Thursday, July 21, 2011

A simple issue made complicated

I was reading an article in the NY Times today that was asking New York kids what they thought about the legalization of gay marriage, and it got me to thinking that I haven't talked about this issue once since starting my blog.
I guess the reason I haven't addressed the issue is because I don't see there being much of an argument, since it's a simple civil rights issue. However, the fact that there have been some major changes that have been made in the last few years is worth taking note of.
First off, I must say that after reading the article I'm incredibly heartened by the fact that [it seems] as we move forward generations, we're exposed to more and more, and therefore are more open to difference and change, and kids actually embrace said change. Although, I think I would be remiss if I did not mention that kids in New York City are obviously going to be exposed to a lot more, and be much more open than kids anywhere else in the United States. That being said, I think the trend is universal, even if it's to a lesser degree.
Alright, onto the actual discussion of gay marriage, gay marriage vs. civil unions, DOD, anti-gay marriage amendment to the constitution, etc.
For me - and I will state "for me" from the outset, because I suppose I have a different perspective than a lot of people, because I have so many gay friends - the issue of gay marriage is a simple one. Marriage began as a religious ceremony, where two people pledged their unity before whatever god it was that they worshiped. The ceremony was, at that time, not recognized by "the state", because there was no state to recognize it; and even if there was, there was nothing especially important to recognize. So, on through the ages, marriage continued to be defined as a religious institution. However, as soon as "the state" began to recognize marriage, and provide rights for people based therein, it ceased to be a purely religious ceremony, and became a civil ceremony, and a civil union. So, when people don't support "gay marriage", but support civil unions, they're actually supporting gay marriage, because marriage, outside of a religious context, is actually just a civil union with a different name. Now, that doesn't mean that I support civil unions over marriage, because there is an important distinction that cannot be overlooked, and that the obvious legal ramifications of upholding a law that is creating a "separate but equal" situation.
Why do you think the anti-gay marriage amendment has not had more traction in congress, even when President Bush supported it, and he had a Republican senate and Republican house? The reason is that politicians know that a law like this would never survive scrutiny before the Supreme Court, because even conservative justices like Scalia and Thomas could not overlook the fact that this is a blatantly discriminatory policy. And by bringing the argument before the court, and losing on discriminatory grounds, the anti-gay marriage side would essentially be codifying the national right for gay couples to marry. This, in fact, will most likely end up being how gay marriage will become legal nationally; and then there may be a law that will follow.
I try to understand the other side's perspective on this issue, as I think that a lot of people have fear about what they are not exposed to, but while individuals - or even religious institutions - may not support the right of gay couples to wed, there is really no legal basis for this argument, and therefore I'm still at a loss for how states continue to uphold open discrimination. The anti-gay marriage advocates should relish this time, however, because the days of discriminating against gay couples who wish to marry are numbered; CT, IA, NH, VT, NY and the District have set the tone, and the rest of the states will start falling in line.

4 comments:

Garrett McCallum said...

Agreed. I'm fairly certain the Declaration of Independence said "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." If what makes you happy is another person of your same sex, then more power to you. I would think in such a "civilized" country where people are allowed to think, act, do, as they see fit, and that is something you have built the basis of your country on, then no one should be denied their choice to like/love/marry who they see fit. I just wish that all the religious people who make such a big fuss over this would just keep it to themselves. They certainly don't appreciate it when people get on their case over their beliefs, but they never seem to have a problem letting someone know when what they are doing goes against all their religious principles. Marraige is a right of the people, and as such should be governed by the laws of the nation. You are required to pay the state that you get married in a fee for a license in order to get married. You don't pay the church, you pay the state. So it's really just a matter of the government dragging its feet and not having the stones to enact policy.

mpm210 said...

Exactly.

Jeremy Beer said...

Garrett - you've really grown as an individual over the years...why, it wasn't more than a decade ago when you were smashing the head of an innocent Brandon Mace against the abrasive walls of the Olympic gymnasium...now you're using that energy to sharpen your political acumen and expressing yourself with words, not fists. Bravo.

I must say, though, these new viewpoints don't seem to coexist with your opinion of Rilla's brother.

Crystal Marie said...

Bravo!