Opinions, Editorials and Essays

Should Gay Marriage Be Allowed

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Haven't we had enough of the government interference into our private lives? Why allow them yet another forum to dictate what goes on in the privacy of someone's bedroom? Is this a moral issue or is this a crossroad for cultural growth?

Marriage is a sacrement in many religions. Define sacrement? A rite believed to be a means of or visible form of grace, especially: a. In the Eastern, Roman Catholic, and some other Western Christian churches, any of the traditional seven rites that were instituted by Jesus and recorded in the New Testament and that confer sanctifying grace. b. In most other Western Christian churches, the two rites, Baptism and the Eucharist, that were instituted by Jesus to confer sanctifying grace.

The way many religious people see it, by allowing homosexuals to get married is to not only have the government impose laws pertaining to their religion [by forcing them to marry homosexuals], but to also spit on a sacred rite of passage by people deemed unworthy by the church to participate due to their "sin".

They argue that the purpose of marriage is to create children and start a family. They argue that just because people have the ability to do something doesn't mean they should or it is a good idea.

Many will point out that the Roman Empire fell due to allowing homosexuals to run rampant in the streets doing whatever they pleased. If we allow it here, our country will be destroyed.

Issue One - Government Interference To Deter Behavior

I have many problems with this point of view and reasoning. My biggest issue is the idea that the government can make the choice that is really between two people in the privacy of their own home they make.

People want a ban on gay marriage mistakenly thinking if laws are passed against homosexuals, they can "stop acting gay." Passing laws directed against gay people has never stopped it from happening and has only created intolerance for the people instead of the so-called offensive behavior. Much like the anti-liquor laws of the past which only served to create more criminals, intolerance and violent behavior, laws like banning gay marriage would only do the same thing.

If gay marriage is outlawed, how is it going to stop gay people from doing what they have always been doing - except they will be more secretive about it. Gay people will still continue living together if they so choose and have gay sex. They will do it whether they have legal permission to get married or not. But with the law giving the wink and nod of disapproval, the government gets around to turning their backs on those who get beat up, harassed or killed only because they are gay.

The reason homosexuals want the title of marriage is because of the legal protections given to married couples who really are no different than the gay couples. How does it harm anyone if a gay man wants to be at the bedside of his gay spouse when in the hospital because only next of kin are allowed to see the patient? And so what if a lesbian who spent most of her life caring for her lover wants life insurance benefits of her spouse? How does this harm you?

Issue Two - Marriage Is Not A Sacrament To Everyone

To have the religious right "own" the privilege of marriage is offensive to me. By letting the Christian right dictate a law based on their religion is unConstitutional. If they decide homosexuals cannot get married because it is only a rite of passage that belongs to God's people, they walk a fine line in decide who are God's people. Then most of the non-Christian/Muslim/Jewish world would not married by definition of the sacramental aspects of religionists.

I don't hear them interfering in the lives of other non-religious or other-religious couples that don't adhere to the sacrament of marriage. They don't say we can't be a legally married couple only because we are a man and a woman.

I can understand the concerns of the church that does not want to be forced by law to marry a couple they deem unworthy. As narrow-minded as that is, they have a Constitutional right to practice their religion without the government telling them how to follow it.

However, who said anyone was forcing the churches to marry gay couples? Marriage is legally viable if done in a courtroom or at sea. Do they also have a problem with these ventures for a wedding? What if a more open minded church decides to accept a gay couple?

If the requirement of the sacrament of Marriage is to be held in a church in front of God, then a lot more marriages, include among Christians/Jews/Muslims, are not valid as they did not take place in a church.

Issue Three - Define Family

Critics will argue that by allowing gays to get married is overturning an ancient traditional role of society. By letting gay people get married, we are setting a dangerous precedent that will allow other unions for which way may not favor such as plural marriages, marrying animals, marrying children, or marrying objects. This reasoning is absurd.

For starters, the issue in question is primarily the right of two consenting adults to enter into a legal, state sanction contract for life. This does not apply to children, animals and objects who cannot make binding legal contracts. As for plural marriages, this is a whole other issue, but in the same league. If they are consenting and agree to the same terms of what defines a marriage, why not? In times past, even if you regard the Bible as truly the word of God, people did get involved in plural marriages and it was sanctioned by God.

The definition of the family has always been reflected upon what is acceptable by the current society. The same exact arguments these people use against gay marriage are the same ones they used for interracial marriage [and used the Bible to support or hide behind their own prejudice and intolerance].

The role of the family, as some define it, is to be between a man and woman for the purpose of raising children. What about the many couples who remain childless by choice? We don't want to say they are not married because they choose not to have children, but allow them the same legal standing in our communities as those married with children.

And what of older couples who find themselves lonely and can no longer have children, can they get married? Of course we allow that because we don't want our elderly relatives to die alone, but this relationship cannot produce children, only companionship.

So how is this any different from two men or two women who want to get married? They may not have the biological means to create children off each other, but even if they choose to remain childless [and not adopt or take in children from a previous relationship or artificial means] why should we stop them from having a long term companion just like we allow the elderly to get married for the same reason?

While gay people in the past have never been "married", cultures without the Hebrew/Christian/Islam slant have either accepted that people were gay or tolerated them when they lived together or had relationships of such nature. Should we allow the point of view from a religious opinion dictate our society's definition of marriage or does society have the right to determine that definition?

Society has alway defined the role of marriage and it has always been changing throughout history.

Remember when women were only the property of men who could be easily dismissed with a divorce on false grounds because the man either wanted freedom or to take on another wench? This was perfectly acceptable back then.

How about the laws pertaining to the rights of the widow on the passing of her husband? If she had a dowry, depending on where she lived she may or may not be given full ownership on her property. It could have been passed on to her husband's parents or brothers or perhaps her son.

Women who were tossed aside by the men had no rights in a divorce settlement and were left at the mercy of society while men could feel free to remarry.

Do we accept such practices today? Did it make these things right? No, we adapt and change the roles people play in society all the time - it's called progress.

Marriage was where the man would take the woman off the burden of his parents and force her to wait on him and his needs while popping out as many children to add working hands to the field, even if it meant putting her health in jeopardy. The man was to work hard and do anything to support his family, even if it meant working himself into an early grave.

In some places, marriage is arranged and there is no true love element. The parents get together and bargain. The day of the wedding, they meet the first time when it is too late and they are stuck for life. Anything other than an arranged marriage is abhorrent.

Once upon a time, in our own country in the US, a slave master could have sexual relationships with the slave women and it would sometimes produce offspring of a mixed race. The theory was a mixed race child would be sterile like a mule and it would be confused over its place in society. After all, the slaves were inferior people and did not have the same rights and privileges as white couples. To suggest African slaves could ever have a marriage on the same level of seriousness as a white couple was offensive. And then to suggest African-Americans could ever marry a Euro-American was a repugnant thought that would bring about the downfall of society as we know it and ruin the whole institute of marriage. Did that happen? How exactly did allowing mixed races get married ruin our society? How exactly are children of mixed race couples at a disadvantage?

The critics talk loudly on the topic how gay people will ruin the institute of marriage, but fail to give any credible examples of how this will happen. It is based on fear, intolerance and ignorance, in other words, hysterical reasoning. Hysterical reasoning used against people always goes wrong and paints a portrait of an evil society in the pages of history [remember Germany during WWII?]

Issue Four - The Fall Of The Roman Empire

Before the big religions came around, people got married which proves this is not just a religious rite of passage. There have been societies where it was perfectly acceptable for a gay person or couple to raise children who were otherwise thrown out of their home and live as a family unit. People did not think twice about same sex people doing their thing, until the ancient Hebrew religion brought on intense intolerance for homosexuality.

Then around the time of the start of the Hebrew religion, they made up all kinds of rules to separate themselves from the so-called godless pagans around them. They practiced things like circumcision and outlawing homosexual acts. Keeping in mind those same laws which ban homosexuals and order them to be killed also fall under the same laws to kill disobedient children, liars, and fornicators, but we don't see them trying to pass such laws against the other sins, yet.

People against gay marriage often point out that rampant homosexuality was what brought down a massive, powerful empire. Is that how the Roman Empire fell? No.

Christianity, public heath issues, political corruption, unemployment, inflation, urban decay, inferior technology, increased military spending, attacks from angry "Barbarians", and spreading out too far and too fast are the many reasons for the fall. These are real reasons that have a proven cause for the fall. Homosexuality has never been proven to cause the fall as these other points.

Above and beyond anything, Christianity itself was the final nail in the coffin to doom this great civilization. With Christians going from the source of entertainment in the lion's den arena to the most powerful forces that even overpowered the Emperor's rules, it was doomed. The Emperor had such great power and did not rely on anyone telling him how to run his empire. When Constantine discovered the Christian faith, he used his right as emperor to impose a mandate that all should follow the religion of the state.

All money that should have gone for improvements, research, and military now went to the creation of new churches and in support of spreading the religion. This was bad timing on his part. As the emperors before him made the Roman Empire a great force by conquering lands where people already lived, they had a path of those who begrudgingly joined the empire on the assumption they would be taken care of by this great government. Promises were not kept and there was not enough money to meet their needs. The Empire was in shambles and people were starting to grumble. Of course, now they could be pacified with a new religion turning them meek and mild mannered and by giving the religious leaders more power to control their local people and keep them in line by holding religion over their heads.

Still, some groups were not to go out silently and kept attacking the Roman Empire city by city until they reached Rome. They were called Barbarians, but it was not just one group from one area. The so-called Barbarians were looked down upon by the Romans who felt they were more sophisticated and better trained than these peasant people from various locations of their once conquered lands. They made the mistake of sending their troops out all over every corner of the empire leaving many areas unprotected, including in Rome itself. They were short staffed and could not handle all the invaders. This pecked away at their power immensely.

The new Christians were concerned about these attacks, but became pacifists and did little to nothing to stop the invaders. These people thought Christ was going to come back anytime soon, so what was the point in furthering research in science, medicine and improvements to the purpose of the common good? The Dark Ages were beginning to close the minds of the masses.

Political corruption ran rampant in the Empire with those in power who would compromise their position for more gold. When the Church took over in the role of power, they became the corrupt instrument that even the emperor's people had to pay homage in order to get what they wanted.

These are definable moments which contributed to the fall. Hysterical reasoning is the only way one can contribute homosexuals to the decline of the Roman Empire. Before the Christians, the gay men and women were free, prosperous and considered equal citizens in the once thriving Empire.

The Bottom Line

We don't know why gay people are that way beyond any reasonable doubt. Some say it is genetic or coated in the chromosome which determine the sex at conception. Others say it is a mental illness, or they were in a traumatic event, or since it is "chic" to be gay people are trying it on for size. Is it a choice or is this something they are?

That is beside the point. If they can't help being who they are, then to deny them the right to get married would be like denying a person with a genetic disease from getting married because they were born that way. Even if it were a lifestyle choice, by telling two consenting adults they have no right to live together as a couple is an invasion on their right to privacy by the government which is far worse than any perceived notion of what people think gay people getting married will do to our society.

Getting married is a very important and personal decision that should not be taken lightly. It is a contract between two consenting adults to love, honor and respect each other in good times and in bad times, through sickness and in health, for better or for worse until death do you part. The legal ramifications of accepting a gay couple means our society must now be forced to take gay people as first class citizens with full rights just like everyone else.

Just because we make it legal does not mean everyone will participate. Look at all the straight singles out there that have no intention of being tied down.

Just because people marry does not mean they will remain faithful and committed. Look at how many straight couples get divorced or cheat on their mates!

Just because people marry does not mean they must raise children. Many straight couples choose to be childless. Even if a gay couple wants to raise children, what exactly is the harm? Is it better that a child remains an orphan in state custody or in a home with two people who love the child? Gay sex in front of the kids? Not any more so than straight sex in front of the kids.

There really is no strong case against gay marriage except the hysterical logic that comes from hiding behind the Bible and other Holy works that prohibit homosexual acts. I am still waiting for convincing proof of how it will cause the downfall of society. Until then, I would prefer if religions would stop trying to impose themselves on the law of the land over people who don't buy into it.

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