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On Gay (and Lesbian) Marriage

Do you think it's rainbow cake?
Do you think it's rainbow cake?

Last Thursday, the California State Supreme Court struck down laws against homosexual marriage, opening the door for gay and lesbian weddings in that state. This makes California the second state to “legalize” gay marriage, but unlike Massachusetts, California’s marriage laws do not require residency in the state. However, as most states, along with the federal government, do not recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, the reach of this ruling is pretty limited.

Naturally, conservative and religious groups are outraged, and there is talk about delaying any same-sex weddings until a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as a heterosexual union can be voted on. Twenty-six other states have successfully voted such constitutional amendments into law, so California conservative groups could succeed.

But personally, I hope they don’t. Though I myself am a believer in the nuclear family and the “normal” marriage between a man and a woman, I see no reason at all for the government to force this belief on the populace. If two law-abiding and tax-paying men (or women) love each other, want to spend their lives together, and even raise children, I don’t see the problem. Heck, I don’t even have a problem with legalized polygamy (as long as all parties are consensual adults, of course), because as far as I’m concerned, the government has no standing to interfere with the personal lives and rights of its citizens.

I know; it’s a radical idea.

And the debate rages on...
And the debate rages on...

The problem, of course, is that the government treats married people differently than non-married people. This is, in and of itself, wrong. The government shouldn’t be rewarding people for following an arbitrary moral standard, though my wife and I have certainly been enjoying the tax break. Legislating morality tears down the wall separating church and state and interferes with an individual’s right to live as he or she pleases with whatever religious or spiritual beliefs he or she has. Without even getting into the health and social security benefits, immigration and adoption rights, hospital visitation rights, and a plethora of other advantages to legal marriage, simply giving more tax breaks to heterosexual couples than homosexual ones is tantamount to the government admitting that it believes homosexuality to be less moral than heterosexuality.

There is simply no justification for this without a religious belief. Granted, marriage is an institution grounded in religious principles, but there are plenty of married couples out there that are secular, atheist, or agnostic. Additionally, I have heard the argument that homosexuality goes against basic biological and scientific principles, but I am not even remotely swayed by it. If homosexuality went against basic biological and scientific principles, it simply would not exist.

Rosie O'Donnell, how I wish I weren't on the same side as you on this one
Rosie O'Donnell, how I wish I weren't on the same side as you on this one

And let me make my opinion on the subject of homosexuality clear: I do not believe that homosexuality is a choice. To argue that a sizeable percentage of the population would voluntarily choose to belong to a stigmatized and stereotyped subgroup is downright preposterous. Sure, there may be a few homosexuals out there who made the choice to let themselves become all-out gay or lesbian, but the vast majority had no choice in the matter.

Still, it shouldn’t make a difference. Even if homosexuality were a choice, it would not be in the purview of the federal government to legislate—or even show favor against—that choice. It’s a personal matter, and I see no threat to American society or welfare in the marriages of people who happen to share the same gender who love each other unconditionally.

I can’t help but add, though, that Rosie O’Donnell is completely insane. Hating the president is never a good reason to get married. I thought marriage was an institution of love, not hate.

Also, for the politically-minded in the audience, I'd like to point out that both presidential hopefuls (or all three, if you still include Hillary) have publicly stated that they are against gay marriage. Also, while the push to ban gay marriage is coming primarily from the religious right, the California State Supreme Court that just "legalized" gay marriage is mainly Republican. In short, if this issue is enough to sway your vote, it doesn't actually make much of a difference.

-e. magill 05/19/2008

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