Friday, February 18, 2011

An Open Letter on Gay Marriage

As I am sure you all know I am a bisexual and am currently in a relationship with another woman. We have twin baby girls and are deeply in love. Unfortunately the state we live in does not recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions. Obviously we have a problem with this because we do want to get married but we both know that it will take time to convince the government to allow gay men and lesbian women to marry each other.

Over the last several years there have been many stories about gay rights advocacy and in most of them there is a comment section. Just like any other comment section you get a mixture of people who actually want to talk about the story, flamers and spammers. When it comes to gay rights stories though there seem to be a number of arguments from the actual writers and the anti-gay rights supporters. So what I would like to do is list these arguments and talk about them individually and see if I can show how these arguments are facetious and in a way un-American.

1. Allowing gays to marry would destroy the American family.

Of all the arguments you hear, I think this one makes the least sense. I am more than open to listen to someone explain to me how allowing two men or two women to marry each other affects any other couple that is around. I mean does the idea of two people of the same sex being married going to cause a straight couple to fight and end up getting divorced? Like I said, I was seriously like to know what people mean by this.

2. Gays cannot produce children with each other.

Obviously this one is true, two gay people, be they men or women, cannot produce a child together. There is no refuting this issue, but is it really grounds for not letting them get married. I ask this because what if there was a heterosexual couple. They love each other very much and they get married. After a few years they decide they want to make a baby. After several months of trying they decide to go to specialist to see what they can do to help things along. Unfortunately they get bad news and find out that one of them is infertile and therefore cannot get pregnant together. Now most people would say they can adopt or if the husband is infertile they can get a sperm donor. Now how is that situation any different than a gay couple? Gay couples can adopt and in the case of lesbians they can get a sperm donor.

3. It goes against the bible and the word of God.

This is probably the most popular argument, seeing as a lot of people in the anti-gay rights camp are bible thumping Christians. My main problem with this argument is that many of these people say that gays should not be married because the bible says so but they are not willing to follow everything the bible says. The bible condones slavery and says that slaves should obey their masters; this is actually stated many times in the New Testament. Then there is an interesting passage in Deuteronomy that states that if a woman is found to not be a virgin on her wedding night that the town men have the right to stone her to death (Deuteronomy 22:20,21). What they didn’t know back then was that a woman’s hymen could be broke without having sex, so you could make the argument that a lot of girls could have been stoned to death even though they had never actually had sex. I think most people would agree that slavery and stoning women for having pre-marital sex is extreme and to not be taken literally. The argument from the bible thumpers though is that the book was written so long ago that you can’t take everything in it literally anymore. While I agree with this statement, what drives me up the wall is that even though they admit this they feel adamant that certain passages must still be taken literally. Granted I am not a “good” Christian anymore but the God I grew up learning about was one that wanted all his children to lead good lives and to be happy while on earth.

4. Marriage is not a right.

This one isn’t brought up as much but it is probably my favorite argument. The very fact that you can choose to get married means you have a right to marriage. A right is something that is guaranteed. If marriage is not a right that would mean we would live in a society where marriage is either not allowed or it’s a situation where all marriages are arranged and therefore you are forced to be married. The idea at the creation of the United States was that all people have certain rights. Even the founders couldn’t get that correct from the start because they still allowed slavery and women were treated as second class citizens and weren’t even allowed to vote. Throughout the years both groups were recognized and given the rights of every other American.

America, throughout its 235 year history, has become a grand experiment in what the humans can potential become. We have come a long way but there is still a long way to go. In order for the promise that is America to be fully realized the people must recognize that we will never be truly great until all citizens are given the same basic rights. The Gay community is simply the newest minority group that is fighting to achieve the American dream and I hope I will see it happen within my lifetime.

Your Deviant Barmaid,



  1. Beautifully stated, Christina, and yes, the arguments are just a way of really saying that these people are afraid of sexuality unless it meshes with their very judgmental "right" and "wrong" ideals. They pretend that they really don't want to know, but that they even obsess enough to find reasons to condemn proves that they do think about it, but rather than actually know, just project the absolute worst images in their mind... because that's the kind of seediness that lives in their minds. Happy healthy adults sharing love should always be celebrated. If the government recognizes and provides tax cuts to male-female unions, this should also be granted to same sex unions, otherwise the government should not interfere, period, and then marriage would just be a ceremony people engage in for the purpose of sharing their love and union with friends and family.

    I hope I see it in my lifetime, too. I know same sex couples who raise intelligent and loving children, who then grow up to be intelligent and loving adults and parents. Thank you for sharing this with me!

  2. Christina -- I'm glad you wrote this, however you've not fully addressed the primary legal -- not ethical, *legal* -- and religious aspects of the issue.

    One of the primary bases for arguing in favor of gay marriage is the equal protection/due process argument -- that gays, as a class, are being unjustly denied something that other classes have. The problem with that argument is it misdefines the "class."

    Under the present system (which I oppose on different grounds) every man has the right to marry a woman, and every woman has the right to marry a man. There is no equal protection problem. But that is not to say there is NO problem with the current state of affairs.

    Every citizen should (indeed must) have the guarantee of equal rights and protections under law -- but that does not entitle all citizens to the same nomenclature. A marriage is very similar to the formation of a corporation (and the state Secretary of State approves each), but we don't call it a corporation because we use a terminology more in keeping with the nature of the union. And, unfortunately for us, the terminology that is used (marriage) derives from the religious institution of wedded matrimony.

    Civil unions which provide the identical RIGHTS under law as marriages satisfy those seeking a strictly legal solution, but many feel that there is still a "separate but equal"-type stigma attached to having a union called by a name other than "marriage." Being heterosexual, I have only an outsider's view of this, although through critical thinking I think I have a good grasp of the matter.

    Still, words mean things. A motorist is not a cyclist, a wedded couple is not a corporation, and a nontraditional union is not a marriage. Each has the right to exist, just as every citizen has the right to pursue happiness, but words, and systems, have meanings rooted in history and tradition. That does not mean that they are a good idea, or that they should be continued, and the present system is an idea that NO LONGER WORKS.

    The solution to this quandary, in my estimation, is to change the legal/government sponsored system to a purely secular, mechanical one -- the government should issue the identical paperwork to ALL persons, straight, gay or anything else, seeking to be joined under law: a certificate of civil union of some kind. It would lay out all the legal aspects of the union -- tax consequences, visitation, estate and testamentary issues, etc...

    Then, if the individuals want to get married, they can go to a house of worship of their choice and do so, as well.

    Let's get the government out of the marriage business.

  3. I get your point Michael. I am planning on writing more of these in the future. The civil union vs. marriage thing is interesting. What most same sex couples want is the recognition of their union with each other and that that union gets the benefits as any other union.

    If people want to make marriage something that is performed in a church or at the very least a church official and call anything short of that a civil union then that's fine. As long as it is the same for gay couples and straight couples.