Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Gay marriage

So, I've been doing a lot of thinking about this gay marriage topic, which seems to be all over the news recently. Its coverage of course is another one of Carl Rove's masterful strokes, as there is really no way would could possibly pass an amendment to outlaw it, is there? I mean the Constitution clearly has nothing to do with whether people of the same sex want to co-habitate. The proposed amendment is obviously being put together to fuel the hate and drives the ultra-conservative corners of the Republican party. That hate should then manifest itself by energizing the forces for the upcoming elections... or something like that. Of course, then again, as I've said often enough, I thought both Phil English and George Bush were such buffoons that they would never be elected to public office, much less re-elected. So, it's probably pretty important we don't take our eye off the ball as far as this propsed "amendment" is concerned.

That all said, before Bush won the Republican nomination some six years ago, I did consider myself a conservative. And I've attempted to research both sides of the coin as far as the gay marriage quesiton is concerned. Those against have a valid argument. They also have some invalid ones as well, I'm sure, but the main gist of the one I consider valid is that the benefits for married people are set up to encourage and assist with the nurturing of families - which represent the future survival of the species, so we need to assist with that. Makes sense and because biologically, at least traditionally, gay couples can't have children, I'm kind of down with that.

Okay, but let's flip the coin over for a minute. One of the reasons I've heard gay people arguing in favor of gay marriage is that married couples are eligible for something like 1,000 benefits that gay people currently cannot receive. So, that's a bit of a self-centered argument that is not going to fly. I mean, if I'm not gay, am I really going to care if gay people get more benefits, especially if my tax dollars have to pay for them?

To make the argument in favor of gay marriage, I think you need to look at the benefits of marriage itself. Do they go further than the production of children? In his guest Friday Forum column in the June 16 edition of the Erie Times-News, Al Richardson provides some excellent reasons on why we should support gay marriage and why it benefits society. It is this type of reasoning that makes me think we should support gay marriages - and definitely outlaw them through a constitutional amendment.

My personal thoughts on the matter involve evolution theory and consideration of the fact that our society has evolved to the point where gay marriage is normal and natural and should be supported as such. Maybe this wansn't always the case, but there was also a time when we didn't have computers on every desk or even indoor plumbing in most houses. You can't deny that society changes and evolves. Instead of fighting all change, it should be embraced when it makes sense. In the case of gay marriage, it seems to make sense, now.

Of course, I'm open to hearing opposing views, but to date, I have not heard a lot of good arguments as to why gay marriage should be outlawed. If someone could show me some numbers as to how much the legalization of gay marriage was going to cost me and then present me with reasons as to why it's not going to necessarily improve our society, I'd be more than willing to listen.

That's all for now.



Michael K Mahler said...

Thank you for a very well reasoned post. As one of the co-editors of Erie Gay News, I obviously agree with the position that same sex couples should have equal marriage rights.

We should also be suspicious of the argument that "no kids = no marriage" As I wrote to the Erie Times News this morning, my grandmother got married again last fall. At the age of 88. My mother has been married for my stepfather for 20 years, and they got married when Mom was no longer able to have additional children. My sister and her husband are choosing not to be parents.

So, why aren't any of these marriages disallowed by law? An 88 year old woman getting married will produce exactly as many children as 2 people of the same gender. Why should one marriage be entitled to the 1,138 special rights that the other couple is denied?

Additionally, I have a good friend who is trying to have a child with her husband. If it were to be the case that the biological issues that would prevent childbirth are due to her, should her husband be obligated to end the marriage to marry someone who can reproduce?

My cousin and his partner are the proud dads of a boy that adopted from a very disadvantaged background. How is this any different from a straight couple raising an adopted child, if not any child?

May I also point out that in the 42 years I have been alive, the number of human beings living on this planet has doubled. Dying out from under breeding is NOT a crisis that humanity is facing.

DocTorDee said...


I agree with you about this being (yet another) evolutionary issue. A brief study of history quickly reveals that there are thousands of issues that, at one time or another, were clarified and made more acceptable to society via education, conversation, and the passage of time.

Slavery used to be legal in the US, for God's sake. And Mick Jagger used to be Satan himself, according to his critics of the time.

Like Joe Campbell says, "Every failure to cope with a life situation must be laid, in the end, to a restriction of consciousness. Wars and temper tantrums are the makeshifts of ignorance; regrets are illuminations come too late" (Hero 121).

The talk about amending the Constitution is not only a diversion, it's borderline psychotic, as it represents one group of Americans trying to permanently eliminate the Constitutional rights of another group...all in the name of God. That's pretty screwed up, if you ask me.

As for the Conservative vs. Liberal thing...I thought Conservatives were all about keeping the government out of personal lives.

So that's why they're for:

Amending the Constitution
Running up huge deficits
Launching a ridiculously costly open war against Iraq

None of these hallmarks of the current regime strike me as Conservative. They're so off track that Karl Rove needs to toss some red meat at the base. It's fairly sick and I'm sad that people don't see through the rhetoric.

Seems to me that current US Conservatives are not very conservative.

It almost comes down to a debate between New Testament and Old Testament. The New T people follow christ, who was accepting and forgiving. The Old T people believe in a different god, one who is violent and vengeful and unforgiving.

That's it for now.


Ralph said...

Hmm.. I had posted a comment/response here, but it seems to have disappeared, maybe never been posted. I've read some complaints recently about blogger and I agree these word verification things can be a pain. I think about half the time I mess up. My comment had to do with Michael making a good point about people today getting married for reasons other than having children. This is some of the evolution I think we're dealing with.


Stan Langerhaus said...

I would agree that the movement to amend our nation's (and our state's) constitution to specifically identify the concept of marriage is pathetic at best and rephrensible at worst. And I beleive the previous posters haev stated the reasons why adequately enough.

That said, there are some things about this debate that have never been made clear to me. One is why are gays insistent on the term "marriage?" If a state passed a "civil union" law that affords all the benefits of marriage, is that acceptable to gays? It seems as though it would not be to many gays, and I do not understand why that is so.

Michael K Mahler said...

Hey Stan, It is a VERY frequent misconception that "civil unions" is the same thing as "marriage" with a different name. There are 1,138 special rights at the federal level that ONLY accrue to legally married couples.

The issue is that the laws that give married couples special rights, privileges and etc exist at every level of government. Adding a new class, like a different name for marriage that only extended to same sex couples and that was 100% the same in terms of rights, would mean amending laws everywhere in the US and internationally.

This would be roughly analogous to changing everyone who is named John to be named Nhoq. This would mean finding every document everywhere and changing ALL of them. We either expand the legal definition of marriage to cover same sex couples, at which point all of the laws referring to married couples would extend to same sex married couples as well, or we change every aw from local ordinances to county law to state law to federal law. Miss something in one law or one law, and folks might be screwed over in an important way.

Remember how well "separate but equal" worked out for segregated schools and etc? Separate laws for a class of people is inherently unequal.