Thursday, May 7, 2015

Opinion: Traditional Marriage Defenders

I need to take a post to express some feelings. I know only a small group looks at my posts, and I'm grateful to those who do. But writing here allows me to express myself, like in a journal, to myself.

What baffles me is how adamant traditional marriage defenders rally so regularly, so insistently, and so vehemently to express their views on a subset of "sinners", where there are so many other "sinners" that they pass by and don't bat an eye. Why all of a sudden is there an outrage when this one, new concept--same-sex marriage--pops up in US law?

OK, I take that back. Civil Rights and inter-racial marriage have almost identical images of religious protesters like the one above. Both those religious wars lost. I think this one will, too.

I know that marriage is a very important ritual in religion (having been a Mormon in my past), but it is also a very important aspect of secular life. Marriage may have ties to legally binding a man to protect and provide for a wife and children (when women/children couldn't work or own land). But that culture is long gone. In secular society today, divorce is always an option, women (and men) can provide for children without a partner, and marriage is no longer a requirement or expectation for anyone. Although religions (Mormons especially) woe over these "destructions to the family", society seems to think it's all fine--mainly because the world hasn't destroyed itself as a result of its "decline".

Marriage has become a government benefit and protection for the family as a whole. Power of attorney, inheritances, parental guardianship, medical benefits, tax exemptions... these are all extremely valuable protections for a family. Religions can define what a family is for their own members. But individuals can define for themselves who their family is. Years ago same-sex couples decided to have families (including children) without government or societal approval. Now that same-sex couples have suffered from the lack of protections (that many heterosexual couples take for granted), gays have stood up to be equally protected.

There are stories of people tearing apart same-sex couples lives simply because legally... they can. Shane Crone was devastated at a fatal accident involving his fiance, Tom Bridegroom. When funeral services were prepared, Tom's family threatened Shane to not show up at the funeral. The funeral service had no mention of Shane or any reference to Tom's life as a gay man.

Several couples--many of which are involved in the dozens of SSM lawsuits in the US--have children where one partner is a biological parent of the child, and the other wishes to adopt the child, putting both parents' names on the birth certificate. Currently, most state laws make it extremely difficult or even impossible for this to happen.

One plaintiff couple in Kentucky had a story along these lines. A mother took her son to the hospital for a coughing fit. The hospital had to call the mother's partner (the boy's biological mother) to get permission to treat the child. Since the mother in the hospital is unable to officially be the boy's mother, she could lose her son if the biological mother is unavailable, sick, or dies.

These are just two of thousands of real examples where law that only permits traditional marriage harms families. People who blindly support anti-gay laws love to rally under the banner of "God" and "morality", hoping that their fight will win them points in heaven and that they will be seen as brave for "standing for what is right".

But right is relative. Especially when it comes to religion vs. society, or even religion vs. religion. If religion became the primary factor for governing the US, we're going to need another America to escape to. I don't believe it's right for religion to indoctrinate its members with lies, to leech off society, and to put down others that don't meet its ridiculous requirements. But our government protects religion and allows people to "worship" (or not) as they please. But nowhere is it protected for religious people to impose standards and beliefs into others' lives via law, especially when the main reason to do so is "God". If that were legitimate, divorce, fornication, and adultery would be illegal--and in Utah, smoking and drinking as well. But God doesn't hold any water in law. Because who's to say the Mormon God is the real God? Or the Jewish God? Or the Islamic God? Or an atheist's source of decision making (him/herself)?

It makes me absolutely mad to hear that only a man-woman relationship is healthy or good for the upbringing of children. First, let's get out of the way that children of divorced, widowed, or otherwise singled parents can still turn out just fine--not to mention it is legal and common for all of those things to happen. Second, gay men exhibit both male and female and attributes. Same as gay women. Children won't be missing out on the "unique gender-specific" tendencies of either gender. If it's all about having a penis and a vagina, why don't they just come out and say that? Yes, biologically, you need sperm and a uterus. But again, surrogacy, adoption, and artificial insemination are all socially acceptable methods for putting children into families. Why is it all of a sudden bad to put them into a same-sex couple's lives?

Also, there are plenty of sterile couples or mothers that miscarriage all the time. If marriage was about natural procreation, should these marriages be cancelled? Of course not. It's not about just the children. Marriage is still a way to been seen by the world as a committed, loving couple that the government protects in situations such as death, illness, or child-rearing.

So why do traditional marriage advocates still hate on the gays? They want to feel empowered. They want to feel like they are fighting for a noble cause. They want an enemy to fight in the name of "God". They want to keep their privileges and rights (that the take for granted) to themselves. They want to be seen as superior and model families. They want special treatment.

This is in no way every religious person, nor heterosexual person in a man-woman relationship. Most people get it. Most people don't care if you're gay, married, and have children with your same-sex partner. But the religious zealots that incessantly fight against equality in the name of "God" are what drive me nucking futs.

Again, I know I'm either preaching to the choir or talking to deaf ears if you're reading this. But this is mainly for me. Although... it would be great to know that I encouraged a friend to fight for equality, or discouraged another from fighting against it.

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