By Fred-Allen Self.
You know, I keep reading things on the “debate” over same-sex marriage and the more I read, the more I feel like people are simply missing the point… on both sides sometimes. What do I mean by that? Well, I’m glad you asked. What I mean is that the debate focuses so much on what the Bible does and does not say, what the merits of legalizing it versus not are, whether being gay is a choice or not, and the list goes on. Honestly, to all of those things I would like to say, once and for all, who the hell cares?
Civil marriages in the United States of America have absolutely nothing to do with what the Bible, or any other holy book of any other religion, says. We are a country that is “not in any sense, founded on the Christian religion” according to the Treaty of Tripoli, so any arguments that appeal to theology of any kind are irrelevant from the start. Regardless of that fact, and it is a fact, there are many people who insist on continuing to bring religion into the civil discussion. People have this habit of saying, “The word of God makes it clear…” and then proceed to say something that the Bible doesn’t now, nor has it ever said, in many cases. Honestly, my biggest issue with this argument is that, as a person who has spent a large amount of time reading the Bible, studying the Bible, studying the history, and reading multiple commentaries I can pretty comfortably say that there is not much that the Bible actually makes clear at all… It is rife with contradictions and inaccuracies. Any claims to the contrary are simply academically dishonest. No, I am not anti-Christian, I am very much a Christian myself, but I have no qualms with saying that the Bible is challenging in many ways. I mean, if the Bible really made things so clear, then there wouldn’t be literally THOUSANDS of Christian sects all claiming to have it right.
My second qualm with this argument is one that arises as a Christian: you see, to me the Word of God is Jesus. The Bible is a library of 66 books from different writers, different cultures, and different times. Using it as a “rule book” for life in the post-2K world is a little crazy. There are things written there that apply to cultures over 3000 years old. Things that, by any measure, are barbaric now. There are also wonderful things there. There is great wisdom to be had from the Bible, but if you really tried to use it as a rule book, without picking and choosing, you would go crazy quickly. I mean, if you bought a table from Ikea with instructions as “clear” as the Bible you would be taking it back and asking for your money back very quickly.
As for the merits of legalizing same-sex marriage versus not… well, as a married gay man I can’t see any harm in it at all. You know, Matthew and I are legally married and the world hasn’t ended yet, as far as I’m aware NONE of our neighbors even know, and our marriage has, so far, had zero direct effect on anyone but ourselves. What has it done for us? Well, it’s saved us a ridiculous amount of money on health insurance as he no longer has to pay taxes on my portion of it. If something were to happen to him, our home would be my home, because I am the next of kin. It gives us every single federal right any other married couple has. The down sides…well, I fail to see any.
The last point up there, whether it’s a choice or not, this one comes up a lot, and it really irks me more than any other argument. I’m sorry, but why is that even up for discussion. I can tell you with 100% certainty that I never chose who I found attractive or who I could form that deep, to the soul, earth changing bond with. I can say that until I’m blue in the face, though, and there are people who will argue with me that it really is a choice because apparently somehow they know better. That’s neither here nor there, though. The reason this gets to me is simple: whether it’s a choice who you are attracted to or not, everyone has a choice in who they marry and who they spend their life with. The end. Whether you are male or female, gay or straight, you choose, in this country, who you marry. So, even if it was a choice, so what? This is MY choice, and not yours. I don’t understand how this logic works: ‘who you marry is a choice, therefore you should choose what I’m comfortable with and not what you are comfortable with.’ I mean, really? Do you realize how selfish and ridiculous that sounds? Of course, my marriage is a choice, who I engage with sexually is a choice, etc… who I fall in love with is not, but that’s a totally different question all together.
At this point in my life I am with a man who makes me happier than anyone in the world ever has. I am with someone who connects with me on a far deeper level than simply friendship and our relationship certainly does not revolve around sex, like many seem to think homosexual relationships do. We have three children running around all the time, we both work, we have chores that sometimes get done and sometimes don’t…. when is there time for anything else? The reason I bring all of this up is simple: Matthew and I are married. Legally. You can say all day long that that is impossible, but we really do have the piece of paper to prove it is very much possible. With all of that said, I honestly do not care if another person doesn’t approve. I don’t care what their religious convictions are. I don’t care what their opinions are. What I DO care about is that they allow ME to have my freedom of religion and morality, that they don’t force their harmful theology on my children, teaching them that their father is a sinful monster, and that they allow other people the same rights. The reason I speak out is NOT to silence other opinions. The reason I speak out is because libel and hate, whether intended as such or not, must be called out for what it is.
This “debate” is not abstract. This “debate” is not theoretical or theological. There are lives and families on the line, literally. Fighting against this is fighting against the health and wellness of thousands of very real people and very real families. Please don’t call yourself “pro-family” if your crusade is going to destroy families. Call yourself pro-straight-family if you must, but don’t pretend my family is not real.
The reason I stated above that “both sides” are sometimes missing the point is because over and over I see this side allowing the debate to go to these irrelevant points. The point is simple, to me: My family is not a political statement. We are not a religious statement. We are a family. We are NOT up for debate. We are human,we are family, and we deserve the same dignity and respect as all others.
A re-post from Fred-Allen’s blog My Bit of (In)Sanity