Monday, October 29, 2012

'Sanctity of Marriage'? My ass.


Last night, while watching the baseball game, I was inundated… nay, assaulted, every twenty minutes by some broad telling me that it was okay to oppose gay marriage, that it did not mean I was prejudiced or a bigot, and that the 'definition of marriage' must not be changed. I was told about the ‘sanctity of marriage’ and how children do so much better in a home with a mom and a dad. I was told that marriage was about future generations. If I had a baseball bat anywhere near me, I probably would have, after the first three or four times, used it to smash the damned tv set. Thank God for remotes with mute buttons.

I have been watching this campaign for months, every time I turn on the television, open up a newspaper to read, surf the internet. For the life of me, I cannot understand what the hell the big deal is.

Marriage is many different things to many different cultures, so let’s start with the basics. By definition, marriage is a social union and/or legal contract between two people called ‘spouses’, that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged by society. 'Sanctity' means holiness, saintliness, sacred – to sanctify something is to make it legitimate, justify it, observe as holy and purified. It means one thing in a religious context, another in a legal context. There have been arranged marriages, convenient marriages, especially when looking for citizenship, and polygamous marriages. There are marriages where the ‘weaker’ partner is considered as nothing more than chattel.

In a marriage where there is an abusive partner, how does this benefit the raising of children? In a marriage where the parents are more concerned about social appearance, how does this benefit the raising of children? How about the one where the dad is an alcoholic but the mother is too scared to leave? Or the one where one of the parents brings home their latest fling? Are these nurturing environments? When dad is downing his fifth beer before supper, and mom is throwing a plate at his head, is this still a 'holy union'? When a celebrity is married for a week, what happens to the sanctity of that marriage? If a man has had a vasectomy, or one of the couple is unable to procreate, does someone forbid them from marrying? If not, the argument about the children is at best insulting, but more to the point, it is asinine. It is not the fact that there is a mother and a father in the home to raise a child that makes the difference. It is the fact that the child is raised in a nurturing environment of love.

It is disconcerting when people will hide behind quoted chapter and verse to justify their unfounded hatred. Yes, that is the word for it. If a man loves another man, or a woman loves another woman, how does that in any way impact anyone else’s marriage or the definition thereof? You can’t support a constitution that defends the separation of church and state, then turn to the state to impose laws (on others who are different than you) that are based on religious dogma. You cannot argue about freedom of religion, then demand that everyone in the land pledge allegiance to only your God. You cannot say that gay marriage is offensive and should not be allowed to happen, then claim in the same breath that you are not prejudiced.

I look at couples walking though the mall and wonder what they saw in each other… but it was not my right to tell them who they could marry. We don’t ‘pick’ love. Love is love, and is what God supposedly is about, so how can anyone who believes in God say that He would like those who have a different lifestyle to be struck down.

Getting access and familial rights to loved ones is based on social structure. If you want to be with your loved one when they are dying, you need to be able to prove you are kin. If you want information regarding an accident, you need to prove you are kin. In times of emergency, when you want those whom you love beside you, it is not the time to be denying this same right based on the fact that ‘marriage is sacred’. Yes, there is a need to protect people’s personal privacy, but there then has to be a way to allow those who love us, who commit to us, who are in every way married to us, to be able to be with us without question. Why is this something everyone, especially anyone who claims to hold God and His love in their hearts, would want to deny? The current situation is cruel… it is discriminatory, and it is wrong. It is also just one of the many rights we take for granted that are denied to gay couples… because of our hatred; our misguided, ignorant hatred, of something that is different than that we have.

Our laws and society are based, to a large degree, on the ancient Romans and Greeks. Historically, they too were opposed to same sex relationships… sort of. In both ancient societies, it was ‘wrong’ for a man to have sexual relationships with another ‘equal’ man. It was perfectly fine to have sex with a younger man/boy, with a servant, with someone who was of a lower standing than you. It was a power thing, because as long as you were the ‘screwer’, it was cool – a lot like how things are dealt with in Rome now, ain’t it. As long as you were the one wielding the power, the one with the authority, it didn’t matter who you had sex with; it was fine. It was all in the fine print of the day… sort of like how the constitution guaranteed equal rights to all ‘free’ men. Homosexuality is not a disease, it is not a perversion, and it definitely is not new, so why do we all act like it is? It's been running rampant in the Vatican for centuries.

I am not angry, but I am frustrated about this issue. I don’t see why we would want to deprive anyone of love from whatever source it comes. We need more love… we need a hell of a lot more love. Why are we so threatened about what marriage is that we have to ‘lock’ the definition on it. Our language is a living language. Words and ideologies evolve every day, so why put the shackles on something that is supposed to be 100% based on love and respect, then add absolutely unattainable ideals to that word? The concept of marriage has evolved for centuries, and for the most part each change has been for the better. I’m glad we don’t pay for wives anymore. I’m glad that marriages are no longer nothing more than an addendum to a business merger, or contingent on a monetary transaction. Love is not about skin color, religion or gender. Freedom and human rights should not be about those things either.

If marriage is so damned special, if it is so sacred, so wonderful, then why in the hell would we not want to share it with everyone? It's sad, unbelievable, that what is supposed to be a loving, intelligent society still harbors such profound, unfounded hatred.

“I promise to be true to you in good times, and in bad, in sickness and in health. I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.”

These are the vows that I took, in a Catholic Church. This is the essence of any marriage. I see no reason to deprive anyone the right to make the same vow of love.

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