Thursday, October 7, 2010

Debunking the Five Myths Held By Those Who Oppose Same-Sex Marriage | Gay Rights |

Debunking the Five Myths Held By Those Who Oppose Same-Sex Marriage | Gay Rights |

The original title for this post was "The Case Against Gay Marriage," a play on a post I wrote yesterday covering the New Yorker event where Cynthia Nixon schooled the National Organization for Marriage on the subject of marriage equality.

Folks like the National Organization for Marriage, and many others who oppose marriage equality, often harness rhetoric like "protecting the family" as a validation for furthering unequal rights. What I mean to raise in this post -- or rather, to debunk -- is the preposterous notion that marriage is pre-political or that it is somehow sacred. I even mean to bring into question whether marriage is even something to be desired, whether you're gay or straight or otherwise, religious or not.

One caveat -- of course I believe in equal rights for all; my gay brothers and sisters (myself included) should have access to exactly the same rights and privileges under federal, local and religious law that everyone else does. Assuming ceteris paribus, that all other things are equal, let's please take a moment to examine the very core of the issue in order to debunk the myths that come up repeatedly in this debate.

1. Marriage is pre-political. This is frankly poppycock. Marriage is one of the oldest political institutions that exist. The union was a way of keeping a family -- and their land and money -- legally bound and protected. Marriage historically has been about economics; marriage for love didn't even enter into cultural discourse until just a few hundred years ago.

2. Marriage is for procreation. Again, this is null and void in the modern age. Yes, marriages were cemented prior to the golden age of industrialization some 150 years ago and going back because having children meant free farm labor, the main bread earner for a home. In today's society, people have children for all sorts of good and bad reasons, but nine times out of ten, it's not to pull an ox cart in a field. Plus, there's always the known argument that plenty of people get married with no intention of having little rug rats, or else they are infertile and cannot have children.

3. History says marriage is between a man and a woman. This is also silly because gay was okay back in the day. People tend to forget, especially all of those "well informed" evangelicals, that Christians and everyone before them, prior to Paul the Apostle's clamping down on what marriage should and shouldn't be, made more allowances for same-sex love than we even do today. Most anti-gay sentiment comes not from the bible, and certainly not from pre-Judeo-Christian times, when same-sex desire was widely accepted, but from biblical interpretation by a small handful. Yes, a man married a woman in ancient Rome, Greece, the Middle East, The Far East in order to protect the family wealth and land, but when it came to desire and love, it is well-documented that men sought the comforts of other men.

4. Same-sex marriage will weaken the institution of marriage. This claim is often used though there has been no proof, let alone even one believable example, of how this may be a valid argument. I'm pretty sure it's the insanely high divorce rate and potential outmoded notions of wedlock that is weakening marriage, not gay people who want to buy into the tradition, that are threatening harm. In fact, in places like Washington D.C. and Massachusetts, same-sex marriage is emerging as the very thing that is saving marriage (not to mention the economy).

5. If you allow gay marriage, other bad things will follow. Lions and tigers and bears, oh my! This is the dumbest argument yet against same-sex marriage, that somehow if you allow gay people to get hitched, somehow polygamy, bestiality, and other apocalyptic events will occur. Folks, the gay people who want to get married are the most conservative that we have to offer as a community. The rest of us leather-donning, gender-bending, sex-crazed freaks couldn't care less about entering into your so-called sacred institution, let alone bringing our Boston Terriers with us.

If folks were to truly understand the history and politics of the institution we call marriage, I wouldn't be surprised if people everywhere, gay and straight, start to deliberately hop off the wedding bandwagon and opt instead to break down, rather than embrace, this passé pastime.

No comments: