Today I’m cutting my usual preamble short because I have a serious question to ask.
Why in the hell are people being so stupid?
Why are so many of these stupid people running for president?
I’m talking, of course, about the reactions to the Supreme Court FINALLY declaring that it is unconstitutional for states to ban gay marriage.
Now wait a sec. Hang on before you click away. People have been (and still are) making many debates against the governmental approval of gay marriage. However, those arguments are all fundamentally flawed, no matter how many famous people repeat them. I just want to look at the most prevalent arguments with a logical eye. If I can change your mind, cool. But even if I can’t, perhaps I can at least give you something to mull over.
Let’s look at the actual ruling. The supreme court did not say that all people have to be gay, marry a gay person, join a gay cult. They didn’t even say that people have to believe in gay marriage or support it personally. What they ruled was that marriage in the United States is a contract which binds two adult human beings in the eyes of the law.
One person decides to legally tie their life to another in terms of assets. They are each declaring the other person to be their choice for legal decisions made on their behalf should they become incapacitated. Should they die, the contractual binding means they have made a choice where all the worldly possessions would go, and also who would then step up and be responsible for debt they left.
As far as the government is concerned, that’s it. That’s all a marriage is. It’s all it ever has been, all it ever will be. It is a legal contract between two people that binds their lives together.
Now, that seems awful cold, doesn’t it? Well, it is. And it should be. See, what a lot of folks aren’t understanding is that this new ruling does NOT “support” gay marriage. It doesn’t go against “traditional” marriage. What it supports is the concept that two consenting adults have the right to legally bind themselves together. It supports the idea that ANY two consenting adults can do this, no matter race, creed, sexual orientation, height, weight, personal preference…
ANY TWO CONSENTING ADULTS CAN LEGALLY WED.
That’s all we’re talking about. THAT’S what’s got people in such an uproar. The government does not care about your squishy feelings when you look at someone. They don’t give a rat’s ass about your religious ideals. They couldn’t care less if you start to drool when you see a man, or when you see a woman, or even when you see either. They don’t care because that is NOT what this law is about. It’s not a law about love. It’s not a law saying you need to accept other peoples’ choices.
Now, let’s get into the arguments.
1) A marriage is between one man and one woman.
No. Not in the eyes of the law. Take all of your religious and emotional thoughts away, and you simply have the legal binding of two people. It’s a business partnership whose sole purpose in the eyes of the law is to join finances and assets, and the responsibilities of having (or owing) both.
2) …but it’s not. Marriage is so much more than that. Why can’t gays just have civil unions?
You’re not listening. ALL marriages ARE “civil unions” in the eyes of the law. Always have been. Always will be. That’s what this new ruling is pointing out. If you grant the same rights, privileges, responsibilities, tax credits, and legal protections for “civil unions” as you do for “marriages”, then THEY ARE THE SAME THING. The ONLY purpose calling the two unions something different serves is to create a caste system. It is saying that one is still more favorable in the eyes of the law than the other, which it’s not. By this popular argument, logically every “marriage” should actually be called a “civil union” since that term is far more accurate. They are the same thing in the eyes of the law.
3) But God says…
Nope. You can’t make a national law based on what you believe your God said.
4) But the Founding fathers…
Founded this country to do the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do. Many of them were atheist. ALL of them were firm in the belief that EVERY SINGLE PERSON should get to decide what they do or do not believe in terms of religion. That means that the government cannot make a law governing religions, nor can one religion dictate the laws that govern the nation. They can’t force you to believe anything, but YOU can’t make a law based on YOUR religion that forces ME to believe anything, either.
5) This country has a proud history of Christian values.
This country has a LOUD history of Christian values, I’ll grant you that. Has religion influenced the running of this nation? Yes. Is that how it’s supposed to work? No. And it’s not “attacking” your religion to realize we’re screwing up and try to set things right. We should never, ever have let religious beliefs influence our laws. Keeping the two separate is one of the founding principles of this nation.
6) But this law will force my church to perform gay marriages.
What? Have you been listening at all? No, it will not. This law has NOTHING to do with churches whatsoever. This law says that no federal, state, county, or town office can deny any two consenting adults the legal process of marriage. It says that if Bob and Phil, or Linda and Sue, go to a court house to get hitched, the clerk has to hitch ’em, the paperwork has to be stamped, the county has to adjust their census, and the IRS has to audit them if they don’t file as “married”. Your church plays no part in this process. A civil marriage is different from a religious union.
7) Then why is a church wedding considered a legally binding ceremony?
Well, it’s not. Not in and of itself, anyway. The pastor/priest/imam/rabbi/etc. has agreed to act as a certified witness in the ceremony. They have agreed to oversee the union on behalf of the local government and then certify that the two people involved went into the contract willingly and knowingly. That’s all they do in terms of the law. They then submit their paperwork, which has been signed by other witnesses, and the town clerk (or other government official) is the one to actually decide the legal validity of the marriage. The person doing the service is essentially just an overseer that has promised the government to tell the truth on whether or not these two crazy kids wanted to be married. The actual approval is up to a governmental official, and the marriage is NOT recognized until this crucial step happens.
8) Okay, so if that’s the case, then this law WILL force my minister to perform ceremonies.
Nope. Your minister is a governmentally approved overseer, but NOT the elected official that a town/city/county has tasked with the job of officially declaring two people married. That’s why religious people need to submit paperwork to the town/city/county. Your minister is the one who gets to decide if two people are married in the eyes of the church. But that’s where his or her authority ends. The ceremony your minister performs is ONLY for the church. The elected official in your town/city/county is the one who makes the marriage a legally binding contract. Your minister has NEVER decided the legal status of those who wished to wed, and NEVER will. He or she can’t…they are not a governmental agent, and thus will NEVER be held to the same legal standards as a US official. This gives your minister the right to decide which weddings to perform in their church.
9) You say that now, but I bet there will be lawsuits if my minister denies weddings.
Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it’s time for the country to follow the lead of most of Europe and make a clear line in the sand between legal marriage and religious rites. Many nations have handled this slippery slope by saying that people who want their marriages to be legally binding must have a civil ceremony in front of an elected official. In other words, those governments don’t just take the religious leader’s word for it and must oversee the actual legal union themselves. This does not mean that religious ceremonies are in any way banned. It just means it’s not enough. If you get married in a church ceremony, you need to then (or before…it’s often before) make your desire to wed official with a quick contract signing with a sworn government agent. Many people pay a representative to be at their religious ceremony to save time and hassle. I think this is the way we’re heading, and we should. Until then, though, while your minister might get push back from the community and heat on social media, or be threatened with a lawsuit, he or she is NOT a government official, and has the law on their side if they want to deny performing gay weddings. It is still your minister’s right to perform the religious ceremonies that your religion supports, and refuse any it doesn’t.
10) I don’t believe you. Mike Huckabee said, “The Supreme Court can no more repeal the laws of nature and nature’s God on marriage than it can the laws of gravity.”
First, why are you listening to Mike Huckabee? The man’s shoe size is higher than his IQ, as evidenced in that statement which makes no sense whatsoever.
Second, I worry that picking apart his statement will lend any credence to it…but it’s a common sentiment, so I suppose we must.
The laws of nature. Mike Huckabee, and those who echo this argument, are not actually talking about the “laws of nature”. Why? Because nature has always, ALWAYS supported all types of sexuality. Gay pairings have been observed in nearly every animal group, from other intelligent primates down to not very intelligent at all critters like mice and birds. And it’s not just animals taking what they can get when they’ve got an urge. In many animal species that mate for life, including chimps, orangutans, otters, penguins, beavers, elephants, whales, etc., longterm homosexual couples have been observed so often that science has fully accepted that the “laws of nature” absolutely include homosexuality. It has been accepted by the scientific community for decades. If Mr. Hucakabee wasn’t so afraid of the demon science, he’d know this. His entire argument is based on emotion, not science, no matter how much he’d like you to believe he was viewing this “logically”.
11) Well Jeb Bush said, “It is now crucial that as a country we protect religious freedom.”
I hate this argument. I hate it over any of the other nonsensical arguments as to why we can’t just call marriage marriage and be done with this idiotic “debate”. The people saying this are not actually worried about religious freedom. If they were worried about religious freedom, they would not place their religious views above anyone else’s. The people like Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee do not care a whit if you’ve got religious freedom. They want laws that support THEIR religious ideals. That’s not exactly freedom now, is it?
This ruling is not attacking freedom. This ruling is protecting it. FOR EVERYONE. Period. It is NOT impugning your right to live your life according to the rules of your God. It is simply saying that you can’t make laws that force OTHERS to live under those rules, too.
You can’t use your religion, your idea of God, to start drawing lines for other people. You just can’t. That’s not how this country is supposed to work. If you start drawing the line, where do you stop? Some religions can’t eat pork. Should we outlaw bacon? How about the religions that believe in arranged marriages? What if those religions began making federal laws that say we can only have arranged marriages? Or working on the Sabbath? In some religions, that’s a mega no no. Would you like that law to be in place and have your work grind to a halt?
“But those aren’t the religions we’re talking about. We’re talking about MY religion.”
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but your beliefs are wrong. To many folks in this country, your beliefs, whatever they are, are completely and utterly wrong. And so are mine. And so are his, or hers, or theirs over there. So who should get to choose? Who should get to make laws based on their religion? Why would that be right or just or fair?
That’s exactly why we cannot make laws that support one religion over another. That is why we need our government to look at people as people and marriage- at ANY marriage- as nothing more than a contract between two citizens.
One consenting adult legally binding his or her self to another consenting adult. No religion. No emotion. Just straight up law.
The rest? That’s up to you and your beliefs. No one is making you choose. They are just saying you don’t have the right to choose for anyone else.
Thus concludes a charged up Musing for Saturday, June 27, 2015. Sorry there were no jokes today. I’ll be back to my flippant self next time. I promise. Just sometimes, things need sayin’.