At the center of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want. -- Lao Tzu

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Musings on Gay Marriage

Not that this blog is being widely read or anything but I have a need to express myself on this issue of gay marriage. And it's really less about gay marriage than it is a diatribe about the incestuous relationship politics has with religious extremism in the country.
Since when did the Religious Right come to speak for everyone in the country? This country, where Boomers have divorced and remarried more than any generation. This country where Boomers indulged in drugs, sex, and rock and roll in their youth...where they now, because they are getting closer to death, have decided that they "need to get right with G-d" and know what is best for the rest of us. Boomers who want to protect trees and water. Boomers who think it's OK to kill babies for any reason, after all it's the woman's "CHOICE" and she alone should decide. Boomers who are sucking the public coffers dry with their COPD, cirrhosis, and other "diseases of vice"...are the same people who voted overwhelmingly against Prop 8. And I DO NOT GET IT.
What is the big deal with gay marriage? It doesn't take anything away from anyone. That two men can have right of survivorship does not diminish my marriage in the least. In fact, what diminishes my marriage is the disgusting rate of divorce in this country. Heterosexual marriage isn't stable folks. Not on the whole. My marriage, and the cohabitation period that preceded it, brings our relationship up to 18 yrs and going strong still. That makes us an aberration among our parents, where there have been 13 divorces and 12 remarriages! That's just our parents. Among our close friends and siblings, we have already seen four marriages dissolve. Where is the strength of marriage? I don't see very many people who ACTUALLY mean the vows they take. In fact it seems more like there is an unspoken last sentence in the vows, "Until I get bored or something better comes along."
Keith Olberman's commentary on this issue has been widely spread on-line (google it) but here's an excerpt:

This is about the… human heart, and if that sounds corny, so be it.

If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not… understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don’t want to deny you yours. They don’t want to take anything away from you. They want what you want — a chance to be a little less alone in the world.

Only now you are saying to them — no. You can’t have it on these terms. Maybe something similar. If they behave. If they don’t cause too much trouble. You’ll even give them all the same legal rights — even as you’re taking away the legal right, which they already had. A world around them, still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying, no, you can’t marry. What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn't marry?

I keep hearing this term “re-defining” marriage.

If this country hadn’t re-defined marriage, black people still couldn’t marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal… in 1967. 1967.

The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn’t have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it’s worse than that. If this country had not “re-defined” marriage, some black people still couldn’t marry…black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not “Until Death, Do You Part,” but “Until Death or Distance, Do You Part.” Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized.

You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are… gay.

And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing — centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children… All because we said a man couldn’t marry another man, or a woman couldn’t marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage. How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the “sanctity” of marriage rather than render the term, meaningless?

What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don’t you, as human beings, have to embrace… that love? The world is barren enough.

It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.

And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling. With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?

With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate… this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness — this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness — share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Now, maybe the best answer to this problem, is to divorce our politics from religion. Get marriage OUT of the hands of the government and make it the sole possession of the various churches. Have us ALL have to get civil unions if we want right of surviorship, tax benefits, etc...and the religious ceremony we all recognize will become just a personal expression of faith and belief and totally optional.
I'm for getting rid of all religion from all of the public arena. I'm tired of hearing hate wrapped in religious fervor. I'm tired of being exposed to the Bible thumpers as they dare to tell me what G-d wants for the rest of us. NEWSFLASH: G-d doesn't love anyone more than anyone else. G-d is a human construct to try to impose order and it's time as a rule book has come and gone. It can be a deeply meaningful PERSONAL expression of faith and a way to live life, but it's PERSONAL. You don't get to impose your way of living on another person.
The Religious Right in this country is little better than the Taliban. Small minded, weak followers, giving in to the mob mentality and given to acts of great hate and anger. A far cry from what they SAY they are all about. And I'm tired of that too.
Don't like gay marriage...DON'T HAVE ONE. Just as you don't want their lifestyle forced on you, I am tired of seeing you force your lifestyle, the asceticism of Christianity especially, forced on the rest of the country. Further, the Mormons spending $20million dollars to influence voting in another state should kick off a full scale investigation and TAX the Mormons retroactively as a private institution without the protection afforded religions. And if any religious group should be wary of people poking their noses into marriage it should be the Mormons. Nothing more than a cult founded on a crazy man's word, with a very public history, and continuing practice of polygamy and pedophilia (many of the "brides" are married off to men in their 40's when they are 12 or 13.) The whole thing makes me sick.
Religion ruins everything it touches when it's applied to the world at large. And it's time we shove it back into the homes and private places it belongs.