As I write this, the Vermont House of Representatives is debating the Same-Sex Marriage Bill. It has already been approved by the Senate. It looks like it will pass the House by a large margin. Based on recent polling numbers, a majority of Vermonters are in favor of the bill. Still, the governor has stated he’ll use the veto if the bill passes the House.
And through it all, I’m forced to ask: why is this even an issue?
I get the fact that some people are uncomfortable with homosexuality. A dude being in love with a dude or a chick being in love with a chick is leaps and bounds different than what a lot of people have spent their lives becoming accustomed to. And, if nothing else, we Americans are unfortunately taught to fear what we don’t understand.
And I get the fact that some people have legitimate religious reasons why they are against anything other than a man/woman union. I don’t subscribe to those reasons myself, but I understand that there are many many people out there whose worldview is shaped by their religion and their religion looks at gay marriage and says “NO!”
So, as far as the Great Gay Marriage Debate goes, I accept both of the above as legitimate and unassailable reasons why, for you, gay marriage may be a.) awkward to read/speak/think about or b.) unallowable in the practice of your religion. And that’s fine. You get to make your own choices about how you live your life and view the world.
Let me say that again. You get to make your own choices about how you live your life and view the world.
What you do not get to do is make others’ decisions for them.
And, stripped of the rhetoric, that’s what this is all about. “This makes me uncomfortable and thus it should not be allowed” or “I have a moral problem with this and therefor no one should be allowed to do it”.
But those assertions don’t stand up very well. Dudes marrying dudes and chicks marrying chicks do not affect the way you live your life in any way. Same sex couples being allowed to legally commit to each other does not affect you at all. I believe the claims to the contrary are red herrings borne of prejudice.
Some claim that same sex marriage will violate the biblical sanctity of marriage. Let me ask you: where’s the overwhelming evidence for the sanctity of marriage as it existed before gay marriage? We are a country with a divorce rate of over 50%. Think of all your married friends. Statistics say that half of those marriages aren’t going to end well. The voters of this country should be doing everything they can to encourage stable marriages. Stable marriages lead to stable families, well-raised children, a more educated workforce, and greater prosperity. We should want stable marriages. And it should not matter at all what the sex of the partners are.
Here in Vermont, some say that same sex couples already have the ability to enter into Civil Unions and that should be enough. That’s like working your ass of for a raise, then being told you have the responsibilities of the new job, but your title and salary will remain the same. I won’t list them here, but Civil Unions and marriages are not exactly the same; there are some important differences. My friend Matt has been a keen observer of the Vermont debate and brought up a good point, “If Civil Unions are good enough, let’s just convert every marriage in the state to a civil union and be done with it.”
The dreaded gay agenda is this. Same sex couple want the same legal rights as different-sex couples. This is a civil rights issue. They want the law, as it should be, to be blind.
And, why not? It’s about damn time.