Friday, August 10, 2007

The Same-Sex Marriage Debate

As candidates continue to stump, one issue coming to forefront of the races is same-sex marriage.

Massachusetts allows same-sex couples to get married; several other states have "civil union" laws that allow same-sex couples to legally join as a couple, giving them all the rights as male-female couples.

Sen. Barack Obama has now voiced his opinion, stating the need for nationwide civil union laws, but not going so far as to call for same-sex marriage. Here's a story about it.

I like Obama's position so far; it echoes my own.

Nature intended for opposite genders to join in order to procreate. Logically and scientifically, that has to be accepted. You can't look at the mechanics involved and deny it.

I don't understand what makes people attracted to people of the same sex, seeing as how it contradicts nature's plan. But, if that's the way someone is, then that's the way they are. I don't have to understand it, and I don't have to like it -- to me, there is no debate on whether people should be allowed to be gay, if they are, they are.

But at the same time, I think it's abnormal, in the literal sense of the word. That doesn't mean I think gay people are bad, or somehow less human, or that they should be persecuted -- it just means I think it's not normal in terms of nature.

In terms of emotion, I don't think it's up to me who should be in love with who. I'm 36 and I still don't understand "love" in general, so I surely can't comprehend at what point loving a male friend as a brother turns into something romantic. So I just stay out of that -- love whoever you want. Makes no difference to my life.

Regarding pleasure/attraction ... again, I don't see how the whole same-sex attraction works. I really like women, and I have no attraction to men, and I guess I just figure that because of the whole procreation thing that's the way nature's perfect cycle meant it to be. But I do know that I've had girlfriends that I thought were totally hot but that everyone I knew thought were ugly (Hi, Sue!), so I guess taste is a personal thing. If you can have fun with someone of the same sex, knock your socks off. Doesn't impact me, so I don't care.

As far as religion goes, even people of the same faith will interpret their religion how they see fit, so I just look at it this way: If you believe your religion says same-sex action is wrong, then keep it to yourself and be happy in the fact that you have faith.

All that being said, I do oppose certain things.

I don't think little kids should be taught about sexuality in school -- straight or gay. That should be a family thing. If we're talking about rights here, I think parents have the right to raise their children how they see fit. Period. If a kid learns truly dangerous things at home, deal with that. But the public has no right to intervene in child-rearing. This includes telling kids anything about lifestyles, not just sexual relations. If a teacher is gay or straight, little kids don't need to know that. I've come to learn that 2 of my grammar school teachers are gay. They are great teachers, and I really liked them. One was an English teacher and one was a science teacher. You know what I learned from them? English and science. I didn't know they were gay because they never said anything about it. Why should they have? I wasn't there to learn about adult social issues, I was there to learn ... English and science.

This isn't really part of the issue, but I think some of the gay pride parades are a little much. You know, if you're a guy and you like guys, fine, whatever. But do you really have to dress up like a hooker and boogie down the street half-naked? That's what you're proud of? Why not grab your same-sex family and march and sing and show everyone that you're no different than they are? Some of the displays at these parades would be disgusting no matter who was doing it. Please, just knock it off, it's weird and gross, and whether you like it or not, it makes lots of straight people think there's something wrong with you.

Anyway ...

I also don't think same-sex "marriage" should be allowed. Not so much because I actually care, but because I think that civil union has to be the compromise. You simply can't ban the legal joining of same-sex couples to get the legal rights any other couple can get. It just wouldn't be fair. But it's also not fair to try and change something pre-existing just to suit your own views. The ceremony of marriage is a ceremony about a man and a woman following a certain course dictated by nature.

You may not like that, but that's what a compromise is -- parties at odds finding a middle ground where each group gets some of what they want and gives the other groups some of what they want. No one is ever going to be 100% pleased in a compromise, or else it wouldn't be a compromise.

I get mad when same-sex marriage advocates refuse to accept the compromise, because it's a no-win fight over nothing more than a word -- they get everything that goes with the word, but traditional folks get to keep the word.

I really, truly think that's fair.


Karen Olson said...

This issue is totally about semantics. It's about words. "Civil union" and "marriage" are the same thing legally but we hang such importance on the word "marriage" and "civil union" sounds so much...well, lower than that. I'm married, but I was married by a justice of the peace, which in effect is a civil union. A union in a church is called marriage. If it makes someone who doesn't want gays to be "married," then I guess it soothes his conscience to say, oh, they're only having a civil union. It's about words and the words we choose to describe it.

As for children: My daughter went to preschool with a little boy who had two dads and two little boys who had two moms. We belong to a family organization that has several gay parents. One of my best friends from college has been in a committed relationship with his partner for 13 years, longer than I've been married, and they plan a civil union this fall. Not because they need the legal issues hashed out, they've got money and have already done that with lawyers, but because of the principle and to raise the statistics. I find that admirable. It doesn't change their relationship, just as if a man and a woman living together decide not to get married but are committed to each other.

It's not for any of us to judge what someone else's natural inclinations are. What I do in the bedroom is nobody's damn business and I don't care what anyone else does. What does matter is that we're all striving to be good people and treat each other well and try to make a better world.

And if you think a Gay Pride parade is bad, what the heck is Mardi Gras and Girls Gone Wild? At least at Gay Pride, those men and women are celebrating who they are and accepting their lifestyles. Getting drunk and exposing yourself just for the hell of it is, well, demeaning.

Al said...

I, too, was married by a JP. We had a priest give a blessing, but I wanted something non-religious for the actual ceremony.
You make a good point: "If it makes someone who doesn't want gays to be 'married,' then I guess it soothes his conscience to say, oh, they're only having a civil union. It's about words and the words we choose to describe it."
That's why I figure, let opponents keep the word, if that'll 'resolve' the issue a little.
The kid thing: The way I look at it is that if the question arises about why so-and-so has 2 moms or 2 dads, the teacher should just say that some people do, and that the kids should ask their parents for information. I know it sounds weird, but I don't know if it's good for outside sources to discuss something that could go either way. The problem is that the responsibility then falls on the parents, and if the parents are morons ... you get the rest.
Don't even get me started on Mardi Gras or GGW ... demeaning is the nicest word I can think of to describe those events.

Karen Olson said...

I guess my point about my daughter's exposure to her friends' same-sex parents is that she doesn't bat an eye about it. So little Johnny has two dads, so Susie has two moms, she doesn't care, we don't make an issue of it, just say that's the way their families are. We are an interracial family, my daughter is Chinese and we are Caucasian, and she knows that family is family, it doesn't really matter how it's made up.