Published on Thursday, February 26, 2004 by CommonDreams.org
Twelve Reasons Against a Ban on Homosexual Marriages
by Joyce Marcel
There are so many things wrong with the idea of adding an anti-gay marriage amendment to the Constitution of the United States that I can barely list them all.
First, I don't want the government in my bedroom, or in anyone else's bedroom. Wasn't that what the Republicans used to stand for? Getting the government off our backs? Well, get the hell off our backs, George W. Bush. Why is it your job, or the government's job, to tell us who to marry or when or for how long or how high to jump?
Second, you know that old saying about how first they came for this group and I said nothing, and then they came for that group and I said nothing, and at the end, they came for me? Well, right now the Republican right-wing Christian majority is scapegoating homosexuals. Who knows who they'll come after next. Progressives? Jews? Blacks? You?
Third, I'm becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the idea of born-again Christians forcing their religious ideas upon the civil order. America was founded upon the idea of a separation between church and state - it's a fundamental principle. Here we have the freedom to worship - or not to worship - as we choose. America is not a Christian nation, no matter what Bush or John Ashcroft want to think. It is a multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-denominational country and thank all the gods for it. Take a good look around the world at those countries ruled by religious fundamentalism. The Taliban comes to mind. So does Saudi Arabia. No thanks.
Fourth, American prosperity is based on the freedom of thoughts and ideas, of inventing, exploring, creating. We're supposed to like new ideas. We used to be the country that worshipped progress. The more religious convention is forced upon us, the less free we become.
Fifth, as a corollary, gay weddings have become big business in Vermont. A ban on gay marriage could hurt our American bottom line.
Sixth, as an American, I don't want anyone telling me what I can or cannot do, think or say. About anything.
Seventh, right now American marriage has a 50 percent survival rate. Instead of banning gay marriage because it changes "the most fundamental institution of civilization," Bush should welcome to the institution the many stable gay couples who are flocking to San Francisco to get married. They give it some class.
Eighth, Bush's marriage to Stepford Wife Laura is not a model many of us would willingly follow - especially since it has produced two willful, spoiled, wild teenage girls who are frequently photographed drunk and crawling all over Ecuadorian boy-toys in nightclubs. So how does Bush get off defining marriage for the rest of us?
Ninth, Bush should start focusing on some of the issues that might actually do the populace some good - universal health care springs to mind, or funding our public schools so underprivileged kids can have a chance. Gay marriage is what they call a "wedge issue," something to rile up the masses so they don't see that they're being lied to, hog-tied and shipped off to market.
Tenth, if Bush really cared about the Bible, he'd study the Ten Commandments a bit more closely. How about the Sixth? Remember Thou Shalt Not Kill? How does he explain the 150-plus capital deaths he's responsible for in Texas, plus the 550-plus Americans who have died in Iraq, plus all the Iraqis. Plus the wounded? And how about the Ninth? Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness and Try to Demonize Decent People Because It's An Election Year, you turkey?
Eleven, how can a man who stole the presidency and then, in the most hypocritical way possible, take a vow to defend the Constitution, be allowed to tamper with it in any way? Make him sit down and read it - that might be a good first step. This way, he might as well just eliminate the First Amendment and make the second one read, "And George Bush, being all things to all people, shall do exactly what he likes to Americans, to American civil liberties, to Afghanis in Guantanamo, and to the rest of the world, if they have gold, oil or anything else that will enrich him and his friends." Which brings us back to the First Commandment, "Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me."
Twelve, let's look at the Bible. Many people quote Genesis 2:18-25 when they talk about a ban on gay marriage. It's the truly beautiful part of the creation story where God, knowing that Adam is lonely, takes a rib out of his chest while he is sleeping and creates a woman. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh," the Bible says.
This - one man, one woman, cleaving - was the standard then, when the Book was being written, or pieced together from various holy legends and ancient texts, and it is the standard now. But it is not the only standard. There were homosexuals in ancient Egypt, homosexuals in Greece, and I have met them as members of tribes living deep in the Amazon jungle. They are not the majority, but they have always existed and they will always exist. God made them, just as he made heterosexuals. Because they're not mentioned in Genesis is no reason to assume that God excluded them from his Creation or his Laws. Genesis doesn't mention God creating co-joined twins, either, but we know he did.
God does, however, mention compassion. He asks us to show "mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." If one of those commandments is to marry, then God must love homosexual marriages after all.
Joyce Marcel is a free-lance journalist who lives in southern Vermont and writes about culture, politics, economics and travel.