Facebook has exploded with reactions to the repeal of Proposition 8, with my more liberal friends crowing with delight and my conservative friends – especially the Mormons – lamenting the end of civilization as we know it. I’ve recounted my position time and again, and I think it equally infuriates people on both sides of the debate. I have very little new to add, nor do I want to rehash what I’ve said before. But I will say this:
Given the way the debate is currently framed, opponents to gay marriage have already lost – and deservedly so.
What’s happened is that virtually everyone has conceded the point that people are being denied a basic civil right by not being allowed to marry someone of the same gender. Proponents of gay marriage insist, righteously, that a majority of people do not have the power or authority to deny people their basic rights. Opponents have argued that, yes, we’re denying you a basic right, but we’ve got darn good reasons for doing so, and majority rules, so there.
If that’s the ground on which this battle is fought, then it’s all over but the shouting.
I find myself increasingly uncomfortable siding with many gay marriage opponents, because too many of them oppose gay marriage for silly and frivolous reasons. I don’t care if you don’t like Adam and Steve or if you’re big on Leviticus or you think gay sex is icky. I don’t think God hates gay people; I don’t think we’re currently bound to live by the Law of Moses, and I don’t think children should be shielded from the concept that some people are attracted to people of the same gender.
All the tired scare tactics used to frighten people into opposing gay marriage are losing their luster, because there’s no substance behind them in the first place. And “gay people are icky” is certainly not reason enough to deny anyone any rights of any kind. For heaven’s sake, I can think of a large number of heterosexual couples that I would not want to imagine coupling due to ickiness factors. (My parents spring to mind. Ick.)
I have also never met an individual who has made a conscious decision about what gender they will decide to find attractive. Gay marriage will not increase or decrease homosexuality, and it will not lure our children into forbidden realms of perversion. If any of the above reasons are why you oppose gay marriage, then I’m just not on board.
So why am I not celebrating along with the rest of my friends?
Because I still believe, axiomatically, that the best way to raise children is with a mommy and a daddy who are married to each other.
As a society, we have been on the slow road to completely rejecting that principle for decades now. We’ve cheapened marriage and embraced divorce, resulting in broken homes across the world. We’ve said that marriage is essentially irrelevant for purposes of having children, and unwed motherhood has skyrocketed. We’re abandoning any consideration of masculine or feminine, or that these ideas matter in any way with regard to childrearing or any other societal function. Soon, irrevocably, we’re going to say, as a nation, that two mommies, or two daddies, or any number of daddies and mommies, is exactly the same as a married mommy and a daddy.
I don’t think that’s true.
At the same time, I don’t think this step is nearly as bad as what we’ve done to marriage prior to this. This is just one more chink in the armor; one more moment of erosion in the value of an institution that will essentially be worthless and discarded within a few decades. Everyone already had the right to marry, but now we’re now saying that everyone has not only the right to marry, but the right to define what marriage is. And someday, when everything is marriage, then nothing will be marriage, and that’s essentially where we’re heading. I don’t think that’s a good place to go.
So look on the bright side, instead. There is much to celebrate about this ruling. All the silliness of gay couples not being allowed to visit their partners in the hospital and not being able to get survivor benefits and all that stuff will eventually be done away with, too, and that’s marvelous. We’ll get rid of nasty discrimination and the silliness of “Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell.” Up to a point, I see absolutely no reason that homosexual partnerships should not enjoy all the same benefits of married couples.
But once you reach that point – that gay couples are EXACTLY THE SAME as a mommy and a daddy for purposes of raising children – you lose me. I think you cross a line that hurts society at large rather than helps it. We’ve crossed similar lines before as we’ve steadily chipped away at marriage as an institution of any saliency, and we’ll probably cross it again as polygamy and other variations on the marriage theme become legal.
In the meantime, I’m happy for my gay friends and for the friends of my gay friends, and I’ll wait and see where this brave new world takes us.
Hopefully, everyone who reads this will be ticked off to some degree.
(BTW, I’ve been neglecting this blog because I want to record more demos as I recount my songwriting career. Said demos remain unrecorded. But I would be negligent if I didn’t chime in on a subject I’ve whined about so many times before now.)