Why I support same-sex marriage: Three reasons

27 Jun 2013

Only bigots could have cynically used the name Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) for a law that needlessly prevents people from getting married. Today those bigots are unhappy bigots, as the US Supreme Court (or at least the non-bigoted 5 of the 9 Justices) has finally ruled a key section of the 1996 law unconstitutional.

I'm all in favor of full marriage rights for same-sex couples. Why? I can name three specific reasons: a good reason, a selfish reason, and a secret favorite reason.

Why I support same-sex marriage, Reason 1 (the good reason)

The right to marry is a basic human right. Full stop. Can you think of a more ridiculous and wrong reason for denying people two people a human right, than because a government does not approve of the pairing of their genitals? Or because some bigot claims to have heard the voice of a magic sky man who wants the right denied because of the wrong genitals?

Removing this bizarre anti-marriage roadblock will extend a human right to those currently denied it. It will increase social and financial security for those people, and will let them be happy. Why object to that?

Why I support same-sex marriage, Reason 2 (the selfish reason)

Putting aside the benefits to those who can now get married, what does same-sex marriage do for me personally? Nothing that I can see – good or bad. I've genuinely thought hard about this, and I can't think of any downside for me. Letting gays get married won't upend my sexual orientation ("Sorry, honey. New law. Gonna gay it up now."). It won't turn people around me gay. It won't harm me, my wife, my marriage, my kids, or anyone in my family. It won't harm people who are complete strangers to me, in any way that I can think of.

Of course, just because I can't imagine the harm doesn't mean there isn't any. But by all appearances, the staunchest foes of same-sex marriage can't think of any harm either. They've had years to do so – thousands of years, really – yet I haven't heard one reasonable suggestion for a means by which same-sex marriage might carry a shadow of a possibility of a risk of a threat of maybe hypothetically inconveniencing one human being. Nothing.

Well, it does seem likely that striking down DOMA will make wedding planners, photographers, and cake bakers more busy. But they swear that they want that, so we're back to no demonstrated harm. Anyone got something?

Why I support same-sex marriage, Reason 3 (the secret favorite reason)

Okay, Reason 1 is the real favorite, but Reason 3 is a major guilty pleasure all the same: Same-sex marriage drives the fundamentalist bigots insane(r). The thought of Pat Robertson and Rick Santorum sputtering and spewing in anger on Fox News, and Jerry Falwell pounding at his coffin lid in a seething rage, just makes me smile. (Oh, you say Jesus and Mohammed are weeping too? Boo-hoo.)

The cries of impending national doom because now married couples are teh gay is just awesome entertainment. Best yet, we'll get to see it play out over and over as individual states crawl out of the Dark Ages to join the pro-marriage bandwagon.

These are good times for good people. Congratulations to all the soon-to-be newlyweds!


Love reading post, very interesting.

Thanks for the opportunity to present a dissenting opinion. It's a great thing to have open forums where people listen respectfully to each other's ideas and hopefully respond with respect. To respond to your Reason #1: In my opinion, just because something is a basic human right doesn’t make it a good idea. I have a basic human right to hire a tuba player to play the opening clarinet solo of Rhapsody in Blue, but that doesn’t make it a good idea. I have a basic human right to watch pornography all day long but that doesn’t make it a good idea. That character in Seinfeld who insists on being called ‘Maestro” has a basic human right to do so, but everybody knows he’s not a “real” maestro. Marriage has always involved a husband and a wife and a man simply cannot be a “real” wife, any more than a transvestite, however convincing, can be a real woman. I’m not against two gay guys getting married because they’re gay; I’m against it only because they’re both men. 

Beyond that, here are a few thoughts on the what I see as disingenuous ways that the same sex marriage discussion is being framed. Doesn't mean that same sex marriage shouldn't be allowed, just that the primary arguments being put forward are based on faulty premises.

1)    Marriage "benefits" as dispensed by the government are not civil rights. They are financial incentives like farm subsidies and the mortgage deduction that are deemed by our elected to leaders to be good for the society as a whole. The mortgage deduction is highly discriminatory against all the people who rent because they can't afford to buy, but it's not a civil right. 

2)    You're not born gay the way a black person or a person with blue eyes are born with those physical attributes. Most gay people I’ve known have said that they “knew there were gay” when they were kids. But since you and I didn’t “know” we were heterosexual when we were pre-pubescent, I think what they mean is that they knew they were different. The preponderance of scientific evidence is that you’re not “just” born gay, there are other factors that come into play. Obviously from an evolutionary point of view it’s more desirable for the members of a species to be heterosexual, but in my opinion, homosexuality – whatever its roots - shouldn't need to be branded as innate in order for me to feel justified in indulging in it. It's my body, I should pretty much be able to do whatever I want with it as long as I’m not hurting anyone else.

3)    Not one of my numerous gay friends when I lived in Greenwich Village in the 70's had the slightest notion that marriage was a necessity for their self esteem.

4)    The language of the wedding ceremony is the language of a covenant, not a legal contract. "Til death do us part." No government entity could ever enforce such a clause. Unless of course slavery were legalized again.

5)    Government intrusion in the religious ceremony of marriage has always been an egregious violation of the separation of church and state. As your header above indicates, we should render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's (if of course one believes in God). The government should get out of the marriage business entirely and stick to civil unions, for gay and straight alike. 

6)    This is a minor, humorous aside. If same sex marriage becomes the law of the land in France (as opposed to a perfectly acceptable private practice), then the French are going to have re-define at least one other thing: the word for husband in French is "mari." But the word for wife is "femme."

Except for the phrases identified as my opinions, these are all facts. For more in the opinion category, I feel that if two men or two women want to have a ceremony pledging their commitment to each other and call it a marriage, God bless 'em! My problem is with the Orwellian implications (2 + 2 = 5) of government decreeing that something patently untrue is true. Until maybe 20 years ago, everybody (including 100% of my gay friends) knew that while anyone can have a committed partner, only a man can have a wife and only a woman can have a husband.

This is not just about semantics. Words shape our collective unconscious view of the world and this is just one more word advancing the pernicious notion that there are no meaningful psychological or mission-critical differences between men and women. Women make great doctors and astronauts and engineers and CEO’s of multibillion dollar corporations. But if you’ve ever lived in a close relationship with a member of the opposite sex you know that men ARE from Mars and women ARE from Venus.

Just so you know where my heart is on this, any Christian who thinks he’s better than even a promiscuous homosexual should read Chapter 1, verse 15 of Paul’s first letter to Timothy: “This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners"--and I am the worst of them all.’”



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