Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Catching Up

So, for this post, I want to talk about DOMA (Defense Against Marriage Act) being struck down.  I wanted to do a post on this when it was relevant (about a month ago), but issues came up and I didn't have as much time to be at home, or sit down long enough to write what I wanted to say on the subject.  I still don't know exactly what I want to say, but now I have some time to write down some thoughts.

Full disclosure - I'm a gay male.  So, you probably know which way I'm going to swing on this post, but I feel that it's something that should be known when discussing this.  I don't think I flaunt it or am overly flamboyant; in fact, I think I have only told 4 or 5 people, and none of these are people I've actually met in person, just friends met while gaming or via an online class.  Sure, I've got to know these people well, and talk to some on a daily basis, but I just can't bring myself to tell a person that I physically see with any regularity.  But I'm getting off topic, and I'm planning on doing a separate post on this anyway.

Anyway, DOMA was struck down, or a part of it was, in June.  As everyone is probably fully aware of by now, this decision did not make gay marriage legal in all states; this decision didn't even make it so that a state has to recognize a gay married couple if they were married in another state.  It did, however, make it so that any legally married gay person(s) receive equal rights/benefits under the federal law.  This means that gay couples that are married can receive tax breaks that other married couples receive.  If one of the parties in the marriage have a pension - their spouse can now receive it if their spouse dies or becomes ill.  If one spouse is hospitalized in an area where only family can visit, they can now visit their spouse instead of having to wait in a waiting room until their spouse either recovers or passes away.

Those are only a few of the perks now afforded to gay couples.  I'm sure there are more, concerning wills (or lack of a will in the event of a death), property, and other things.  I also thought I would look at some of the arguments against gay marriage and give a point of view on them.  I do not speak for the LGBT or any other affiliate, this is just my own personal opinion.  I wasn't sure if I needed to say that, or if I would be accused of having some "agenda," by doing this, but... there it is.

One popular argument is that homosexual people being allowed to marry will ... let's say desecrate, for lack of a better word, the institution of marriage.  Two points:

One - When it comes to marriage, there is the religious ceremony - you know, it normally takes place in a church, with a pastor / rabbi / preacher / whatever officiating the ceremony.  The couple invites their friends or family, there's multiple people involved in the ceremony, normally a couple of children doing odd-jobs, yadda yadda yadda.  There is also the legal aspect of marriage, which is where the license comes from.  The couple goes to the justice of the peace, or the judge, or the county clerk's office, after getting some blood work done (depending on the state, I believe).  This is purely a government arrangement, and has nothing to do with any religious ceremony.

Two - In my opinion... the sanctity of marriage has been jeopardized, if not already in the gutter, for a while.  Do I have to point out Kim Kardashian's wedding that lasted maybe two months?  Or Mario Lopez's 2-week marriage?  Britney Spear's 55-hour marriage, Cher's 9-hour marriage, and on, and on, and on.  Sure, these may be celebrities - but they were afforded the right to marry and divorce/annul and I doubt any big brouhaha was made about it.  Or what about what I like to call "Serial Brides," who bounce from marriage to marriage (I want to do a post about this too).  The point is, any "sanctity" that marriage had is long gone by now, in my opinion.

Marriage was meant to provide a stable environment to raise children with, or Marriage is a device to promote procreation.

So, what exactly is wrong with a gay couple raising a child?  Personally, I don't see anything wrong with it, it's two individuals wanting to raise a child, just like any other person.  And in a gay marriage, both parties have to consent to having a child, I doubt it's something that they would be able to surprise their spouse with out of the blue.  And there is no chance to conceive a baby to "fix the relationship."  Furthermore, while I have not met a person raised by homosexual parents - how would you be able to tell without them telling you outright or you asking them.  On the other point, the one where marriage was a device to promote procreation - gay people can still have children - their plumbing still works I assume.  They just aren't attracted to the sex that can result in a baby.  But there is IVF now, if the couple wished to go that route.  And if that is one of the arguments used, what about menopausal women?  Are we going to force them to leave their husbands of x years because they can't have children anymore?  Or sterile people?  What about people that don't want any children but got married because of their love for each other and wanting to make their relationship more permanent?

If men can marry men, then it's only a matter of time before men can marry animals.

Okay.  Just... okay.  I realize there's a fetish out there involving the last half of that statement, but... *shudder*
Let's look at marriage:  a contract between two consenting adults.  (Men and Women if you're religious or in a state that doesn't recognize gay marriage, I suppose).  Animals are not able to sign their names.  I doubt animals do a lot of heavy thinking that should go into making a decision as large as getting married.  Don't get me wrong, there are smart animals; I think my dog is pretty smart, capable of emotions, and can tell me when I'm driving in a way that displeases her.  But I doubt that she would understand what a marriage was, what it entailed, and come on... she's a dog!  That's just sick.

What will gay people want next?  We gave them civil unions but those weren't good enough!

The U.S. tried the separate-but-equal thing a while back between white and black people.  It didn't work then, and it didn't work with civil unions.  If they were the same, why not call them both marriages?  Why not cut out the whole religious part?  And, the issue with civil unions was what was mentioned at the beginning of this post - other states were not required to recognize them or provide the benefits that came with a marriage.

For the record, I could care less about marriage.  I'm not seeing anyone right now, and have never dated another male.  I may change my mind down the road, after I meet someone, where I would like to get married, if my state ever decided to allow it, but for now, I see it as an out-dated institution.  But I can understand while others may want to get married, or to just be treated like any other married person in America.

And, if anyone has made it this far, thank you.  I understand this is a sensitive topic, and I welcome any comments you may have on the subject.  I only ask that you keep the comments civil, as in discuss the topic without dragging any specific person through the mud.  I think that is how change can happen, discussing things pragmatically.  Too often I click on an article and look through the comments to see people degrading others just because they don't agree with their belief.  Whereas if they looked at their argument and presented their own arguments as to why they believe otherwise, maybe one or more people could walk away knowing something they did not before.

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