation looks at Women’s Suffrage. My contemporaries and I cannot imagine denying the vote to women. As late as the 1960’s interracial marriage was illegal in 1/3 of the states. Again, something other than the norm but why would it be illegal?
Defense of marriage
D.O.M.A., (Defense of Marriage Act), legislation is all the rage with the extreme right wing. I have a simple question: who is attacking it? If the two gay guys down the street are married versus living together how does that threaten my marriage? If your greatest worry is that your spouse will leave you to marry someone of their same gender you have either had the misfortune to marry someone who was confused as to their sexual preference or you have been watching too much of the Jerry Springer Show.
This is a point where I break from the current “party line”. I think civil unions are inadequate. We may have to, and arguably currently do, accept civil unions as a “bridge”. Gay marriage is the only eventual outcome. I have the fortune to not hold, be seeking or intend to seek elected office. Therefore I can take a bolder stand than many others. I sincerely feel that the support of gay marriage will be in the platform of most Democratic office seekers in the near future.
Civil unions are the equivalent of separate but equal. That didn’t work and neither will civil unions. My primary example is the coverage of a significant other under our employment-based health care system. If you are married almost every plan will cover your spouse. In most cases the insurance carrier, (who is most often just the administrator of the plan for the employer), would cover the significant other. However, the employer, (who dictates the guidelines under which the plans is administered), may very well play games with the use of the word “spouse” in effect limiting coverage to married significant others not significant others under civil unions.
Why would an employer do this? Two reasons come to mind, financial and moral values. Noticed I listed financial first. That is because I feel it will be the greater motivating factor. Insuring less people costs less money. Since gays are a small minority group that is used to facing hardship and discrimination, the disadvantage of making it harder to recruit talent from the gay community is more often than not offset by the financial savings. Furthermore, if the business the employer is competing against to recruit said talent has similar policies the negative factor is neutralized. There will also be a portion of employers who feel homosexuality is immoral and will be making a moral judgment. Do they wash their hands after they receive payment from gay customers for the goods or service they sell?
Those who want to oppose the spirit of civil union legislation will exploit countless other loopholes. That will leave the people we are trying to protect still exposed to discrimination.
Perhaps the only argument against gay marriage that approaches making sense is that it would force religions to marry people against the very teachings of said religion. This is simply an inaccurate twisting of the facts. Gay marriage would be recognized and administered by the government. It would be up to the individual religion to decide if it wanted to marry gay couples within its walls, recognize the marriage or allow continued membership in the religion. The local judge would be required to marry you but the local priest would not.
Religious freedom is one of the great values upon which this country is built. The state simply cannot legislate religious values. What recognition of gay marriage or sanction against gay marriage a religion decided to impose would solely be the business of that religion.
Look at who is talking
The spokespersons in defense of traditional marriage and family values are an interesting lot. We have the oft involved in colorful divorces tag team of Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani. Having them be the poster boys for marriage is like having a career criminal be the poster boy for staying out of jail.
Of course their hero is Ronald Reagan. The twice-married Ronald Reagan. Reagan second marriage took place on March 4, 1952 the first child of that union was born on October 21, 1952. You do the math.
Then we have Rush Limbaugh. The Rush Limbaugh of multiple divorces. He has been quoted as saying, “Marriage is about raising children. That’s the purpose of the institution.” After multiple marriages Rush is childless. Also from the world of alleged media we have Glenn Beck. The divorced Glen Beck. I’ll cut him some slack – he may not have been sober long enough to remember his marriage in the first place.
Ann Coulter has been engaged several times but never married. Seems a bit odd. I’m sure Ann would have a snappy comeback to answer that. Like most of what she says it might not be accurate but it would get your attention. One good thing about Ann she is always available to tell us what we should be thinking and doing.
The “leading organization” in opposition to same-sex marriage is the National Organization for Marriage. Its President is Maggie Gallagher who for a long time took pride in describing herself as a single mother. She is currently married however boasting about being a single mother seems to lack synergy with the ultra-conservative view of traditional marriage.
Having this collection leading your defense of traditional marriage is like having Nolan Ryan lead a movement to take the strikeout out of baseball. For you non-baseball fans, Nolan Ryan had 5,714 strikeouts in his Hall of Fame career. The nearest career total is Randy Johnson’s who is nearly 1,000 short of Nolan Ryan. I may not be the role model for your teenager but I don’t hold myself out as a paragon of moral virtue either. What the radical right wing of the Republican Party has failed to learn is that while Americans are very forgiving they also dislike hypocrites.
I could continue on and discredit the opposition but why? In the interest of full disclosure I do not have a horse in this race. The outcome is not in doubt. Gay marriage will be the law of the land. The demographic trends favor it. It is just a matter of when and exactly how.
This essay is the property of tellthetruthonthem.com and its content may not be used without citing the source. It may not be reproduced without the permission of Larry Marciniak. Its original date is listed at its conclusion.