Sunday, November 23, 2003

I'm sick of listening to hate-mongers' arguments against gay marriage. It's all balderdash, not a serious or compelling or rational reason in the bunch. The last straw was commentary on NPR November 21, by one Stanley Kurtz, who claims to have gay friends, but who has rationalized his way out of supporting gay marriage. His argument is a series of giant leaps of logic, the main one being: allowing gay marriage would somehow dissolve the "symbolic link" between marriage and parenthood, thus endangering (somehow; he never says how) our children. He hurries past the fact that over the years heterosexual couples by the millions have been unable to, or in more recent years, have chosen not to, bear children, and that their existence was never considered a threat to the concept or practice of marriage or a breaking of his mythical "symbolic link" between marriage and childbearing.

We need to keep in mind that marriage was created, first and foremost, as an economic institution, even for the lower classes, even when "economics" meant the sharing or withholding of grubs and berries and mastadon tenderloin. Marriage also served to keep women in an inferior status as long as they couldn't work outside the home and earn their own money. Birth control and the feminist "revolution" have changed that so that yes, we are seeing people delaying marriage until much later than earlier generations, more couples who choose not to have children at all, more divorces, and other signs that the institution as it has been practiced is weakening.

Like any other institution, shouldn't marriage have to adapt as human society changes? You can't say marriage is an Absolute. It was created by human beings (spare me Biblical quotations--you don't find any marriage ceremony in Genesis 1, and besides I'm tired of Christians-- and in the U.S. it's always Christians-- claiming that the rest of us have to live by their rules) and by definition, then, cannot be an Absolute.

But to me, the most compelling argument for gay marriages is so that we finally, legally, recognize and empower committed partners in insurance and hospitalization matters. It is an obscenity and a disgrace that someone who has loved and lived with a person for years, and is now having to watch their loved one die, can be abruptly, totally, cut out of any decisions for that person, by vengeful, ignorant, hateful "relatives" of the dying person. It is beyond my understanding how anyone can justify that.

I have never once heard any argument that convinces me that gay marriage threatens either the institution of marriage or my own personal marriage in any way. No matter how kindly Mr. Kurtz packages his argument, at heart it's still just prejudice. All the arguments I've heard boil down to hate and prejudice. Gay-haters may fool themselves and others who fear gays but they aren't fooling gays, and they're not fooling me. I think that with friends like Mr. Kurtz, his gay friends don't need enemies.

No comments: