By Phil Grech | firstname.lastname@example.org
“When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.” – Krishnamurti
I had no idea he was engaged, but in 2011, when I found out he married the person he had devoted his life to for the last 15 years, I was elated. The two St. Augustine residents decided to marry for a common reason:
“We wanted to get married because we plan on being together for our lifetime and wanted to have a ceremony (wedding) to mark the years we have been together. Also to show our love and commitment to each other for the future.”
Simple and beautiful enough, but because Dan (who declined to use his real name or disclose his profession) and his partner are gay, they had to travel to Washington D.C. to get married, and then return to a state where their devotion is not legally recognized.
Dan and his partner are both handsome, successful, well-spoken, moral individuals. They lead a fairly quiet life and enjoy spending time with their families when not working. Most people seem to be fine with their sexual orientation, but it’s still a hot topic in contemporary America and one that has gained a lot of spotlight attention due to the November election and recent, polemical statements made by Chick-Fil-A’s CEO.
I agree with Dan when he says, “I feel we live in a country where you should be able to marry the person you love whether a man or woman.” Marriage is about love. For many people, marriage is a union between two individuals who wish to share their love and devotion for the rest of their lives, but for many others, it is the same love and devotion, but add the religious recognition.
And that is the basis for most arguments opposing gay marriage: religion. But if religion is the reason homosexuals cannot get married in America, why are atheists, agnostics, Muslims, or any other non-Christian allowed to? This seems a little silly considering many in the LGBT community are Christian.
Some other questions I have a hard time getting a reasonable response include:
Why are homosexuals denied the same legal rights and privileges that heterosexuals enjoy?
Should we, as voting citizens, minimize the significance of their lifelong relationships so that the government could tax them at higher rates, deny them health insurance, and withhold from them life insurance and social security benefits?
Should we deny them legal custody of their biological children based solely on their sexuality?
What if Dan or his partner experience a serious medical problem, but hospital visitation rights are not granted?
The above questions immediately polarize the nation. Arguing ensues, slippery slope arguments are pulled out, and soon enough the yelling is too loud to make sense of. Meanwhile, very few ever hear the voices or see the faces of people like Dan who are the very subjects of debate.
People often ask me why as a straight male I support gay rights. I find this question equivalent to asking me why 100 years ago I might support black or women’s rights.
Of course the issue of African-American and women’s right today seems like an odd comparison. Why should blacks or women not have equal rights? We grant them rights because they are human; they are people. Seems like common sense, right? Today, anyone opposing rights for these groups would rightly be labeled a bigot.
I believe that one day homosexuals will share the same rights as heterosexuals and that 100 years later people will look back with wonder as to why the LGBT community was not given what was rightfully theirs. As Dan says, “I think some Americans will always be split, but do believe it will be legalized.”
As stated above, reasons why homosexuals should not get married are abundant and usually religion-based. Scriptures are cited in condemnation of homosexuality, but are also often shouted in the faces of people like Dan who are simply trying to live their lives. In past times, scriptures were also cited as to why other minority groups were to be considered inferior and undeserving of rights.
Instructions on how to treat one’s slaves are in the bible (Leviticus 25:44-46 for one). Numerous instructions detailing and exemplifying women’s supposed inferiority are outlined in the bible (1 Timothy 2:11-14 for one). According to Deuteronomy 22:13-21, if a woman is not a virgin when she gets married, she should be stoned to death. Today thankfully, most people no longer weave these verses into their moral fabric.
This introduces a powerful question: at one point do Christians separate what the Bible instructs from what they actually practice? Certainly very few, if any, Christians have adopted a complete adherence to Biblical instruction, but the person who has would most likely be in jail for having stoned a person for breaking the Sabbath (Numbers 15:32-36).
While many of the Bible’s teachings are no longer regarded as being culturally relevant, why are other teachings still followed? Why are some instructions morally ambiguous, but when it comes to homosexuality, everything is transparent?
Why is homosexuality the hot topic in America when the Bible references its moral implications fewer than ten times (with no mentions from Jesus), but obesity is rarely discussed despite dozens of Biblical references condemning gluttony? Certainly obesity kills more people annually than homosexuality.
Many of us are aware of the arguments opposing gay marriage. Some claim it will lead to man and horse in unholy, bestiality-embraced union with tax benefits, but until horses gain opposable thumbs and are able to sign legally binding contracts, this humanity dooming, unconstitutional crisis remains out of the spectrum of possibility.
Others claim gay marriage will create homosexual children, which, while obviously presupposing there is something “wrong” with homosexuality, also does not make sense. Whether two men or two women, neither can biologically produce offspring.
In the case of a gay couple adopting children, there is absolutely no scientific evidence suggesting that a child raised in a homosexual household will “turn” gay. Why? Because no one makes the decision to become gay because it seems like a great choice to be mistreated, physically and emotionally abused, and denied love.
One of the most popular remarks against homosexuality is that it is unnatural. Firstly, homosexuality is not unnatural, but secondly, as human beings we do not make decisions based on whether something is natural or unnatural. Things that are unnatural include getting a haircut, driving a car, and watching television. Who is willing to give those up in the name of forsaking all that is unnatural?
A thorough examination on the issue of gay rights and gay marriage yields no support for those in opposition. Anyone opposing equal rights for another human does not deserve the rights they are attempting to withhold from others. It took us centuries to get where we are today; why are so many trying to slow our progress? Who can provide a legitimate reason as to why Dan and his partner should not be allowed the same rights as their heterosexual peers?
Today we look back and wonder, “Why didn’t we give women and minorities rights all those years ago? How full of confusion, misunderstanding, and hate were those people?” Future generations will wonder the same about us. They will be baffled as to how many reasons and how much propaganda could be dispersed to suppress a group of people. Unfortunately, it may be too late for Dan and his husband to enjoy the rights we take for granted today.