Posts Tagged ‘same-sex unions

10
May
12

Same-Sex Marriage: Degrees of Harm

First off, my headline should in no way prepare you for a diatribe on what harm same-sex marriage might do to society; in fact, I think it harms no one and nothing. (Yes, I’ve posted in the past about trying to sort out whether same-sex marriage and homosexuality are spiritually appropriate but I’ve never really been able to embrace an anti-gay stance [nor believed that homosexuality was a “go straight to Hell card”] and now I’ve pretty much settled on the “God doesn’t really give two shits about consensual adult sexual choices” path)

Second, screw you, North Carolina.

Look, I hear that North Carolina is a lovely state physically, and I’m sure many of the people there are fan-fucking-tastic. But this week, voters approved a measure to amend their state constitution to narrowly define marriage and forbid same-sex marriage (see here and here for recaps). It is one of only a few states (three or four in total, I seem to recall) that have so narrowly defined and constrained marriage rights.

When I heard about this, I may or may not have posted something on Twitter that called roughly two-thirds of the voters in North Carolina “fucktards” (for the record, I *did*).

Now, I was wrong about that. After hearing that less than a quarter of the state’s registered voters bothered to show up to weigh in on whether their constitution should be amended, apparently more than 80% of them are fucktards.

Anyway, back to my point…

After making this tweet, one of my fellow liberal folks (who I know offline as well as online), took me to task a bit for pointing fingers at North Carolina when recently here in Maine there was a measure on the ballot regarding the legalization of same-sex marriage and a little more than half of the people who voted shot it down. His point was that we are just as guilty here of holding back progress on sexual freedom and marriage equality.

I beg to differ. In fact, he and I already differed on Twitter and I think we reached a “we’ll agree to disagree” point (So, yes, my few conservative followers, I don’t just argue with you; I also argue with fellow liberals at times…though usually it’s with the hard-core atheists).

First off, there is a big difference between the final returns, even if it doesn’t seem like it. In Maine, what happened was that the government enabled legislation to allow same-sex marriage and then a citizen referendum repealed that law. The final vote tally was 53% vs. 47% (though, interestingly, polls have shown that 51% of Mainers support same-sex marriage. In any case, it’s clearly very close). In North Carolina, 61% of the voters said they wanted a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and 39% voted against it.

Now, 61 may not seem a lot bigger than 53, and of course it isn’t, but if I were in a fight with a total of 100 people when you combine both sides, I’d much rather be outnumbered by only 6 people rather than by 22.

In other words, there clearly isn’t as much of an uphill battle to win hearts and minds in Maine as in North Carolina. You may say I’m splitting hairs, but I think it matters. It suggests to me that the battleground in North Carolina is a lost cause for years to come, whereas the fight can still be won for marriage equality in the foreseeable future in Maine.

Also, let’s not forget that what happened in Maine was the repeal of a marriage equality law by some scared, nervous people who apparently mobilized well. No one instituted a specific ban on gay marriage nor codified a narrow definition of marriage. In contrast, North Carolina specifically forbade same-sex marriage and didn’t just do so as legislation but made it part of their constitution.

That, my friends, is a huge hurdle to overcome. You not only have to convince people that same-sex marriage isn’t bad, but now you also have to undo a constitutional amendment.

Again, you can accuse me of splitting hairs, but I think people in Maine would be a bit reluctant to change the state constitution in that way. Time could prove me wrong, but I doubt it.

Yes, in both Maine and North Carolina, people who want to marry and should be allowed to are denied that ability. That is unconscionable. But I have a lot more hope for sunlight at the end of the tunnel in my state.

In North Carolina, that light at the end of the tunnel seems to be an oncoming freight train instead.

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05
Nov
09

A Blow for Marriage Equality

I had been watching for the outcome of the referendum to repeal the Maine state legislature’s enactment of a law which would allow gays and lesbians to marry, with all the rights that go along with heterosexual marriage (aside from federal tax breaks), and with a provision that made it clear that no clergyperson could be compelled to perform a same-sex marriage.

I was pleased when the legislature made that law, because it ensured equal rights for consenting adults on the marriage field, but also protected the religion beliefs of churches, most of which, I am guessing, would not want to perform such ceremonies. Not that they need to, of course. There’s always the Unitarian-Universalist church, a justice of the peace, or a priest or reverend who’s probably in line with your beliefs who doesn’t mind going to a different beat than the other folks in his or her denomination.

I was not pleased when voters overturned that law.

But what really got me was the comment from someone my wife is acquainted with, who tried to make like she didn’t really feel one way or the other about it (though she’s a pretty fundamental Christian, and she’s pretty clearly against it), but voted against it because the legislature acted against the will of the people.

This floors me on two levels.

First, legislatures often make laws without much consulting the people. This is nothing new, and does make for laws people hate sometimes. But it would be rather inefficient to consult the masses on everything beforehand. Besides, the legislature snuck in some nasty snack and beverage taxes recently too, and no one got up on their high horses with religious diatribes and “slippery slope” theories to get that overturned.

Second, how could this woman have voted for the will of the people, when the will of the people cannot be known until after the vote? She claims she was upholding the will of her fellow Mainers, but when she went into the voting booth, she had no clue which way the tide was running. She is simply too cowardly to admit that she voted for her will, which was to marginalize a sizable group of productive, consenting adults.

I call total bullshit on this. Have some cajones and just admit that you can’t stand the idea, and be done with it. Don’t make up stupid lies.

11
May
09

Forbidden Fruit

rainbows-and-apples

So, with Maine’s governor having signed a same-sex marriage bill into law (yes, legislation that actually gives gays and lesbians the ability to get married and not have to register for some parallel domestic partner registry that grants them fewer marriage rights), I’m sure the religious right is in a tizzy.

Not that I’d know how much of a tizzy, really, because I’ve been too busy to keep up with the news lately.

I’m not going to simply rehash the reasons I’ve already outlined as to why I think opposition to same-sex marriage is silly. Besides, I’ve already been accused of being a “radical liberal” (despite being against PeTA on more causes than not, and for capital punishment in some cases) and a “false Christian” (guess I’ll be joining some of you in Hell despite having accepted Jesus…who knew?) for my views on this.

What I want to address though, is the militant fascination so many on the Christian side of things have with stamping out the same-sex marriage thing. Why?

Because too many of them feel threatened by it. They fear that giving some 10% of the population the same marriage benefits as themselves will somehow give the homosexual community some unassailable power base from which to dismantle the Christian establishment. Never mind that plenty of atheists, agnostics, Jews, neo-Nazis and others can get married already, and doing so hasn’t destroyed Chrsitians.

Also, I think that the big-time Christian opposition is insecure in its own marriages overall, feeling somehow that allowing other consenting adults the same institution will diminish their own marriages. What they fail to realize is that the only thing that can truly diminish the value of their marriages is how they themselves treat them. Which is, too often, quite badly.

Opponents of same-sex marriage truly see it as some kind of demonic, destructive force that will rip a huge chunk out of the foundation of civilization itself. It is a notion that is so overblown in its assumptions that my mind reels. Frankly, I’m more disturbed that we allow minors to get married in some states than I am that two grown adults that share the same sexual parts will.

Finally, I think the opponents fear that somehow, same-sex marriage will normalize homosexuality to the extent that it will gain the same prominence as heterosexuality. I think this is where the deepest fears lie. They fear that same-sex marriage will convince their own children that homosexuality is just the same as heterosexuality. They fear that this is somehow a huge step on the path of converting their children to same-sex relations, paying no mind to the fact that sexual orientation is not established (much less changed) so easily. That by and large, overwhelmingly, people want to be with people of the opposite gender.

It has nothing to do with souls or salvation, because these opponents, if they cared about souls, would be trying to convince same-sex couple to find Jesus. But they aren’t trying to help them find anything. They are trying to oppress them and they are treating them as enemies. And they are treating the effort to prevent legalization of same-sex marriage as a war.

But there is no bright and shining goal at the end; merely a goal of preventing other adults from pledging their lives to each other. There is nothing here but an attempt to hold onto something that doesn’t even belong to Christianity alone. Marriage wasn’t created by God. It’s a societal creation, and thus one whose rules must be decided by the society in which it exists. And in a country like ours, that means the rules sometimes change, and often with a vote involved in that change.

There is no honor in this battle against same-sex marriage.

It’s driven by fear, pure and simple. And God never told us to operate from a position of fear. Nor one in which we force the rules of the Bible onto anyone.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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