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The Inevitability of Gay Marriage

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.)

The Ballad of Stallion Cornell
His Hand In Mine

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19 Comments

  1. 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.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but California law went right up to that point. Gays were afforded civil unions that provided all the material benefits of marriage. The Judge struck down Prop 8 on the grounds that it denied a “social” benefit. In fact, proponents of Prop 8 arguments were similar to yours here. They were based on promoting procreation within monogamous heterosexual couples.

      • “Do you really want to pursue this line of thought?”

        Yes, yes I do.

        Our state is voting on Prop 9.75 this week, the recognition of ‘Marriage between Magical Creatures and Bearded Men Who’ve Had Their Wands Broken’, so it’s a viable topic for discussion.

  2. Well said Stallion. While I did vote for Prop. 8, I don’t think it bothers me all that much if it does end up going down in flames. If you get down to the nitty-gritty of it, the whole debate really boils down to the enforced acceptance of a homosexual lifestyle by society at large. As you point out, marriage itself may become a vanishing institution, nor is it required in order to spend the rest of your days with the one you love. Indeed, my mother has lived with her significant other for 24 years without tying the knot. My point is, that if two men or two women love each other and want to spend the rest of their lives with each other, they’re going to do it regardless. In California, there is a Domestic Partnership law which gives these type of unions the same legal rights as married couples. This solves the whole “I can’t see my loved one in the hospital”-type issues. But apparently that is not enough. We get the “separate-but-equal” civil rights arguments for this arrangement. I personally find this specious; I once saw a video on youtube by a black man who said “You can’t tell if someone you pass walking down the street is gay just by looking at them”.

    At any rate, you’re probably right, this is an inevitiablity and there’s no point getting anyone’s panties in a twist about it anymore. It will either contribute to the downfall of our society, or it won’t. However, I am for calling it for what it is. And what it is is a grab for societal legitimacy.

    • And what’s wrong with everyone being “societally legitimate?”

      Another way to ask that is, “What makes you think you’re better than anyone else?”

      40 years ago, another group of American citizens had to ask that same question of the majority.

      America is strongest when everyone stands shoulder-to-shoulder, when everyone is accepted for their unique strengths and talents. In America today, you are seeing a fracturing of our society, where nobody is an “American” – everyone is “Italian-American” or “African-American” or “Asian-American” or “Mexican-American.” Or “Gay-American.”

      America is supposed to be a melting pot, where everyone contributes their uniqueness to the whole. Everyone is guaranteed their inalienable rights regardless of where they came from, who their parents were, which set of genitalia they possess, or who they are attracted to.

      I find the argument that a specific lifestyle is being forced upon the rest of us to be beyond ludicrous. Nobody is being forced into a “gay marriage” by anyone. Nobody can force a church to perform “gay marriages.” Nobody can force anyone to endorse any given lifestyle, whether it is a “lifestyle” of choice or a “lifestyle” dictated by how someone is made.

      What you are being forced to do is to cease denying the (purely secular) rights and privileges to committed same-gender couples that are automatically accorded to equally committed heterosexual couples.

      You are being forced to recognize that all Americans have the same rights, not just those whose circumstances and makeup meet with your standards of acceptance.

  3. It seems to be that the argument over gay marriage is primarily a religious one. That those who seek to ban it, seek to do so over religious reasons.

    Doesn’t the Establishment Clause of the 1st Amendment then essentially forbid government from enacting laws of a religious nature, such as Prop 8?

    Not that it much matters, seems out elected officials do as they please willy nilly anyway.

  4. I’ve believed for a long time now that gay marriages are going to become the law of the land in the US eventually. It may take a decade or so, but we’re going the way of Canada and various other countries.

    Being a parent I agree that having a mom and a dad is the ideal situation. But that isn’t going to stop the court or elected representatives from passing laws allowing gay marriages.

    In the end run the lawyers will find their business has at least doubles, in that they’ll be able to litigate gay divorves as well as mixed gender divorces. And divorced gay people can discover the joy of having to write an alimony check or a child support check to their ex partner every months.

    Marriages would be a hell of a lot more successful if the people involved actually married for love and cared about the marriage and their children as the most importatn things–weather it’s a straight marriage or a gay one.

  5. No, the Establishment Clause does NOT forbid the government from being influenced by religious arguments when making laws. Rather, it forbids the government from establishing a national religion. This is a common argument that is almost always misleading. The “separation of church and state” does not mean religion cannot play a role in policy.

    People (like Judge Walker himself) seem to commonly dismiss opinions if they are rooted in someone’s moral or religious views. It’s getting ridiculous, and shows how intolerant our society is becoming towards religion.

    That said, there are loads of reasons to oppose same-sex marriage on secular (non-religious) grounds. Stallion has articulated some of them in this very posting. Specifically, that children are better off with a Mom and a Dad is hardly a conclusion one can come to only via religion. It’s in the data…

  6. Stallion Cornell’s blog: All gay, all the time.

    The “separation of church and state” does not mean religion cannot play a role in policy.

    If this is the case, would it then be Constitutionally acceptable for U.S. courts to become Sharia compliant?

    • In asking that question, are you actually suggesting the Establishment Clause prohibits people whose views are influenced by their religious beliefs from having a voice in the public domain?

      If so, that’s laughable.

      • No. If you read my question, you’ll see that I didn’t ask that at all. In fact the text of the two questions don’t even remotely match up.

        Here, I’ll cut & Paste the text of the question that I actually asked, and let’s see if you can answer:

        If this is the case, would it then be Constitutionally acceptable for U.S. courts to become Sharia compliant?

        • Oops, I misread your posdt as a question. My mistake.

          But no. I’m not suggesting anything. I’m asking a question. Care to answer?

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