Sunday, April 12, 2009

sometimes, you just have to forgo the witty title.

Today, in honor of Zombie Jesus Day©  Easter, I am going to join countless other blogs (not to mention Massachusetts, Connecticut, the Supreme Court of Iowa, and the legislature of Vermont) and display what I would (non-radically and non-ironically) interpret to be traditional Christian values, and recommend Same-sex marriage rights.

It goes without saying that there are some problematic dynamics at play here – namely, the fact that I am heterosexual, and therefore this is not necessarily my issue (N.B.: the tendency of some to claim ownership of an issue and not allow those outside of it to either stand in solidarity with them or to show them how the issue has an effect on the larger culture/society has always been a pet peeve of mine) – and because this is currently a widely-debated and complex issue, I suspect that my writing about it will ultimately be somewhat redundant with writings on other blogs and also incomplete (and quite possibly disorganized and incoherent). Perhaps one day I will take these ramblings and hone them into a more thoughtful and focused piece, but for now, I want to express my feelings on the issue and hopefully do so in an idiosyncratic way that can stand out in some way from the rest of the discourse.

(N.B.: All I have written so far is my opening paragraph and a disclaimer/statement of intent, and this post is already tl;dr. So it goes.)

A few years ago, I got into a pretty intense debate with a close friend of mine concerning this topic. My friend is fairly progressive, stands where I do on a lot of the issues, and shares a lot of the same friends and acquaintances, some of whom are homosexual or bisexual. He is African-American, and a single father. He was also strongly opposed to same-sex marriage.

I had trouble wrapping my head around this, and we argued back and forth for about half an hour over the telephone about it. The definition of marriage, he said, was a man and a woman. When I asked why it couldn’t just be two people, he responded that that is just the way it is. Besides, New Jersey had legally recognized civil unions. Shouldn’t they just be happy with that?

My head was spinning to think that a friend of mine with whom I shared so many political platforms would use such an argument. I invoked another argument from the past, one that I perhaps shouldn’t have, but it just seemed so apropos – separate but equal. Isn’t this the same mentality that enabled legal segregation in the south? Wasn’t it found that separate was not, in fact, equal? At all? Wasn’t excluding homosexuals from certain rights tantamount to racial segregation? He said no, it wasn’t. It was different. In the end we agreed to disagree on this topic.

But here I am several years later insisting that no, it isn’t different. And honestly, it has filled me with an immense sense of both pride and vindication to see the developments of the last couple of weeks. I have heard before that Iowa gets overlooked and lumped in with the Bible Belt states, to which it supposedly does not really belong. But still – did anybody really see this coming from Iowa? I certainly didn’t. Vermont was not a big surprise. And D.C. – well, I’m just trying not to get too far ahead of myself.

These are exciting times. There is a lot to be gloomy and depressed about, but when things like this are happening in real time, I feel the optimism with which I was imbued in November has been justified. I really do feel that the country is turning a crucial corner. No, everything will not be perfect. However, it is victories like these that make me believe in our system in spite of myself. I am, and I remain, standing in solidarity with those who have been denied this right, and will continue to do so until this wrong has been reversed.

Remember, the point here is not for me to be politically correct. This is about just, decent, and equal treatment and rights for fellow citizens and human beings.

* * *


So I was initially planning on responding to all of the usual arguments against gay marriage rights in the main body of my post, but I decided against for a few very good reasons: 1) it was too obvious, 2) my answers would likely be too obvious and too redundant when compared to other blogs on the subject, and 3) I have to admit I have not done a tremendous amount of research on the topic, so I thought it would be better to have a passionate personal response rather than an unresearched pseudo-intellectual one. There are, however, a couple of anti- arguments that I want to mock, and one very big and often overlooked point that I want to make.

We will start then with the point I want to make, in response to the separate but equal argument. There is one very, very, insanely big way in which civil unions are inherently unequal from marriage: financially. With so many federal laws on the books making reference to marital status, the inability to marry presents a large financial liability to same-sex couples, particularly in the current economy. Again, I have not done all the research here, so I can’t go into detail, but if anyone is interested in finding out more about this issue, Dr. Lee Badgett, an economist who teaches at UMass Amherst, has done some extensive research and publishing in this particular area.

And now on to the mockery, much of which will be obvious. First off, the idea that the sanctioning of homosexuality will be a “gateway” to the sanctioning of pedophilia, bestiality, etc.. I understand why the fear-/hate-mongers chose to associate homosexuality with pedophilia, but really, when will this stop? Aren’t we past that? If I were less classy, I would argue that the sanctioning of Catholic priests is a gateway to sanctioning pedophilia. But I’m an adult and I refuse to lower myself to those kinds of tactics, so I won’t say that. What? Did somebody say something?

The whole argument that homosexuality is a sin and that “God hates fags” is just ridiculous. Can we please make those people go away? First of all, I thought Christians were supposed to believe in the kind and loving and benevolent God 2.0 from the New Testament, not the vengeful, fire-and-brimstone beta testing version from the Old Testament. If there is a God (and I do mean God in the capital-G sense, along with all the bells and whistles that implies), I can practically assure you that he does not care with whom you are sleeping. The world is a really big place, and there’s a lot of more important shit to worry about that will keep you busy. Yes, even if you’re God. There are still only so many hours in the day. Besides, the idea that this country was to be founded exclusively on Christian values is just plain wrong. This has been documented extensively by so many sources that I’m not going to do the work for you.

Another frequent argument is that same-sex marriage will somehow destroy traditional marriage. Bullshit. Same-sex marriage should have no impact whatsoever on what heterosexuals do. You know what's destroying traditional marriage? Divorce. You want something to outlaw, well, there you go. Logic, people. Use it!

I was going to say something else, I think, but I forget what it was, so now I will just give you this, which you have likely already seen:

 Not much to say about this that you can’t say yourself, but I do want to draw your attention to the 0:47 mark.

A RAINBOW COALITION???? Really???!?!?!

Just think about that one for a while, because the National Organization for Marriage obviously didn’t.


  1. That NOM ad is terrifying. but it's hilarious that the group is called "NOM." om nom nom!

    I only first saw that ad this morning. baffling...

  2. i know, right? i was half expecting them to start pulling out quotes from the book of revelations. still, though: bad acting + green screen + end days imagery = unintentional comedy, i say. i refuse to believe that the ad is truly going to sway anyone who may be on the fence - in fact, i'm kind of hoping its extremism may push those people further from their position.

  3. i, too, cannot get over the fact that they are called NOM. at first i thought it was a parody.

  4. This is the first time I got to watch that commercial with sound. I usually see it at the gym. I kind of wish I didn't have to hear that nonsense. After watching that and the Amazon de-ranking of GLBTQ books makes me want to hide and not deal with the idiots around me.

    And I just told Shawn they were called NOM and he yelled "NOM NOM NOM" and growled loudly. They are such a joke.

  5. actually, i'm beginning to think they may be a joke. like, literally. for real. my friend zach (hey, zach, if you're visiting!) just directed my attention to this:

    (can we post html in comments? yes? good!)

    between the rainbow coalition, the NOM acronym, and now the m4m acronym, this is starting to look like performance art on a level that would have sent andy kaufman home hanging his head in shame.

  6. aha! i was a little suspicious about the NOM acronym ... though i think they're far too engrossed in this (and too shamefully un-hip to gay lingo) for it to be a ruse.


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