Saturday, September 08, 2012

Gay Marriage: Acceptance, Legitimacy + the Institution

What issue is discussed the most and has no resemblance to the true significance of it in our current declining society? Gay Marriage. I wish my Facebook Zombie friends cared even 1/10th as much about some important things like national bankruptcy, endless war, drone killings of US citizens, and Wall St crimes gone unpunished as they do about gay marriage (SSM). Many young folks are too young to remember when AIDS was running rampant through the gay male community. AIDS slipping into the straight blood stream through the problem of gay blood donors infecting products used by hemophiliacs or blood transfusions for new mothers scared everyone and angered many. I recall the half serious joke, 'let's create gay island, let them live peacefully there, and we won't get AIDS'. It has been just 20 years after those conversations and fears, and now the battle is for gay marriage. "It's time" is the chant, as if gays have been waiting so long for marriage. Remember 40 years ago gays went to bars with blacked out windows, and now "it's time" to let them have the right to get divorced. Make no mistake about it, any fool can get married in a ceremony. It just won't be recognized by the government and you don't have the right to legal splitting up of assets through divorce. That is not the point. Civil unions have had success ni states that don't want gay marriage. Civil unions weren't enough. Advocates want that word marriage. A problem no one seems to pay attention to with regards to gay marriage is the problem of legitimacy. Years ago, the brilliant William Safire wrote an interesting column on same sex marriage. What he wrote nearly a decade ago is true today. There is the issue of acceptance, there is the issue of legitimacy and there is what the word marriage means to us all.

The rest of the nation, all 96% of straight America, had to learn to tolerate gays (despite gay men spreading AIDS and molesting boys at far higher rates than non-gay men molest kids). No more hitting them for being gay, no more hating them for being gay and stop with the gay jokes unless you cloak it in a Hollywood sitcom or movie. That is not enough. To have a standing in polite society, you must obey and not mock them. Gays are pretty protected now to the point where no matter the celebrity, they better not use any negative gay word or face shaming, a 2 minute hate and in some cases fines (NBA fined Kobe Bryant). The SSM supporters in the last year have tried to strip a 2nd tier fast food joint of their right to free speech and freedom to do business as well as constantly tell Christians (never Muslims) to disregard religious beliefs (secretly, because SSM suporters laugh at religion) and support SSM you stupid bigots. The entire move for marriage boils down to what marriage conjures up in the mind. It's about acceptance. For all of those stable gays who had long term relationships, but mom and dad never marked the anniversary, marriage gives a big seal of approval "See mom + dad, I'm MARRIED, it's real! You need to recognize my relationship that I know you secretly don't value as much as my sibling's marriage". Gays know that under the surface of 'we treat you just the same' is that natural 'it's different' feeling. A ring and a government certificate saying it is legal might help, but it isn't going to change a thing. Actually, it might create new problems.

Think about a wedding ceremony. There are big pageants, religious ceremonies, secular settings and quasi-pagan ceremonies. People make it their thing. It's literally just a ceremony for a contract (and a bad one at that). A pretty big chunk of weddings are in churches. Even if gay marriage is imposed on us from legal court filings, the courts will still recognize the right for religions to say no. This should be the end of it. Secular non-church ceremonies for gays, and straights will get the same secular and religious options as before. Freedom of religion still holds. Wait, I just pointed out that gays won't get religious settings (unless that religion approves it, which are few with dwindling parishioners). That is not the same, and it's not like SSM supproters respect the Christians in our country or their beliefs, so what do you think they'll push for next? They'll trot out lifetime Catholics, Christians and Jews (no Muslims) and say "I want my marriage to be just like the others, I want the right to get married in my church". The push will then be on to order churches to perform ceremonies that are against their beliefs (watch for Dems who say freedom of worship instead of freed of religion). That is why Christians are fighting SSM so ferociously. It's not just about the basic same gender sin connection; they see what the next step is. Civil unions weren't enough, and who knows if govt sanctioned secular ceremonies will be. It's the final push for acceptance. Let's make those backwards and bigoted Christians accept my lifestyle. This isn't all gay activists, and I'd even argue this is more straight behavior. After a few years of watching this unfold, straights seem to be more thrilled by SSM than gays. It's so straights can say "see I accept them, now you will too you evil Christian rednecks" (I'm generalizing but it's close to all all of the Facebook posts I see). What none of these straights see is the huge problem of legitimacy.

Legitimacy comes with acceptance not from imposition. People have learned to tolerate gays, and this is still a learning process (especially with loyal Democrat voting blacks). Tolerance does not equal acceptance. Very religious people, whether Christian, Jewish or Muslim, will probably never accept gays. This is where the government imposing gay marriage on the nation will run into roadblocks. Gays do want their relationships to be considered legitimate just like anyone else. This matters to them because roughly 40 years ago they had bars with blacked out windows. Besides the very religious folks out there, there will always be a segment of people who would view civil unions as 'play marriage'. Even if the government imposes SSM, many straights will look at the low numbers of SSM (seriously, NY has had no rush of marriages) as well as the future high lesbian divorce rate (Scandanavian countries show this) and the lack of children in these marriages, and consider them not quite the real thing. There will always be something off. They won't be considered legit. Honestly, something feels off for straight marriages without kids. It might not be voiced in front of gays, but it will be discussed by the straight couple on their drive home with a joke or two (How many times can Kate get married and divorced in one decade?). Legitimacy is also why the very vocal anti-SSM crowd doesn't want the term marriage used. Marriage has positive connotations and associations. Letting SSM be marriage rather than civil unions implies we think it's normal or standard. They do not want to have a nation endorse what they consider horrible. I've had a similar discussion before with a lesbian. Being gay happens in the natural world, therefore it is natural, but since it happens 3.5% of the time, it is not normal.

The fight over legitimacy, positive connotations, and normal is at the heart of it all. It is what marriage means to us. We all know the divorce rate is 40%. That is atrocious and worthy of several essays on its own. What is left out of that discussion though is what the marriage starts out as. Sure, some are shotgun or maybe flushed romances, but all marriages start out with that utopian dream that these two people love each other enough to want to be together until death do they part. When straights get married, you even envision what the kids will look like. You look at the oldest couple there who have been together 50 years, and see their progeny. That is part of the gays problem. They are same gender, so kids only enter the picture through adoption or through the marvels of modern science. I'm all for loving, planned families. I support them. I just question how many gays really want SSM. I question how many will want kids. I question why so many straights want other straights to sacrifice freedom of speech (the chik-fil-a fiasco) or their religious beliefs all so maybe 10% of 3.5% can have their marriages recognized by the government. That is most disturbing to me.

As a tangent about the minds of the straights who loudly push SSM, I think much of it comes from their wish to re-enact anything resembling the '60s civil rights era (last time liberalism had a real fight), a wish to see a social issue that they support win and not cause damage, a f*ck you to Christians, and a nice way to signify that they are a good person as many white Dems no longer believe in God or follow a religion. The crusade of winning a right for someone is ingrained in modern Dems; this hits the nostalgia buttons hard. This is also a social issue that doesnt have a lot of negative externalities unlike all the black AA programs, LBJ great society programs or even the ab0rtion stuff. We're 50 years into the Great Society programs and AA stuff and blacks really are no better and in many socioeconomic measures, worse off. Abortion still deals with dead babies, and it's a bit creepy how 1.4 mil abortions happen ever single year, but no Dem ever highlights it. We have cheap birth control yet still 1.4 mil people kill heir babies (95% of time, it's simply mom's choice, no rape, no health issue)? These next two bits factor more on white Dems as black and hispanic Dems don't support SSM (dirty secret why SSM may never happen is the Latino vote might become big enough to block it) and are still very religious in comparison to white Dems. Christians will never truly accept gays, so this is a big FU to them by libs. It also acts as a marker to say I am morally superior because I wish to give these gays the same rights as us. Liberals have no religious moral grounding anymore. They use things like environmentalism, eating habits, SSM support and 'inclusion' to signify their moral superiority; not simply following some 'silly code' in an old book. Bah, how lame. They just try to one up each other with the flavor of the month. I'm specifically thinking about the libs who protested nuclear energy as it was bad for the environment 25 years ago, but now it's good because it doesn't release CO2. Their thoughts: "Come on, what's the harm with letting gays get married, and I get to rub it in white religious folks' faces and claim to be enlightened. Pay no attention to my gay jokes when gays aren't around!!!!"

Where does this go? How does this wrap up? The SSM supporters better hurry because by the time Latinos make up enough fo the vote, they will probably block state initiatives for SSM in soem BIG states. There is no discourse from the SSM amateur activist side besides 'it's time' or 'you should support it, what are you a homophobe'. Homophobe is one of the dumbest terms ever created. People arent homophobic; they don't like gays. Men might be autohomophobic (fearful of being gay themselves). As a straight man, I'd say many straight women love gay men; lesbians no fricking way. Straight men, like myself, generally don't care about gays, and if they show some emotion it is usually laughing at them, being annoyed by them when they are in drama prissy mode, or pitying them (the lesbians who try hard to be boys). SSM activists, and their amateur foot soldiers on social media, would be a lot smarter to try to talk to their opponents instead of just calling them names. No one ever changes to your side if you call them a bigot or Nazi. Use reason. I view SSM as maybe priority #127 on our current priority list in the USA. I view marriage as a contract, a sacred one at that not to be taken lightly, and consenting adults regardless of gender should be able to form that contract (yeah, I support polygamy on similar grounds). I do believe churches under the freedom of religion have a right to say 'not under our roof'. That is just how gays are going to have to deal with it. The government may accept and legitimize it, but your church, your community or your friends and family might not. Truthfully, gay couples make their community (which skews heavily gay) and their community would accept it. If you look at the circle of many gays, like all other groups, they seek each other out. Let's use reason and rational discourse to settle this. Let's also respect the wish of the people in a community to say "the law may give you this 'right', but I still won't consider it legit". This might be a state by state issue, and gays may just have to seek states that allow SSM kind of like gun owners seek states that have a pro-gun legal system. A government may impose this, but they cannot regulate the mind or the heart. A better approach for advocates of SSM is to start with reason and logic, not emotional pleas and name calling.

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