Posts Tagged ‘Gay Marriage’

The Thinker

Advice to Democrats

I love to give advice, even though if I am inconsistent in following my own advice. Recently after their losses in the latest election I gave some advice to Republicans. Today, I figure turnabout is fair play. Here is some advice for Democrats.

Democrats, it’s easy to assume that due to changing demographics that Republicans are in permanent decline and that in a few election cycles Congress will resemble itself during the 1960s and 1970s, when it was overwhelmingly Democratic. That may happen but if you think this will happen solely because of demographic changes, you are wrong. It may not happen at all.

Republicans still control the House, and a majority of governorships and state legislatures. In short, the party remains a huge and powerful political force. Even at the national level, Democratic control is fragile. Democratic control of the House remains elusive and made less likely by redistricting and the resulting highly gerrymandered districts. In the Senate, Democrats survived a very tough election and actually added a couple of seats to their majority. Our 55 seats include two independent senators caucusing with the Democrats. In 2014, Democrats will again be fighting headwinds as more Democrats run for reelection than Republicans.

Of course to really get things done in the Senate a party needs a supermajority, which is 60 seats. However, even when we have 60 seats, it is very easy for Democrats to split into factions. Democrats rarely show the sort of unanimity that Republicans do. The Affordable Care Act was a prime example, passing late and watered down, with certain senators in conservative leaning states (like Max Baucus) leveraging oversized influence and some senators (Joe Lieberman comes to mind) acting obnoxious and petulant. In retrospect, it’s amazing it was passed into law in even its watered down state.

The news is better on the presidential front. It used to be that by default Republicans were more likely to win presidential contests, due to various demographic and electoral vote advantages. Those days appear over. It is unlikely that any true conservative Republican (at least “conservative” in its modern and antediluvian form) can win for the foreseeable future. Of course, it all depends on who gets nominated, and arguably Democrats have nominated some stinkers with little national appeal including John Kerry, Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis. In short, when choosing nominees Democrats can tend to be as highly-partisan as Republicans, choosing from their hearts instead of their heads. Choose someone without broad appeal and the party is likely to lose despite favorable demographics.

Looking at the 2012 election, two factors worked in the Democrats favor. First were the obvious demographic changes that are turning traditionally red states blue. I live in such a state (Virginia), but it is blue principally only in national elections. We have a Republican house and senate, and a Republican governor, and an attorney general on the right side of the Tea Party. Other states like Ohio, traditionally a swing state, have a similarly Republican disposition but are turning reliably blue in national elections. The most important reason that Democrats won this time is that they turned out the base. Democrats outnumber Republicans nationally, so they win when they turn out the base. They tend to lose, and lose badly, when they stay home. Independents tend to swing more toward voting Republican, so turning out the base is critical for maintaining and extending Democratic control. This means that selecting candidates on all levels that both excite the base but have mainstream appeal is critical for increasing Democratic power.

We may have a few cycles where Republicans will give Democrats a break. This is because Republicans have not really come to terms with their loss, which means finding a strategy appeals to moderates. At least at the moment, the critical mass of Republicans figure doing more of what lost them the last election, just with more sincerity, is how to get back into power. Perhaps after a couple more election drubbings they will figure it out.

Democrats have a tendency to settle into comfortable factions within the party. This is less of a concern than it used to be, as conservative Democrats are in decline and liberal Democrats are ascending. When this happens, Democrats can become as ideologically stubborn as Republicans. However, it tends to hurt them more than it does Republicans. One of these fault lines has traditionally been in the area of gun control. Thoughtful Democrats need to discern between issues that they can win on and those they cannot. The gun control debate cannot be won at the ballot box, at least not for a couple of generations. Consequently there is no point wasting energy advocating for such issues. It will only boomerang against Democrats, despite the fact that sensible gun control regulation probably makes complete logical sense.

Instead, Democrats need to concentrate on issues that appeal to both Democrats and Independents generally. Gay marriage is one of these issues where the national consensus has changed. Americans fundamentally agree with the notion of equality and fairness, at least under the law. Being the party of the workingman is never bad either. Democrats need to continue to advocate for people at the low and middle income levels, and target policies that help these groups. There is no downside to this. Democrats also need to avoid bad habits, like sucking up to Wall Street, which is almost always going to vote Republican, or at least for the party which panders to their selfish interests the most. That Wall Street almost invariably does better under Democratic administrations seems lost on them.

Democrats also need to advocate for policies that are in the best interest of people generally, not necessarily those that are in the best interest of their most vocal groups. A good example of this is public schools and support of teachers’ unions. Democrats should insist that every child deserves a high quality education, even if they cannot afford it. They should not assume that a dysfunctional public school system that puts the needs of teachers ahead of students is acceptable. The public school model is clearly under stress, particularly in poorer neighborhoods. Democrats should be open to charter schools particularly in districts where public schools are clearly below par. They should also advocate for policies that nurture healthy students so they have the capacity to learn. This may mean, for example, that three healthy meals a day are served at schools. The school may need to morph to be more than a center of education, but be thought of as a second home for students, whose parents likely aren’t working 9 to 5. They should advocate for safe public housing for poorer students, with residency contingent upon good behavior and for the upkeep of rental property. It should be obvious to Democrats that the real problem with education in poor areas is not substandard teachers (although certainly there are many of them) but are mostly due to environmental factors. These include the lack of affordable healthy food, and stressful families and neighborhoods. Republicans, of course, will choose to remain clueless of this reality, since their brains cannot seem to absorb that a multiplicity of factors affect ability to learn, not evil union-loving teachers.

In short Democrats, having power is not about living drunk on the privilege of power when you get it. It’s about refusing to be headstrong when you are granted power and keeping a relentless focus on improving the common good. Democrats have to earn their keep. When they get sloppy for too long, they will lose power. More importantly, much of the good they have done can be lost too, and that would be the true tragedy.

 
The Thinker

Homophobia is receding faster than anticipated

New York State recently became the latest state to permit gays and lesbians to wed. That leaves six states, the District of Columbia and the Coquille Indian Tribe that have achieved enlightenment. New York’s approval of gay marriage was especially important because of the size of its population. With its passage, the number of citizens who can marry regardless of their sexual orientation effectively doubled. In addition, six other states allow civil unions but do not allow gay marriage, including the populous state of California.

Even here in Virginia the homophobes are receding. In 2006, Virginia passed a constitutional amendment forbidding gay marriage in the state (already illegal by law) that also explicitly ruled out civil unions as well. Now just five years later, according to a surprising Washington Post poll, a majority of Virginians now approve of gay marriage. I don’t expect Virginia will approve gay marriage anytime soon, but I now think it is likely that I will live to see gay marriage in Virginia. Back in 2006, I believed it would take at least fifty years. Now I am betting it will take fifteen years.

Even weirder, at least one organization staunchly opposed to gay marriage has given up. Jim Daly, head of Focus on the Family says his organization will no longer try to stop gay marriage legislation. They think it’s a lost cause, in part because they can interpret demographic trends. The younger generation is fine with gay marriage; it’s only those sixty plus who still have heartburn over it.

Overall, homophobia seems to be receding. Even Republicans are caring less. The social conservatives are still against it, but there is a significant libertarian wing of the Republican Party that sees gay marriage as a civil right. More and more Republicans are realizing their inconsistency of promoting a “pro-freedom” agenda while restricting civil liberties for others. Fundamentalists remain largely aghast, but even in conservative communities it’s not unusual for people to know someone who is gay. That’s the problem with homophobia. Once you know someone who is gay, and particularly if you get to know them in any depth, you feel sorry if they do not have the same right to marry as you do. If you have any compassion in your heart, it is hard not to just say yes.

The few opposed to gay marriage who are evidenced-based can look to states like Massachusetts, which instituted gay marriage in 2004, and realize that it has not become a Gomorrah, at least no more than it was before the law took effect. A few years ago I spent a week touring New England, where it’s hard to find a state without gay marriage or civil unions. It felt more like Norman Rockwell territory than many deeply red states I also visited, like Arizona and South Dakota. In New England, there are lots of tidy towns with white picket fences, and more churches per square mile than in the South (perhaps because the population density is higher). For the most part, gay couples are no longer the least bit remarkable in New England. You don’t feel the need to discuss it with your neighbor because you have grown inured to the whole phenomenon. To the extent you think about it, it is to wonder why people in other states are still states up in arms about the whole idea. Where’s the harm? Where’s the implosion of society?

As time passes, the arguments of those opposed to gay marriage only become weaker tea. As I outlined some time ago, marriage between one man and one woman was hardly the historical norm, and in many parts of the world (particularly in Islamic countries) polygamy is as common as monogamy. At least one study suggests that same sex lesbian couples are proving to be better parents than heterosexual parents. In Canada, a study suggests that same sex couples are at least as good as heterosexual parents.

Other studies suggest just how weak other arguments are. Gay-friendly Massachusetts also has the nation’s lowest divorce rate. Divorce rates have not budged since gay marriage became law, as Charles Colson asserted they would in 2004. In fact, being evangelical is apparently more dangerous to your marriage than marrying a same sex partner. Divorce.com notes a study that evangelicals have a 43% divorce rate, which is greater than the national average.

President Obama says his views on gay marriage are “evolving”, but at a news conference yesterday he still could not come out and say he was in favor of gay marriage. He is in favor of equal rights for gays, including civil unions as long as “marriage” is reserved for heterosexual couples. One strongly gets the feeling that Obama is all for gay marriage, but he just does not have the courage to “come out of the closet” on the issue. I expect it will happen after elections next year, whether or not he wins.

It is easiest to manipulate people when you give them something to fear, but it’s clear that the more Americans encounter gays the less they are bothered by them and the more they are in favor of their equal rights, including the right to marry. Saying gay marriage should be illegal because it is immoral is not working too well either, as plenty of activities are immoral, but are not necessarily criminal (adultery and drunkenness comes to mind). Gay marriage seems to have no effect on society whatsoever, either for good or bad. The only thing that is clear is that more people who were denied certain freedoms based purely on their sexual orientation no longer have legalized discrimination working against them. They are freer to enjoy the blessings of liberty.

As a man married to the same woman for a quarter century, I want to give gays and lesbians the same chance at an enduring relationship that I have. Gay marriage clearly says that society wants to encourage serial monogamy between same sex couples, which seems moral to most people as well as inhibits the spread of social diseases. I suspect gay spouses will soon realize that a marriage is no panacea; it is not for us heterosexuals either. Any intimate relationship comes full of landmines as well as benefits.

Wise conservatives are realizing there is little traction on the issue anymore, so they best move on and find new bogeymen instead. Eventually all states will allow gay marriage, not because they necessarily agree it is moral, but because the costs of discriminating against gays will become too high. Over time, gays and lesbians will find incentives to move to gay-friendly states, and they will take their talents (and income) with them. In fact, it is easy to predict that states and cities will highlight their gay-friendliness as a marketing tool. In the end, it will be good old capitalism, not liberal values that are likely to give gays the right to marriage from sea to shining sea. When it happens, it is unlikely to be a moment for celebration. We will simply shrug our shoulders.

 
The Thinker

Civil marriage is still a civil right

Perhaps to really appreciate Valentine’s Day, you have to be single or divorced. When you are an old married dude like me, Valentine’s Day has a perfunctory feel to it. Of course, I get my wife a card, some chocolate and sometimes even some flowers. She does likewise. It should be a special day since after all it is a day that celebrates romantic love. Perhaps we could find ways to make the day more special. For us the truth is that we love each other the same every day of the year, so there is not much point in making a fuss over Valentine’s Day, beyond what is expected.

Absence does make my heart grow fonder. There are times when I feel if we really wanted to rekindle the old flame, we should spend a month apart. A week apart, which happens a couple times a year when I am off on business travel, definitely makes me miss my wife. I miss her as well as all those comfortable, somewhat nebbish things we do both together and apart, like sit three feet from each other while she inhabits one computer and I another but largely never speak. I imagine to feel so distracted that I craved her most of the time would take about a month. I really don’t know because in nearly a quarter century of marriage, we have not been apart for more than two weeks at a time.

Passionate love is designed to be fleeting. It tends to get more passionate with increased separation, up to a point. If your hormones remained as high as they are during the passionate love phase, you would live happy but die young. This is why many of us crave a lower intensity kind of love that amounts to the comfort and routine of being married. After a while, you take it for granted simply because it is so always available. We have someone to come home to. He or she may not be perfect, but neither are we. This low-key love that most of the time is pleasant rather than passionate seems to be the key for many to low blood pressure, health and long life.

Some of us would like this pleasant kind of love but haven’t found the right person yet. Others of us may have found the right person but cannot get married. The person they love inconveniently has the same sex as they do. Except in a handful of states they are out of luck. Perhaps they can live with their love, but they cannot do anything to make their relationship legal.

I do not know exactly how things would be between my wife and I right now had we decided to live with each other the last quarter century instead of tying the knot. I do know they would be a lot different. Would we have ever had a child? These days there is a lot less stigma associated with having a child out of wedlock but childrearing is so much less complicated when you are married. Our daughter could fall under my insurance. My wife of course would not be my wife, unless you count her as a common law wife, so she would have to fend for herself in the health insurance market. Frankly, I doubt we would still be together. We both wanted to settle down. Inhabiting a house together was nice, but until we were tied together legally, it didn’t feel quite right. Marriage was important because it meant we were an established and committed couple and could plan a future together in a straightforward and structured way.

It baffles me, particularly with the passing of each Valentine’s Day, why gays and lesbians cannot enjoy the simple right to a civil marriage. I could enumerate the many reason why denying civil marriage is so counterproductive to our society. However, the Reverend Evan Keely, an interim minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church I attend pretty much said it all in his succinct sermon Forty-Seven Theses that he delivered appropriately on Valentine’s Day Sunday. In addition, I have talked extensively about this injustice before.

Today, I simply want to say to my gay and lesbian brethren just how sorry I am that they were born into a society where they still cannot know the everyday pleasure of waking up with and interacting with a spouse. I never have to worry that my wife will be denied hospital visitation privileges, or that someone I trust can direct our financial affairs when I am unable to do so. I don’t have to worry about finding someone to accompany me to the hospital for outpatient surgery or to drive me home afterward. It comes implicitly with marriage. Having a spouse makes life so much less complicated in so many ways, while of course it introduces relational complexities as well. It is not fair, but I am fully vested in society and you, unless you live in a state that allows gay marriage, are not. Even if you happen to live in a progressive state like Massachusetts, in the eyes of the federal government you are still not married, and are treated as such.

Rest assured that this will change. In time, this injustice will be rectified and you will be treated as equally as the rest of us who happen to have been born with heterosexual orientations. I will not rest until you too can enjoy the right to live pleasantly (but not always with burning passion) with the blessing of civil society with the person you love.

 
The Thinker

Fathers are necessary

Polls indicate that a majority of Americans believe the word “marriage” should be reserved for a legal covenant between two people of opposite sexes only. Curiously, polls also show a majority of Americans are comfortable with two same sex partners having all the privileges of marriage as long as they don’t call it marriage. What is the difference anyhow?

As best I can figure out, same sex couples figure the difference is like having “separate but equal” schools for blacks and whites. Calling a legal relationship a different name when it is the same in every other way but the sex of the participants in their eyes suggests that their relationship is not as worthy of sanction as those between two people of opposite sexes. It’s like getting a silver medal when you earned the gold. For many heterosexuals, I think what really makes “marriage” a special word is that traditional marriages come with the potential of parenthood and this is special enough to make the distinction unique.

Not any more, obviously. My wife is a friend of a lesbian couple and one of the wives is pregnant. Naturally, she did not invite a male to have intercourse with her; a willing donor provided semen, which she obtained from her local sperm bank. Most kids get only one mother. This one will have two, which is twice as much of a blessing, I guess. What is noticeably absent though is the father. Does the absence of a father deprive the child of something important? For that matter, does the absence of a mother also deprive the child of something important? Do two mothers equal one mother and one father? Do two fathers equal one mother and one father?

These were questions I didn’t know I was struggling with until last night. After our traditional Thanksgiving Dinner featuring a potpourri of friends and family, the topic of two same sex parents came up. At our table were many of my wife’s friends from the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. I was washing dishes and minding my own business but listening to their conversation. As it turns out, I am perfectly okay with gay marriage. I think any two people of legal age who want to get married should have the privilege. They can have “I’m married” stamped on their foreheads if they want to and I would have no problem calling them Mrs. and Mrs. Jones or Mr. And Mr. Smith. Where I have some hesitation is when it comes to two people of the same sex raising their own children together. Is it a good or a bad idea?

Before I knew it, I had joined the conversation and stated an opinion that for me seemed almost right wing. Since the topic was in the context of two women, I said I thought the presence of a strong father figure was important for raising a healthy child. The same is true with a mother, of course. As proof, I pointed to the District of Columbia where black fathers living at home are almost an extinct species. Single mothers are raising the vast majority of black children in D.C., sometimes with the assistance of their grandmothers because the fathers long ago abandoned the mother. In D.C., a black child is lucky to see his real father on occasion, and even luckier if he is actually providing child support. Many of these youth have no idea who their father is, or if they do, their only memory of him is a distant one.

What is the impact of being nurtured without a strong father figure? Arguably, at least in D.C., it is devastating. How many of these youths who are currently doing drugs and getting involved in gangs would be doing so if they had a father in the household? It is hard to say for sure because I doubt there is much clinical research. I do think it is reasonable to assume that the incidence would be much lower.

I have not had the privilege of having a son, but I do have a daughter. I do know there are plenty of studies that suggest the presence of a strong father figure is a critical factor among those girls who grow into leadership roles as adults. I am not entirely sure how much of my daughter was shaped by my presence and nurturing these last twenty years, but it must be a large amount. How could it not? How would my daughter be different if my wife had been a lesbian instead, had been in a gay marriage, had been artificially inseminated and raised her with her loving partner of the same sex? Would something important be missing from my daughter as a result? Perhaps I overvalue my role as a father, but my guts says yes: a good father is necessary in raising happy and healthy children of any gender, as just as it is important for a child to also have a nurturing mother.

Obviously there are many bad marriages out there. There is no guarantee when two people get married and have babies that they will have the right stuff to raise their children into healthy, sane and productive adults. My suspicion is that children raised in dysfunctional marriages are probably healthier without that stress. With roughly half of marriages dissolving, one would have to assume the odds for children in traditional marriages are at best 50/50. Many, many factors influence children throughout childhood and adolescence, but it would seem obvious that parents are their primary influences. The health of the marital relationship should correlate closely to the likelihood of raising mentally healthy and fully functional children. That seems to be true on my block, where I spent the last sixteen years. The adult children who are now doing best tend to be from families with strong and nurturing parents. The struggling children seem to be from those that were rife with marital discord.

Like it or not, children will inculcate behavior modeled by their parents. My question: is there is something critical about having parents of the opposite sex to raising healthy children? Today, gay and lesbian couples no longer have to feel like parenting is off limits to them. What we do not really understand yet is what the long-term effects of children being raised by same sex couples will be. A correlation is made harder because there are so many bad traditional marriages out there too. It appears that even though I have some concerns that children raised by same sex couples may be missing something important (although I am not entirely sure what it is) it is happening nonetheless, and social scientists over the coming decades will have an opportunity to study its effects.

It could be that a child is raised by two people of the same sex will do just fine if both are positive and nurturing influences in their lives. They may grow up to be more tolerant people than they otherwise would be, which sounds like a good thing. Sons though may need to observe and pick up crucial male bonding behaviors from their fathers. It may be that the absence of this factor makes them less functional in society compared with others raised in traditional marriages. The problem is less acute for girls, since the number of men in gay marriages raising girls is much smaller.

I do know that in the District of Columbia, we seem to be raising an angry and dysfunctional generation of young men and women. There may be many factors causing this horrendous outcome, and poverty is certainly one factor, but the lack of strong and healthy male authority figures in these households is obvious. The problems in these communities were not nearly as bad when there were more intact marriages among African Americans. To me it seems reasonable to infer that if this can happen among African Americans, it can happen within any ethnic community.

The example in D.C. suggests to me that when it comes to parenting, we should proceed with caution. Our children should not necessarily become victims of a vast social experiment because newly liberated gay and lesbian couples also want to raise their own biological children. We do not fully understand the nature of nurturing, but I strongly suspect is not solely a feminine or a masculine thing. The masculine element exhibited in the role of a father seems to also be critical, for both boys and girls.

The cry to save the word “marriage” may at its root be nothing more than an inchoate feeling among many of us that we are playing with dynamite. The lessons in D.C. and many inner city communities ought to be red flags for us to think through the consequences of our actions before plunging headlong into them.

 
The Thinker

There’s a storm not coming!

The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is dreadfully concerned about gay marriage. I was hoping that maybe they were dreadfully concerned about the quality of marriage in this country for a change, as evidenced by our national divorce rate being between forty and fifty percent. I expected that all the bad marriages, divorces and the wreckage they cause would be of huge concern to NOM.

Ha ha! Of course not, at least not that much compared to the evil that gay marriage means … well, I am not sure exactly what it means to them except that they are afraid. If you haven’t already, watch their 60-second commercial and see if you can figure it out.

There’s a storm gathering. The clouds are dark. And the winds are strong. And I am afraid.

So some people are afraid, but of what? Oh, here we go:

Some who advocate for same sex marriage have taken the issue far beyond same sex couples. They want to bring the issue into my life. My freedom will be taken away.

So some people are afraid because same sex marriage will mean they will have less freedom. Perhaps they are worried that if their state can let gays marry then their state can also take away the right for heterosexuals to marry.  That doesn’t seem too likely as homosexuals comprise about three to five percent of the population. What other freedoms then could they be talking about?

I am a California doctor who must choose between my faith and my job.

Apparently, a doctor in California did not want to treat a lesbian patient who wanted to be artificially inseminated. The doctor refused because her patient was not married and that violated her beliefs. In this case, the California Supreme Court declared that the rights of the patient were more important than the rights of the doctor. The NOM seems to be arguing that physicians should be allowed to violate the law of the State of California and their Hippocratic Oath when it violates their personal beliefs. If all acts of conscience are excusable, can I decline a ticket for driving without my seat belt because it is against my beliefs? However, what really matters here is that this is a red herring. It has nothing to do with same sex marriage. The issue was facilitating having a child out of wedlock.

I am part of a New Jersey church group punished by the government because we can’t support same sex marriage.

This is one of these cases that is much ado about nothing. A New Jersey Methodist church owns a square mile of property along the Atlantic Ocean. The church is inland. They built a boardwalk and pavilion along the beach. The church allowed public weddings in the pavilion.  Two lesbians asked to use the pavilion for their wedding because it was for public use and were refused. Because the church allowed the pavilion to be used by the public rather than for church purposes, the state said it was taxable property. The church itself remains tax-exempt. The dispute here has to do with public use of property owned by a church and whether such property should be taxed. The lesbian couple has sued the church, but that is a civil suit. It is not an action by the government to lash out at those who object to gay marriage. Once again, the issue as portrayed in the ad has nothing to do with government being vindictive against churches that are against gay marriage.

I am a Massachusetts parent helplessly watching public schools teach my son that gay marriage is okay.

The concern here is that a public school teacher can say in the classroom that gay marriage is legal in the State of Massachusetts, which in fact it is. This is not advocating gay marriage; this is stating the truth. It is also a fact that gay marriage is not (currently) allowed next door in New York State. It would be factual for a teacher to state that too, but I bet this Massachusetts parent would not object. It sounds like this parent really wants to restrict which facts teachers can communicate to students. This is not freedom; it is censorship, which is its antithesis.

But some who advocate for same sex marriage have not been content with same sex couples living as they wish.

Say what? In most cases, same sex couples are not living as they wish; that’s why they and those of us who agree with them are petitioning for their right to marry! Moreover, if the U.S. Supreme Court had not invalidated all state sodomy laws, some of these gays and lesbians would still be lawbreakers and possibly in jail for the “crime” of having oral or anal sex.

Those advocates want to change the way I live. I will have no choice.

If the issue is gay marriage, since you are not gay how will that change how you live your life? If the issue is one of facing the law for doing things against your conscience, you are free to follow your conscience providing you do not mind being prosecuted. You can also petition to change the law. News flash: we are all required to obey the law. It is nondiscriminatory. We are required to obey the law even when it is inconvenient, even when laws are stupid. Are you requesting the right to choose which laws you will follow? If so, will you extend the same privilege to gays and lesbians? If not, why not?

The storm is coming. But we have hope. A rainbow coalition of people of every creed and color are coming together in love to protect marriage.

As a heterosexual married man, I can state for my wife and I that the vitality and continuance of our marriage has no relationship to whether gays can or cannot marry. It amazes me that anyone who is married could possibly believe otherwise. If you are married, do you really think that your marriage is more likely to crumble because gays can marry? In the event I divorce, it will not be because I turned gay. I would have found this out by now. If I divorce, I will still be allowed to remarry should I choose. What I do know is that other citizens just because they are attracted to their own sex do not have the same right, and this is just as unjust as laws that used to prohibit interracial marriage.

This commercial reminds me of that Dr. Seuss story, “The Pale Green Pants with nobody inside of them”. NOM is chasing a bogeyman that exists only in their fears and not in reality. Here is my suggestion to those opposed to gay marriage: talk with gay and lesbian people. You will discover they are real people just like you. They bleed just like you. They have 46 chromosomes just like you. They put their pants on one leg at a time, just like you. They feel, just like you. They cry, laugh, get angry, feel happy and have fears and insecurities just like you. They are not worse than you. They are not better than you. They are just human beings, like you. As such, it is inexcusable to deny gays and lesbians the same legal privileges as anyone else.

Maybe it’s not storm clouds these people are afraid of, but the sunlight.

 
The Thinker

The Pastor Warren Gambit

I am one of many people who have been puzzling over Barack Obama’s peculiar inaugural invitation to Pastor Rick Warren. Just in case you have been living in a cave these last few weeks, Warren is a jet-setting pastor of the evangelical Saddleback (California) Community Church (a mega-church) and the best selling author of The Purpose Driven Life. He befriended Barack Obama a couple years back. Obama even spoke to his congregation. Warren also happens to be against homosexual marriage. Obama has at times sounded both pro gay-marriage and anti-gay marriage. However, he clearly is for civil unions, which he sees as the legal equivalent of marriage, and is opposed to all discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The gay and lesbian community is outraged over Obama’s invitation to Warren to say a prayer at his inauguration. They were among his staunchest supporters during his campaign and feel his invitation was a slap in their faces. After all, Rick Warren had equated gay marriage with incest and pedophilia. I am not gay and I sure found those words offensive when I read them. Yet, realistically his words were no more offensive than a lot of other tripe coming out of the conservative Christian community. As I pointed out in this recent post, polygamy is also Biblically sanctioned but I do not hear Pastor Warren sanctioning that.

As I expected, Rick Warren has quickly toned down the rhetoric. Today he asserted that he is not anti-gay, just anti-gay marriage. He has also said he regretted his choice of words when he associated gay marriage with incest and pedophilia. His church also removed wording from its website that said gays were welcomed as members only if they first repented for their homosexual lifestyles. It is unclear though whether homosexuals can now become members of the church.

Warren also recently shared the stage with songwriter Melissa Etheridge, a rather public lesbian and who is legally married in the State of California to her lesbian spouse. How much longer her marriage will be legal is an open question, given that people like Warren worked tirelessly to ensure the proposition’s passage. Sharing a stage though gave Etheridge and Warren a reason to talk about their differences on these sensitive issues. Etheridge for one is willing to cut Warren some slack on his past remarks.

I can understand why most in the homosexual and lesbian community would be irate with this invitation. If I had been discriminated and scorned much of my life for my natural sexual preferences and my perfectly understandable desire to have my marital state sanctioned by society, I would be hollering too. Why would our president elect do such a thing?

In the interest of balance, Pastor Warren is not be the only minister Obama asked to speak at the inauguration. Joseph Lowery, a founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Council, accepted an invitation to give the benediction. Lowery’s views are far more inclusive than Warren’s. Obama himself said, “It is important for America to come together, even though we may have disagreements on certain social issues.” To gays and lesbians in particular, their rights are more than mere “social issues”.

Obama must have known that by inviting Warren he would raise a ruckus. What is Obama really up to with his invitation? Is he trying to win the respect of those who did not vote for him, and thereby increase his chances of rallying the country on painful changes that will be hard to swallow? Is he telegraphing that his support for gays and lesbians was half-hearted and his appeals to this community duplicitous? Is he making a statement that in the grand scheme of all the severe problems facing this country that gay and lesbian rights are not that important?

While I cannot read his mind, I think I understand Obama’s strategy. Those who are most virulently against extending full civil rights (including marital rights) to gays and lesbians are, in my observation, those who spend the least amount of time interacting with them. Sure, they are among us but unlike skin color, which you cannot hide in ordinary life, it is easy to hide your sexual preferences.

If we are to end the polarization on this issue, those who are opposed to gay and lesbian rights must spend time in civil dialog with openly gay and lesbian people. It is especially important for prominent people on both sides to have civil dialog. By talking to Melissa Etheridge before their appearance at the Muslim Public Affairs Council, as well as sharing a stage with her, Warren had the opportunity to have his beliefs challenged in person and in a way that did not make him defensive. It turns out that Warren is also a big Melissa Etheridge fan, which doubtless helped Etheridge get her views across. While I am sure she is not the first overtly gay or lesbian person he has met, repeated encounters help people like Warren understand that gays and lesbians are not freaks or a special class of sinner but completely ordinary people.

The full enfranchisement that gays and lesbians seek will not occur through noisy in your face confrontations. Such confrontations may feel good, but their effects are likely to be counterproductive and inflame passions on both sides. Such actions are also likely to retard the progress that gays and lesbians seek. Barack Obama is forcing a dance between these two social forces in a way that promotes genuine dialog rather than hate and vindictiveness.

An enemy ceases to be your enemy once you can relate to them. It is through dialog that conservative Christians and others opposed to homosexual rights will eventually be won over. There are far more vitriolic ministers on this issue than Pastor Warren. Warren though exhibits a certain amount of common sense and reasonableness. It is through changing influential minds like his that much larger groups are persuaded. Obama’s timing may be inflammatory, but I think his judgment with this invitation will be proven sound.

Social change is always painful, so this invitation is bound to be painful to many who fight valiantly for full civil rights for gay and lesbian Americans. However, it may turn out to be a significant step toward achieving the full enfranchisement that gay and lesbian Americans seek. If America can break the color divide by electing an African American president, can healing the divide between gay and homophobes really be that far away?

 
The Thinker

How traditional is traditional marriage anyhow?

Supposedly, you don’t fool with Mother Nature. Never mind that we fool with Mother Nature all the time. We eat all sorts of genetically modified foods. Perhaps you had some seedless raisins with lunch. Many also see gay marriage as fooling around with Mother Nature. Mother Nature has decreed that only a union between one man and one woman is natural. No exceptions allowed! Consequently, Mother Nature does not want a man to marry another man, or two women to marry each other. Nor does Mother Nature endorse polygamy or polyandry.

Or so we think, although these so called natural laws may not be all that natural. Biologists have discovered all sorts of unusual parings among animals that suggest that serial monogamy is hardly the norm. Among humans, social scientist Margaret Mead documented decades ago that the one man-one woman marriage thing we define as traditional marriage is just one natural variation among humans. Across the world, Mead documented numerous cultures where all sorts of arrangements are sanctioned: “traditional” marriage, polygamy, polyandry, polyamory as well as the tribal equivalents of gay marriage. If Mother Nature opposes them, she is turning a blind eye.

The Bible sure tells us deviations from traditional marriage are sinful, right? Not exactly. Depending on which books of the Bible you believe are divinely inspired, these deviations are either permitted, not specifically addressed or are seen as abominations that could even subject you to capital punishment. Polygamy was acceptable in Abraham’s time. According to the Bible, Abraham had multiple wives, as did many of the Jewish elders and kings whose lives are chronicled in the Old Testament. Apparently, the more wives you had the more status you had in the community. Polygamy also served the useful evolutionary purpose of spreading the seed at a time when humans were an endangered species. Mother Nature might have thought it necessary. Abraham reputedly lived to some impossibly old age. Yet, Yahweh apparently saw no abomination with Abraham’s polygamy. While polygamy is unlawful in today’s America, it remains legal in much of the Muslim world and is explicitly permitted in the Quran.

During the last election, California voters decided by a four percent margin that gays should not be allowed to marry in the state. Members of the Mormon Church in particular felt a call to spiritual arms and contributed $22 million toward a campaign to overturn court ordered gay marriage in California. This is curious because Mormons were traditionally polygamists and only relatively recently decided this aspect of their theology required some amending. In fact, the tradition of polygamy is much older than the idea of marriage as between only one man and one woman.

What are Jesus’ thoughts on gay marriage? Jesus actually has little to say on the issue of marriage except he said God did not allow divorce, a teaching most Christians are happy to ignore. According to the Bible, Jesus never married, so it clearly was not a high priority for him. Many religious scholars suspect he actually was married or had an out of wedlock relationship with Mary Magdalene but that part was scrubbed from the Bible.

St. Paul had a few things to say about marriage, and they were not particularly nice. In his mind, good Christians completely abstained from sex, since sex itself was sinful. He did belatedly suggest that if you could not abstain from sex you should marry because it is better to marry than to go to hell. In his view, marriage suggested some sort of moral failing, but a minor one. In his opinion, since sex was part of marriage, it was hardly worthy of sanctification. However, St. Paul also appeared convinced that the second coming of Jesus was not too far away, so there was little point to procreation.

If history is our guide, what constitutes “real” marriage should be a confusing muddle, not an issue of clarity. If we strictly adhered to the Biblical interpretation of marriage, most of us would find it unacceptable. As this diarist on Daily Kos points out, the Bible tells us that polygamy is okay (Gen 29:17-28; II Sam 3:2-5). It also suggests that is okay to shack up or have live-in lovers even while being married (II Sam 5:13; I Kings 11:3; II Chron 11:21). However, marriage is forbidden if the woman is not a virgin. In fact, if for some reason she isn’t, she can be stoned to death (Deut 22:13-21). (Maybe this is where the Taliban got it from?) However, apparently there is an escape clause because a man must marry his brother’s wife if his brother dies, provided she has no children (Gen 38:6-10; Deut 25:5-10). Also, sorry, divorce is not allowed, no exceptions ever (Deut 22:19; Mark 10:9). So, if you find yourself an abused spouse, deal with it. Maybe prayer will move some mountains in your marriage.

I don’t know about you but if this is “traditional” marriage, I don’t want any part of it. Nor do I particularly think that marriage between only one man and woman is the only form it should take. Yet, so many of us are certain that only marriages between one man and one woman are moral, and therefore only they should be legally sanctioned. I am left to conclude that while I respect those who support “traditional” marriage, there is no sound Biblical or natural rationalization to support it.

Supporters of “traditional” marriage are loath to admit it, but marriage, like most human customs, has morphed over time and will continue to do so to fit the needs of people. Another one of these shifts in the definition of marriage now seems underway. Just as divorce and mixed-race marriages are now legal, it is likely that within a few decades gay marriage will be legally available within any state of the union too. Moreover, most of us will simply be indifferent to it.

 
The Thinker

Where no man has gone before

These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before. (Italics mine)

Speaking of Star Trek, actor George Takei (age 71), a member of the original Star Trek cast who is perhaps better known as Lieutenant Sulu was married yesterday at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, California. Most Americans would probably wish Takei best wishes in his marriage, but perhaps fewer would if they knew that he married another man.

Takei Wedding pictureHis husband is Brad Altman, age 54. This might suggest that Takei has a tendency for younger men, except they have already been happily together for twenty-one years. Regardless of what you think about gays and the sanctity of marriage, it is likely that this marriage will survive, since it seems like it has been a marriage in all but the legal sense for a long time.

Well, maybe not. On November 4th, California voters get to weigh in on Proposition 8 that would declare marriage between gays and lesbians illegal. So perhaps this marriage will only survive in the legal sense for a few more months. Takei and Altman though need not worry too much. Current polls suggest Californians will defeat the proposition handily.

Takei may be a famous actor but that doesn’t mean Uncle Sam will cut he and Altman a tax break for their commitment of love. Gay marriage may be technically legal in California and Massachusetts, but that doesn’t mean they can expect any federal recognition for their union. When it is time to file their 1040s with the IRS next year, they darn well better check “Single” or the IRS may have to send its auditors to check their returns for the last thirty years.

Star Trek was of course a product of the 1960s when liberalism was surging. Star Trek let us envision a different world after we had transcended polarizing issues such as racism and sexism. The Enterprise was the model of diversity. Takei played the token Asian. Still, creator Gene Roddenberry was not quite bold enough to add an openly gay character. Back in the 1960s, if you were a homosexual you were deep, deep in the closet. Homosexuals were almost universally perceived to be perverts and deviants. Except for a handful of people, heterosexuals could not conceive of homosexuals being otherwise ordinary people.

So while Takei performed in the original series I doubt he informed Gene Roddenberry about his sexual preference. Back then I suspect Roddenberry probably would have recoiled had he known of his proclivities. Most likely Takei would also have been out of a job. Even if he were okay with it, NBC would not have allowed it. What if it got into the press? I mean, the show ran during prime time! Roddenberry was an extraordinary liberal of his age. I learned when I heard him speak at my university in 1975 that he embraced the radical notion of child liberation, i.e. children should have the right to make their own decisions rather than their parents. In the 1960s, accepting a known homosexual on his cast probably would have been a bridge too far.

Still, there were relationships among the Star Trek characters that raised some eyebrows. Fans noticed right away that the relationship between Kirk and Spock (and to a lesser extent, between Kirk and McCoy) seemed, well, unusually close. Spock was loyal to Kirk, but his feelings transcended mere loyalty and even friendship into something that sure looked like (for all his Vulcan logic) emotional dependency. In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Spock’s last words before dying to save the crew were, “I am and always shall be your friend.” There wasn’t a Trekker in the theater, man or woman, who was not welling up. Female fans picked up the homosexual subtext early. Their interest spawned all sorts of erotic fanzines that detailed (and continue to detail to this day) the enormous emotional and sexual energy they figure must have been going on between the two characters. In fact, it started a whole movement known as slash. In his last interview, Gene Roddenberry spontaneously admitted that while he felt he was capable of sex with men, he never acted on the impulse. He said that he was intrigued by what he saw as the “many joys and pleasures and degrees of closeness in those relationships”. Whether these feelings manifested themselves overtly or unconsciously in the closeness portrayed between Kirk and Spock is unknown.

Over the years, the Star Trek cast has remained a fairly close bunch. This was due in part to its enormous fan popularity, but also because most of its actors became typecast and had few other choices for earning a living. Some, like the late James Doohan (Scotty), decided to revel in the fan experience. It was hard to attend any Star Trek convention without finding Jimmy. So perhaps it is not surprising that when Takei and Altman were married yesterday, two prominent roles in the wedding went to two members of the Star Trek cast. Walter Koenig (who played Ensign Chekov) was Takei’s Best Man. Nichelle Nichols (Lieutenant Uhura) also attended as his “Best Woman”. It does not appear that any other of the original Star Trek actors were in attendance.

Star Trek has indeed taken us, in the imagination, to brave new worlds but in 1966 when the show started this was a world no one dared show on television. It may be 2008 but I imagine it still took some bravery for Koenig and Nichols to stand up for their long time friend on his long delayed wedding day. It makes me wonder why Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner did not attend. Perhaps they were not invited. On the other hand, perhaps Takei’s sexual orientation made them uncomfortable. Takei is hardly the first man to get married in America, but he is perhaps the most prominent gay American to do so. In a sense, he is taking many Star Trek fans boldly into a new world. His sexual orientation was hardly a secret but not necessarily known among casual fans of the show. Takei also has a history of boldly standing up for injustice. He is a prominent figure in promoting attention to the injustice inflicted on Japanese Americans because of their involuntary internment during World War 2. This also explains his choice of a wedding location.

As an atheist, Roddenberry did not believe in an afterlife. Nonetheless, if he did find himself inadvertently in the afterlife after his death at age 70 in 1991, I bet yesterday his immortal spirit was observing Takei and Altman take their vows. If he could be seen, I bet he would be seen gently crying in joy. For so many years later, Star Trek is still taking us to brave new and enlightened worlds.

It’s trite, but live long and prosper, guys.

 
The Thinker

Not quite the end of the world as we know it

If you are a regular reader, you will know that my family and I just got back from a week long driving tour of New England. My political and social radar though is never wholly turned off, even on vacation. For some Americans, going to New England is daaaangerous. Granted, the reputation of Boston drivers is well deserved, based on our limited encounters. What worry many Americans, particularly from red states, are the dangerous laws up there in New England, particularly the ones that allow gay marriages and civil unions. From all their huffing and puffing, I figured there was a pedophiliac faggot hiding behind every other tree.

It turns out there is not a single state in New England that does not recognize gay unions in some form. The most prudish state in New England is Rhode Island, which may be due to its Puritan heritage. It does not allow gay marriages or civil unions and will not recognize gay unions or marriages from other states. However, it does recognize gay marriages from other countries. So if you are a gay couple that wants to settle in Rhode Island and enjoy the benefits of being married, I’d suggest getting married outside the United States first. Fortunately, Canada is only four or five hours away by car from Rhode Island. We only spent a few hours in Rhode Island but not once did I see an openly gay couple. Doubtless, this is due to their morally correct marriage laws.

Stray into Massachusetts and surely, you must be in extremely dangerous moral territory. Upon driving into the state, I expected to see hellfire and brimstone, but the closest thing I saw were a set of thunderstorms in the distance over Boston. Perhaps God was sending a warning. He could have sent those thunderstorms over relatively moral Providence, Rhode Island but no, they made dead aim for the most populous city in arguably the most morally lapsed state in the country. After all, Massachusetts had the audacity to be the first state to permit actual gay marriage. Not only do they allow gay marriage in the state, but they also recognize gay marriages and civil unions performed in other states. They will even marry gays from other states who are not permitted to do so in their state of residence.

So my eagle eye was on the lookout for moral depravity. I found some, I think, right in the hotel lobby of the Doubletree Bayside in South Boston where we stayed. There is an Au Bon Pain in the hotel that provides a convenient breakfast for many of the hotel’s guests, who eat at tables in the lobby. During our second breakfast at the hotel, I noticed that three men arrived, gave each other hugs and started kissing each other on the lips. Then they started talking without giving each other the sort of body space most Americans expect. I guess I should have been more shocked than I was, but based on the cut of their hair and their clothes it is possible they were from Italy. As shocking as it may seem to Americans, in parts of Europe like Italy heterosexual men openly hug and kiss each other and have no problem getting into each other’s personal space. Nonetheless, they could have been brazenly licentious gay Americans. Such a breathtakingly open display of same sex affection might have gotten them lynched in states sufficiently far south of the Mason-Dixon line.

But that was it. We spent three days and two nights in Massachusetts and that was the extent of the moral depravity that I witnessed. Maybe I was not looking hard enough. I did find some bums on the street, and we all know bums are morally dubious. Nonetheless, there are plenty of bums in the heart of red state American too. Overall, Boston and Massachusetts seemed shockingly normal and mainstream. People there acted just like people everywhere else except that some of them talked funny and liked to skip pronouncing the R’s in the middle of their words.

Off to Maine where the law forbids same sex marriage but offers limited partnership rights for same sex couples. There was no particular sign of moral depravity there either. I thought I detected a stench in Kennebunkport, but that was probably just from passing the Bush family compound. Once again, people in Maine seemed to behave about as normally as everywhere else.

Thence to New Hampshire where same sex marriage is banned but civil unions that offer the legal equivalent of marriage are permitted. Perhaps we spent too much time in the northern part of the state, but most of the locals looked pretty redneck to me. How could these upstanding moral people pass such liberal laws? The answer is unknown, but again I detected zero sign that the fabric of our country, or at least New Hampshire, was about to come apart.

Perhaps we should have held our noses as we crossed the Connecticut River into Vermont. All the moral mischief started there when the Vermont Supreme Court had the audacity to read its constitution and realize that it could not discriminate against gays who want the legal protections of marriage. So they passed civil union legislation, the first in the country. Same sex marriage is still outlawed in Vermont but civil unions are identical in every way but the wordage. In the immortal words of Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley (played by Louis Gossett, Jr.) from the 1983 movie, An Officer and a Gentleman, I expected Vermont to be full of little but “steers and queers”. I didn’t see that many steers, though I did see two pony farms, and I understand “ponying” it popular amount some moral deviants. Vermont felt far more like a Norman Rockwell painting that a den of moral iniquity. The fresh faced teenagers who led us into the parking lot at Ben & Jerry’s for our factory tour seemed almost surreal in their wholesomeness.

We did not actually stop in Connecticut but only drove through it. It too allows civil unions that are the equivalent of marriage, while technically banning gay marriage. There was traffic in Connecticut but nothing I could find in the way of the open looting and gays copulating in the streets.

Perhaps the gay marriage movement is just building up steam and any moment now these states will be overrun with gay related crime. It sounds crazy and just call it just a hunch, but after spending a week in New England my guess is the place will do as well or better than the other states in the country. If the end of civilization is imminent, I doubt it will start in New England. Overall, we found it to be a lovely, pleasant and otherwise perfectly ordinary place.

 
The Thinker

Co-opted by the gay agenda

While out in Denver this week I read that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist was so concerned about gay marriage, that he made the Senate debate a constitutional amendment that would prohibit states from legalizing gay marriages. Naturally, our extremely moral president also petitioned for the amendment to “protect marriage“. Yet for some inexplicable reason, the bill failed in the Senate 49-48. It could not even attract a majority, let alone the two-thirds majority needed for approval as a constitutional amendment.

This suggests that our Congress, rather than being the upstandingly moral human beings are instead a nest of brooding vipers. Okay, you knew that. However, politicians also know what side of their bread is buttered. Therefore, it is surprising the Senate could not find much enthusiasm for this amendment. Could it be that Senators judged correctly that most Americans just do not care that much about gay marriage?

Because I live in the great homophobic state of Virginia, I should be less worried. The law protects my God-fearing heterosexual marriage. However, Massachusetts, where gay marriage is already legal, is only a few hundred miles away. Virginia law and our soon to be approved state constitutional amendment permanently banning gay marriage should make me feel less concerned. Yet who knows? Maybe, as our Congressional leaders see it, gay marriage is like the bird flu so a mass inoculation is in order. One state like Massachusetts catches it and before you know it, even Baptist ministers are performing gay marriages. Such wide scale sin and debauchery would simply be more proof that the end of times is almost here. Perhaps because I am in a traditional marriage I am one of the elect without knowing it. Perhaps as a result on Judgment Day (which should be any day now) I will sail into heaven because of my heterosexual marriage. (Presumably, my many wife beatings will be excused.)

With encroaching gay marriage, and particularly since social conservatives assure me that our sexual orientation is a choice, how long before I try out the gay lifestyle? Massachusetts allows gay marriage, Vermont permits civil unions and now Washington State may allow gay marriage too, even for couples coming from out of state! Oh, the horrors! While I was in my hotel room the other night, I caught Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and I confess I enjoyed the show. I was impressed by how well groomed and articulate the gay men were. Perhaps, this is the first step toward my future homosexual lifestyle. Although I cannot recall any sexual feelings for my gender in my 49 years of life, I have been known to look at pornography now and then. I have noticed that male genitalia figures prominently in it. Moreover, I do not necessarily find the presence of male genitalia in heterosexual pornography disgusting; in fact, it can even be a turn on. What does this mean? Is there an inner homosexual in me yearning to get out?

And what about my wife? She is into homoerotic fan fiction, also known as slash. She spends much of her free time reading and even writing the stuff. Many of her friends now come from the slash community and most of them are gay. Maybe she has been faking it with me all these years. If she is heterosexual as she claims, how long before she succumbs to the temptation of her own gender, divorces me and takes a wife in Massachusetts?

We must be close to faltering. After all, homosexuality is a choice. Seemingly normal heterosexuals wake up every day and decide, “Hey, I want to try out this gay thing today. In fact, I want to be gay the rest of my life.” Maybe that is me. After all, my marriage is a bit stale after twenty years. You only live once. It is probably watching that episode of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy that will do me in. It probably starts innocuously, like that first puff of a joint. You find yourself laughing along with Ellen DeGeneres. You start to admire gays. Before you know it, you are hooked. Perhaps I will start by reading motorcycle magazines. Then I will want a motorcycle and a fancy leather-riding outfit. Soon I am spending my weekends with the Hells Angels. Then I am spending them with one of the many gay motorcycle clubs out there. Yes, homosexuality is a choice, social conservatives tell us. Since it is a choice and because I can choose to switch on that side of my personality whenever I want (although it has lain strangely dormant all my life) I am vulnerable. My wife is vulnerable too. In fact, we are close to slipping. Sin is a slippery slope, and Satan will use all his wiles to get me. Extreme vigilance is required. I need to keep reading General J.C. Christian’s blog. Just as importantly, I need the state to keep me from falling by protecting my marriage from all threats, foreign and domestic.

Then thank goodness, I live in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It has a no tolerance policy for gay marriage. No gay marriage ever. Because of our zero tolerance policy for gays, I feel more secure in my heterosexuality. If I have the stray thought to try out the homosexual lifestyle, well, just knowing that the state will not allow me to have a gay marriage means I am less likely to try it out. Don’t you see? I say hooray for that. I feel protected by the wise citizens of my state. My wife should too. Since my marriage is so well protected, I should never, ever let my lurking homosexual side out of its closet.

Yet in truth, there is one wee little problem with this logic: I have never felt the least bit inclined to try homosexuality. I cannot speak for my wife, but I trust her enough to take her at her word that although she has many gay and bisexual friends, she too is not attracted to her gender. Therefore, what I am thinking is that for heterosexuals like my wife and I, you know, us moral Americans, heterosexuality is not really a choice. We are hardwired this way.

As for those homosexuals (not to mention the bisexuals, polysexuals or the whole polyamorous community), well, things must be different for them. Maybe they did not get enough attention from Mom and Dad growing up, or skipped too many Sunday school lessons. For some bizarre reason these folks though claim that their sexual orientation is hardwired too. Moreover, they want equivalent rights because, get this, it is the fair thing to do! Somewhere in their American history lessons, they learned that all citizens in this country have equal rights and responsibilities under the law. They missed the asterisk that certain rights only applied to heterosexual couples only.

Anyhow, perhaps I am delusional but I have given their perspective considerable thought. So I would like to inform any social conservative out there reading this that I am confident that even if gay marriage were to be legal in the Commonwealth of Virginia (perish the thought!) that my marriage would not be endangered. In fact, there is simply no chance that I will ever choose the homosexual lifestyle. If my wife and I are to end up divorced some day, I am afraid it will be for more prosaic reasons, like we fell out of love with each other. That apparently still qualifies as grounds for divorce.

If protecting my marriage is truly this important to the commonwealth, perhaps our legislature should outlaw divorce. Yet for reasons I do not wholly fathom, they are much more concerned about keeping homosexuals from getting married than making sure I stay permanently married to my wife.

In addition, neither am I offended by gays getting married. Back in the 1980s, we lived in a townhouse community. We had two guys up the street who were openly gay and kept a townhouse together. Their townhouse was the most well kept unit in the complex. I found them to be warm and interesting people. I know I should have been afraid of them. The state and many ministers tell me so. I know they must be living the immoral lifestyle. Yet still, I never felt the least bit threatened by them, or worried that my community was on the road to hell, even though they probably practiced regular oral and anal sodomy. In fact, I thought they were terrific neighbors. Not having them as neighbors was one of the downsides of buying our single-family house.

Here is the most amazing part: despite this gay couple living in our townhouse community full of children, not once did they molest any of the children on the playground. We sure were lucky!

I must be one of the fallen though. I must have been co-opted by the gay agenda. Really, I just do not care about gays getting married. Shoot me, but I agree with them: I think there is nothing more American than for everyone to have equal rights and responsibilities. If gays want to get married, I say more power to them. In addition, as long as the government requires that my marriage be legal, I cannot see why gays should not be able to have their unions legally sanctioned too.

 

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