Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Gutter: Who wants to get held down?
The highly-encouraged daily reading of The Radical Middle has an excellent post today on the topic of the sanctity of marriage. The whole topic of gay marriage - or at least the frequent proposals to legally demonize it - has always stuck in my crawl, and TRM has one of those classic “let’s have fun and point out how stupid this is” posts, so I recommend you check it out.
Fortunately for me, that segues into a post for me to make, since I seem to be thinking about same-sex marriage and the issues surrounding it quite a bit lately.
In fact, after last week’s primary, I haven’t really had anything to say, or at least nothing really worthy of being spread on this blog. But like I said, same-sex marriage has a sticking power with me for whatever reason, so here I am putting up a post.
First off, I think most reasonable people can see through the ridiculousness of notions such as “defending marriage” or “protecting the sanctity of marriage.” With a conservative estimate of somewhere around 40% of marriages ending in divorce, it’s difficult to place much value in the sanctity of the sacrament.
To a certain extent, those who are truly interested in defending marriage or protecting its sanctity would probably be well-served by crafting laws against infidelity, poor money management, differing opinions on child-rearing, household cleaning tendencies, and careers that require long stays away from home, because all of these factors have contributed to the degrading of marriage as a sacrament.
Of course, we hear that marriage doesn’t need to be protected (need protecting?) from divorce; it needs to be protected from the vile filth of man laying down with man. And we know that’s bad news because it says so in the Bible.
But there are plenty of things that the Bible says are bad news, and they’re not all constitutionally prohibited. In fact, of the traditional Christian ten commandments, only three are prohibited by law (don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t bear false witness). And of the other seven commandments, two of the prohibited acts - have no other gods, don’t make for yourself an idol - are actually protected by the first amendment to the Constitution.
As far as I know, there aren’t any movements afoot to constitutionally prohibit working on the Sabbath or refusing to honor your mother and your father.
So why this issue? Why is same-sex marriage picked out and trumped as the worst threat to our nation? How does this always seem to end up on the tongues of grandstanders?
Well, I guess you could start with homophobia. There’s a lot of that in this country, and if you’re a politician looking for votes, you could do a lot worse than to play on the in-born (inbred?) fears of a largely-homophobic populace with the threat of a couple queers moving in next door and flaunting their gay-sex lifestyle under the grace of the law (not to mention the affront it would be to your own marriage, loveless and joyless as it may be).
But I think there’s more to it than just good old fashioned queer bashing. This is the question I’ve been tossing around the past few days, and the conclusion I keep coming to is this:
I mean, let’s face it: if you’re in power, who is left to kick around? You can’t go after the blacks anymore. And women were always good for some oppressing, but they’ve got the law behind them, too. So what’s a powerful person to do? The law is protecting all the traditional groups that suffer under the oppression of those in power.
Still got the gays. Always got the gays. And if you can’t physically abuse them, you can demonize them and demoralize them by the power of the law. Psychologically, you can continue to remind homosexuals that they are not on an even par by legally telling them that their love - and, by extension, their lives and their being - is not permissible.
So let’s call it what it is. It’s not a defense of marriage. It’s not about sanctity or sacrament. It’s not about the bond two people are trying to legally form, a bond that will no ill effect whatsoever on you or your life or your children, save for maybe contributing to a more tolerant and forgiving society.
It’s about oppression. It’s about those in power protecting and furthering their power through stomping on those below them.
“You can’t get married. Why? Because I said so. And by me controlling your life, I’m reaffirming and strengthening my own power.”
Because when you’re in power, you need to have somebody to hold down. And like I said, there’s nobody left but the gays.
Well, I guess there are always immigrants. But that’s just a given.