Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Just Once, I Want It Explained …

Posted in Uncategorized by allisonkilkenny on June 8, 2008

How does gay marriage “threaten” the institution of marriage?

Here’s a conversation I would LOVE to have:

Married fella or gal: Gay marriage devalues the institution of marriage! If we let the gays marry, then straight marriage is threatened.

Me: Um, how, exactly?

Mf/g: God is against gay marriage. It’s in the Bible.

Me: But, that wasn’t my question. How does gay marriage devalue straight marriage? I mean, how does straight marriage suffer as a result of it? Or, let’s put the question another way. You’re married, right?

Mf/g: Yeah.

Me: And you know that gay couples can get married in Massachusetts and did get married in California for awhile?

Mf/g: Yes, that must be changed, to protect marriage.

Me: Right, well, I’d just like to know, what percentage did your dedication to and love for your spouse drop when you found out gays could marry?

Mf/g: … Excuse me?

Me: I want to know your suffering. When you found out gays could marry in Massachusetts, how catastrophic was the damage to your marriage? Did you start drinking or beating your kids? Did your spouse gamble away your savings or commit adultery? Has one of you turned gay? How, specifically, has your marriage, or any straight marriage, suffered due to gay people getting married?

Mf/g: …

Me: Wow, I didn’t even know crickets chirped like that in the daytime. They sure are loud around here! ;-D

I’d love input from single people who oppose gay marriage too. How, specifically, is gay marriage a threat?
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Does the idea of gays married suddenly make you not want to ever get married? Was the lack of a marriage option the only thing keeping you from dating the same gender? How does gay marriage impact your parents’ relationship? You do know that you can still marry someone of the opposite gender, and that no one would force you to gay marry, right?

What I’m waiting for is a secular argument against gay marriage. Anybody out there got one? I’m being 100% sincere. I have never, not once, heard a secular argument against gay marriage. Does such a thing exist?

In my experience, most people (all but the staunchest homophobes) don’t have a problem with gays holding the same legal rights as married couples: the right to see one another in the hospital, to do taxes together, etc. The problem is that many people cannot separate the word “marriage” from its religious sacrament and, according to their religion, gay marriage is wrong. Hence, there has never been an anti-civil union campaign to compare in passion or popularity with the anti-gay marriage campaign.

Now, America has never been a theocracy, so it cannot allow religious sentiment to get in the way of legal rights … ever. Letting churches dictate which couples are “legal” couples, even for people who aren’t in their congregation, would be like allowing the dietary laws of one religious group determine what everyone in the country could or could not eat. It … makes … no … sense. No group has the right to impose their religious restrictions on others—particularly in things like marriage, because what happens if someone wants to move to a new state? Can you imagine being limited about which state you could move to because your marriage would not be considered valid somewhere else? Furthermore, there are churches that recognize gay marriage. For the state to say that their services cannot be legally recognized is, in my opinion, a gross intrusion of the state upon a church’s rights.

Given the importance of freedom of religion in this country, how do we respect the rights of religious groups to recognize what marriages they deem sanctified while, at the same time, protecting the separation of church and state? I propose a simple solution! How about we restrict the government to recognizing only civil unions and give them exactly the same rights and regulations as marriages currently hold? That way, the state cannot discriminate against any couple based on their sexual orientation and the churches are absolutely free to recognize or reject any couple they think unfit for a marriage union. Gay couples get the rights they deserve and no religion is pressured from the outside to go beyond its traditional position. The power of both the state and the churches are thus strengthened even as the wall between them is reinforced.

Viola! Problem solved! What do you think?

(Raising kids is also an issue raised by those opposed to gay marriage, but already gays can adopt, so I see that as separate. And, of course, I have absolutely no problem with anyone who wants to adopt a child, no matter their sexual orientation, as long as they are loving, stable parents.)

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One Response

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  1. Shonda Little said, on July 25, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    I hope I was suppose to laugh, Anna, because I certainly did.

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