Defining Marriage

Here is a link to a YouTube video. I enjoyed the video, and agreed with everything the guy had to say. I posted a link to the video on my facebook wall yesterday. While I had friend who liked it, I was frustrated to discover that one of my own cousins, whom I do love and respect for many reasons, posted the following two comments after the video [spelling in context throughout]:

“when my little kids have to see that shit out in the street and ask why those tow girls or guys are kissing , That is when I have a problem with it .I dont care if somone wants to be gay or whatever the name is now but my kids should not see it .”

“And I also believe marriage should be between a man and a woman.”

Now, as I mentioned, I do love and respect my cousin. But he is, unfortunately, not alone among friends and relatives who share a common bigotry towards homosexuals. A friend of mine, I noticed, commented after my cousin, and had this to say:

“Damned gays inconveniencing closed minded people! How dare they offend their delicate sensibilities!”

While her sarcastic wit was humorous to me, I’m sure the points behind it went ignored or wholly unnoticed by my cousin and anyone else on my facebook friend list who shares his views on homosexuality. The sad things is, when people think they are right because of thousand-year-old religious traditions, there is very little the free-thinking world can do to change their minds. I did, however, post this in response to my cousin. I took out his wife’s name and put “your wife” in brackets, but if he reads my blog and has read the comment on facebook he’ll know who I am talking about:

“Why shouldn’t your kids see it? It’s not like gays are out fucking in the streets. IF they are, that’s public indecency and they can get arrested, same as if a hetero couple were doing that. I don’t like anyone to engage in that kind of PDA, but any couple sharing a simple affectionate kiss or a holding hands is not hurting me or my children one bit. If Luna were to ask questions, I would tell her, ‘They are kissing because they love each other. That’s how grown-ups show affection.’ and leave it at that.

At some point, your children are going to encounter homosexual individuals, or maybe one of them might discover that they are gay. How you handle that situation says a lot about your character, and it will determine whether your children will “come out” to you if they find out they are gay. While I wouldn’t wish homosexuality on my children because it is, sadly, still a tough lifestyle in this world with all of the anti-gay legislation and hate-mongering going on, I would certainly love and respect my children for standing up for the innate feelings and emotions that are ingrained in them.

Homosexuality is not a choice. It is part of a person, like the color of their eyes or skin or hair. If Luna brings home a girlfriend, I’m going to hug that person, welcome them into my family, and tell them the same thing I’d tell a boyfriend of hers, ‘If you break my daughter’s heart you better not come around here anymore and if you physically harm her they’ll never find your body.’

As per your second statement, how is a marriage between two men or two women or some cluster of people affecting your life in any way? Adam and Steve’s nuptials in no way degrade the marriage and love that you and [your wife] share. If you do not believe in homosexuality because of some fear-based religious indoctrination, well, that’s your choice, so don’t go marrying or having sex with a guy and you’ll be all good. I love you, cousin, and I hope that you might reconsider the things you’ve said, because otherwise I really feel bad for your children if they are homosexual or have friends who are.”

To which he responded:

“see who is actually the closed minded one here? I said I dont care what how they live thier life , I just do not want my kids to see it.Shure they will get exposed to it at some point , but not when they`re so young.If one of them does decide they`re gay I will still love them anyway , they are my children and I will respect thier decisions . No matter hw much I dislike the choises they make.”

Which prompted me to say:

“There is nothing wrong with them seeing it. You explain it in simple terms like you do anything else a kid has questions about. And kids have lots of questions. I’m glad to know that you will still love them, but you miss the point that it’s not a decision they would be making. It’s not a choice. It’s inherent.”

After that, it pretty much devolved into him making erroneous claims and me and yet another friend of mine trying to debunk said claims. I’m not going to post the rest of the thread, but if you are one of my facebook friends, you can access it here.

My spontaneous facebook rant is not the first time I have attempted to tackle the “problem” of gay rights in this country, though. I recall a frustrating episode in one of my writing classes in college where the professor put us into groups based on the topics of our essays. He didn’t bother to ask if we were taking a stance for or against the topics, which landed a couple of anti-gay-rights students in a group of free-thinkers. One of the ladies was saying some rather hateful and bigoted things, out of pure ignorance.

She had seemed like such an otherwise nice individual up to that point. When one of the guys in the group admitted to being gay, a guy who’d been sitting right next to her during her whole tirade, she didn’t seem to know how to handle that information. He wasn’t “flaming,” so she hadn’t ever guessed. Some of us in the group were on the verge of tears or fist-flinging by the end of the session. For those of us on the pro-gay-rights side, though, our anger and frustration at the events of that day did fuel our writing.

I have decided, today, to post my essay in its entirety. Since it’s not something I was hoping to profit off of, I’m not bothered by the fact that publishing it here on my blog might prevent me from publishing it in future venues due to many magazines’ issues with republishing works. I do want to reiterate, though, that this essay and everything on this blog is my sole intellectual property, unless otherwise attributed, and is in no way meant for others to reproduce without either mentioning me, linking to my blog, or citing me as a source. 

Because of the essay, there will not be a lyrical snippet at the bottom of this entry. Anyway, here is the essay:

The Un-civil Right

In a society that is constantly evolving—a society that in the last hundred years has fought for equal rights for women and blacks—it is appalling to note that the rights of other Americans are continuously being trampled upon. Civil Rights is not a new issue in America. Sometimes the fight for our basic freedoms turns out well for all Americans, such as the fight to become a country in the first place. Sometimes it does not turn out so well. This was the case for the Mormon community in the 1800s; polygamy was practiced by many in the community, but because of society’s fear of all things different, the United States government ruled that polygamy was illegal with the 1882 Edmunds Act. President Chester A. Arthur created the Utah Commission to enforce this new law—despite the forbidance of ex post facto laws by the constitution (History of Mormonism 2006).

There are some people in society who even in this day and age seek to spread messages of hate and intolerance. Websites such as GodHatesFags.com, the actual homepage of a purportedly Christian church, Spread these messages of hate in a faster rate than ever before. The aforementioned site has this to say about the homosexual lifestyle:

“Since 1955, Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) has taken forth the precious from the vile, and is therefore as the mouth of God (Jer. 15:19). In 1991, WBC took her ministry to the streets, conducting over 34,000 peaceful demonstrations (to date) opposing the fag lifestyle of soul-damning, nation-destroying filth. In response, america bombed WBC. Now, God is america’s enemy, dashing your soldiers to pieces.4,012 dead. 29,314 wounded. America crossed the line on June 26, 2003, when the Supreme Court (the conscience of the nation) ruled that we must respect sodomy. WBC believes her gospel message to be this world’s last hope” (Phelps 2008).

Not all Americans agree with such a hateful message, but the people who do pass it on to their children, who pass it on to their children, and so on and so forth. How is teaching a child to hate anyone or anything that is different from themselves a better environment in which to raise children than the loving caring nurturing and open-minded environment that a homosexual couple could provide for a child? The answer: it is not any better! In fact, it is much worse to raise a child in a hate filled home than to raise a child in a home of tolerance and understanding.

Homosexual individuals are merely attracted to someone of their own gender rather than to someone of the opposite gender. They are not hurting anyone; if they choose to marry someone of their own gender it would only affect the couple in question. If they chose to raise children, those children would grow up well rounded individuals for having parents who loved them and taught them that hate was wrong, regardless of what the Reverend Phelps and his followers at Westboro Baptist Church or any other members of the gay-bashing community will say. Gay bashers use scare tactics mixed with fear to convince otherwise loving individuals that homosexuals are ruining society.

One issue that some people have with the homosexual lifestyle is the institution of marriage. Some believe that gays could get married, if they did not call it marriage. They believe this because they feel that marriage is a Christian institution, and that gays are un-godly and would taint the holiness of marriage. This is due to a radical interpretation of the Old Testament verse, Leviticus 20:13 “If a man also lie with mankind as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them” (King James Version). One problem with this thought process is that marriage was around long before Christianity was a religion. Another problem is that there actually is a large number of Christian homosexuals who feel that the Christian god does love them and accepts them for who they are. Some of these Christians follow the belief that Jesus came in the New Testament and died for their sins.

The argument of marriage being a Christian institution aside, what defines a marriage? Is it the love that is shared by the two people who wish to enter into it? If so, love cannot be legally defined. People enter into loveless legal marriages every day. Is it the gender of the couple? According to the state of Hawaii, gender is not a factor in marriage. In 1996, a gay couple wishing to enter into the legal contract of marriage was denied that right by a person responsible for issuing marriage licenses in the State of Hawaii. The First Circuit of Hawaii heard the case; it was decided that restricting marriage to the couple based in their genders was unconstitutional (First Circuit Court, State of Hawaii, 1996).

Another issue that some people have with the homosexual lifestyle is the issue of raising children. These people believe that the children are somehow in danger. They fear that the children are more likely to be molested by a gay parent than a non-gay parent. The fallacy in this logic is that if sexual attraction to a certain gender makes one more likely to molest a child of that gender, then non-gay couples should not be raising children either. The fact of the matter is, there are more statistics about heterosexual white males molesting children than any other demographic, so children raised by gay parents are no more likely to be molested than children of heterosexual parents.

Another belief about children raised by gay couples is that they will surely grow up to also be gay. Aside from the fact that the children growing up gay would not harm society in any way, to date no studies have been able to prove that gay couples raise gay children. In fact, if only gay couples raised gay children, there would probably not be any homosexuals; heterosexual couples also have homosexual children—it is not a disease and is no one’s fault. “If only gay parents make gay children then since gays can’t make children there’d be less and less gays!” says Ruth Snow, a bisexual twice divorced woman from Phoenix, Arizona.

The United States constitution guarantees the rights of freedom of speech, press, and expression through the first amendment. The problem is, that many close-minded individuals have the same right to these freedoms as the people that they seek to condemn. Therefore one finds a lot of hateful and ignorant literature out there, more specifically a lot of gay-bashing literature. The people that publish this trash try to tell society that being gay is morally wrong, that children raised by gays will become so one day or be molested, and various other ridiculously flawed hypotheses. Much of society is either apathetic to the plights of homosexuals, or they are ignorantly fearful of them, perhaps because of some latent homosexuality within themselves. If gay couples are allowed the basic right to choose whether or not to get married and to choose whether or not to raise children, it will not cost the taxpayers a dime, and non-gay Americans will not be affected in any way, but the same sex couples will benefit.

References
First Circuit Court, State of Hawaii. (1996). Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law (Civil No. 91-1394). Honolulu. Retrieved March 27, 2008.
History of Mormonism, (2006). The Era of Official Persecution. Retrieved March 27, 2008, from History of Mormonism Web site: http://www.historyofmormonism.com/persecution_period.html
Phelps, F (2008). Westboro Baptist Church Home Page. Retrieved March 27, 2008, from God Hates Fags Web site: http://www.godhatesfags.com/
Snow, Ruth. (2007). Personal Interview. Retrieved March 27, 2008.
Rainbow Study Bible: King James version. (1981). El Reno, Oklahoma: Rainbow Studies Inc. Retrieved March 27, 2008.

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7 thoughts on “Defining Marriage

  1. Although I could and would like to respond to many comments in your post–and I certainly do not disagree with all, or even many, I do want to supply you with this source, since you profess to wanting to give credit.The quote about money does not say that money is the root of all evil. It says the LOVE of money is, and there is a whole lot of difference there. The quote comes from the Bible, and is found in I Timothy 6:10.

  2. I think you meant to put this comment after a different one of my blog posts, since I didn’t reference money being the root of all evil in this post, but I’m still appreciative of the reference. 🙂

  3. It still amazes me that so many people are afraid of gays. What’s even funnier is that a lot of the gays around here (Fort Smith) are afraid of the straight community. There is fear everywhere, and I really think it’s time for people to get over it. Gay guys are not going to jump straight guys, lesbians are not plotting to turn wives gay, and let’s face it… Child molestation often occurs within heterosexual confines (how many girls are molested/raped by their fathers, uncles, grandfathers…?).What it really comes down to is that people would rather find a scapegoat to blame for all the troubles in the world than actually sit down together and find a way to fix them. Gays wanting to marry is not destroying the “sanctity” of marriage: unrealistic ideals do a neat job of that. Gays are not recruiting more people into the “lifestlye”: more and more people are realizing that it’s okay to be yourself, even if it means you end up being different.Overall, I think the hatred that is directed at the gay community is actually the fear of a small group of people to just lighten up and be true to themselves. They judge themselves so much and so harshly that they build up a hate they then spread out to the world. Instead of hating them back, I think we need to simply look at them and say”Stop judging yourself. Why do you hate yourself?”Maybe if more people looked at it like that, things would take a drastic turn for the better.

  4. It still amazes me that so many people are afraid of gays. What’s even funnier is that a lot of the gays around here (Fort Smith) are afraid of the straight community. There is fear everywhere, and I really think it’s time for people to get over it. Gay guys are not going to jump straight guys, lesbians are not plotting to turn wives gay, and let’s face it… Child molestation often occurs within heterosexual confines (how many girls are molested/raped by their fathers, uncles, grandfathers…?).What it really comes down to is that people would rather find a scapegoat to blame for all the troubles in the world than actually sit down together and find a way to fix them. Gays wanting to marry is not destroying the “sanctity” of marriage: unrealistic ideals do a neat job of that. Gays are not recruiting more people into the “lifestlye”: more and more people are realizing that it’s okay to be yourself, even if it means you end up being different.Overall, I think the hatred that is directed at the gay community is actually the fear of a small group of people to just lighten up and be true to themselves. They judge themselves so much and so harshly that they build up a hate they then spread out to the world. Instead of hating them back, I think we need to simply look at them and say”Stop judging yourself. Why do you hate yourself?”Maybe if more people looked at it like that, things would take a drastic turn for the better.

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