For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie–deliberate, contrived and dishonest–but the myth–persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often we hold fast to the cliches of our forebears. We subject all facts to a prefabricated set of interpretations. We enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. -JFK
(I’ve wanted to write this post for quite some time, but didn’t have a block of time long enough to write coherent thoughts. Between this weekend and last, I’ve finally gotten it done.)
I support gay marriage for the same reasons I support equality between the sexes: It is the right thing to do.
On an emotional level, every single time I’ve looked into my heart (deep into my soul) I feel at peace with love. Love, to me, is an equal partnership between people. It is not one person constantly making decisions for another. (Well, except in the case of a parent caring for a child. But even a parent should be making decisions that create a well-balanced, completely fulfilled and healthy child.) It is a place where two people come together and make decisions on what works well for BOTH of them. Sure, sometimes there will be compromise, but the compromise goes both ways. That is love and that can be found romantically between two men, two women or a man and a woman.
On a logical level, I know I do not choose who I am attracted to and who I am repelled from. While I adore a woman’s body, I’m not sexually attracted to it. It’s my instinct to date men, despite being underwhelmed, thus far, by their quality. (That was kind of a joke — there are good men out there somewhere, I just know it!) I am attracted to men because that is what comes naturally to me. Just as a man might be attracted to other men because that is what comes naturally to him. Or a woman to a woman. It doesn’t mean they are perverted or wrong. Rape is an abomination. Molestation is an abomination. Two consenting adults who love each other are not.
And this is where my support for gay marriage intersects with my support for gender equality. On a religious level, I don’t feel that the Bible (or any holy book) is The Essential Moral Guidebook. While I agree that the Bible contains a LOT of wisdom (as do many other holy books), I do not feel it is correct 100% of the time. Even my much more religiously conservative father has told me, you have to consider the time and culture surrounding the author when his works were written. I’ve never been a person who would read something and consider it true until I could find more proof to back it up. Sure, this means I’m a Doubting Thomas, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. A faith backed up by facts is stronger than a faith that’s simply “because I said so.”
“Because I said so” is just not a good reason for anything. Usually it means, “because I have no facts to back up my decision, I just want it my way.”
Quoting bible scripture (and, again, scripture from other holy books) has been a favorite pasttime of many oppressors. As an American, we’ve all been informed of the terrifying and terrible regimes of extremist governments. “Oh, look how they oppress their women! Look at how uneducated their population is! Look how inhumane their punishments are! Look how unjust their courts are!” But in the same breath, As Americans, we’ve lived through a time where the Bible was used to support slavery, segregation and homophobia.
For example, since Leviticus is used so often to deny homosexual rights here’s one that makes it ok to own slaves…
Leviticus 25:44-46 “Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.”
According to the Bible, you can OWN PEOPLE! As long as they are not from your own race, of course. I find this to me morally disgusting and I reject it fully. People should not be owned.
The Bible has been repeatedly used to discredit or prevent “less than” people from gaining the rights they deserve.
The Bible also touches on proper conduct of women. Women are instructed to be silent in the church and submissive to their husbands. While there are instructions for the man to treat his lady properly, I reject the notion that women must be submissive and quiet. Despite the fact that Jesus taught women as well as men, women are still instructed to be “less than” men. I would think the Son of God would not waste time teach women if we could not understand just as well as men. If we are worthy of instruction, why would we not be worthy of the right to ask questions, to speak our thoughts? If we are equal in the eyes of God, why should be be unequal in the eyes of man?
In this way, I feel the fight for LGBT rights and women’s rights are forever bound together. The rights of women are constantly under the scrutiny of the “religious right.” Just as the rights of LGBTs are under the scrutiny of the “religious right.” A woman’s right to choose when to have children (access to birth control*) has become a religious fight when it should not be one. Women (and men) making responsible choices about when to bring another life into this world should be praised. Having the sense to have children when it is financially possible for them is less of a drain on society than if they’re constantly pregnant and cannot feed their children.
For these reasons, I support the rights of LGBT people to date and marry just as freely as I could. I support a woman’s right to have control over her own body. (And I support any the church’s right to deny marriage to whomever they choose based on the separation of church and state.)
PS: I don’t think it’s an accident that these issues are being debated at the same time education funding is being slashed and teachers are being scorned. An uneducated population is easier to control. But that’s a whole other blog post.
*Fun fact: Government funds never fund abortions, only access to cancer screenings, STD tests and affordable birth control. All these things lead to a healthier, more productive populace.