Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gay Marriage

America is the land of the free, so why are several states passing laws against gay marriage? Shouldn't two consenting adults be allowed to marry? As I see it, marriage is purely a civil union which grants additional rights such as a tax break, tax free inheritance, Social Security, health insurance, and the ability to make medical decisions, among other things. Why should one group of people be excluded from these civil rights? Religion has nothing to do with the governmental institution of marriage. In a way, laws against gay marriage are a violation of separation between church and state, since the only real reason to be against gay marriage is a religious one. In the eyes of the law, religion shouldn't matter. Atheists are allowed to get married for example. Marriages don't have to be performed in a church. They don't have to be performed by a religious leader. As far as the law is concerned, marriage is a civil union that has nothing to do with God.

If you want to include God in your marriage ceremony, that's your right. You can get married in a church or not, by a religious leader or not. Legalizing gay marriage doesn't mean churches will have to perform them. Religion is separate from government. Our founding fathers wanted them to be kept separate, and while they aren't always, they should be. All men are created equally. Therefor all men and women should have the same rights. It's really very simple. Why can two drunken strangers who don't even know each other be allowed to get married in a drive through wedding chapel in Vegas, but a committed couple who've been together for 20 years aren't allowed to get married because they're gay?

Several countries around the world such as Spain, Belgium, Canada, The Netherlands, Norway, and South Africa allow gay marriage and their societies haven't fallen apart. Marriage for hetrosexual couples hasn't ended or been ruined in any way. The claim that allowing gay people to have the same rights as straight people will somehow destroy marriage is equivalent to the claim that allowing black people to hold public office will destroy the government. If you're personally against gay marriage, then don't have one. Taking rights away from a minority group never improves society.

Is homosexuality a choice? The fact that we find homosexual animals in nature suggests that it is not, but even if it is, Americans have the right to make their own choices. Some straight couples have decided not to get married until gay marriage is banned in every state, and this is used as evidence that gay marriage destroys marriage as an institution. However, there are also straight couples who refuse to get married until gay marriage is allowed, so it could be argued that NOT allowing gay marriage destroys the institution of marriage.

We can't change the definition of marriage.

We already have changed the definition. In Biblical times, polygamy was common, but is now illegal. Interracial marriage and divorce used to be against the law, but now they aren't. The definition of marriage already has been changed, so saying that it can't be changed again is silly.

I believe in traditional Biblical marriage.

Then you obviously haven't read the Bible. According to the Bible, a rape victim must marry her rapist (Deuteronomy 22:28-29). A man must marry his sister-in-law if his brother dies without fathering a son (Deuteronomy 25:5). Polygamy is common place. In fact, Soloman had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3). It's okay to have children with a slave if your wife is infertile (Genesis 16, Genesis 30) and if your wife does end up having a son, you can kick out the slave and her child (Genesis 21:10-14). A master chooses whom his slave will marry and any children remain the master's property (Exodus 21:4). Soldiers can marry female prisoners of war against their will and kick them out later if they aren't pleased with them (Deuteronomy 21:11-14). When it comes to the sacred institution of marriage, the Old Testament pretty much says "anything goes."

In the New Testament, Jesus and Paul actually speak out against marriage, preferring celibacy (Matthew 19:9-12 and 1 Corinthians 7:1-2, 7-9) In Revelation 14:1-5 male virgins are given preferential treatment because they are undefiled by women. The assertion that the Bible defines marriage as being between only one man and one woman is false. The Bible says nothing of the kind.

Certainly Christians don't believe in forcing everybody to be good. There are no laws against taking God's name in vain, or working on the Sabbath even though the Bible says these are sins, so why make a law against being gay? As a Christian, it's your right to believe with every fiber of your being that it's a sin, but Jesus pointed out that everybody is a sinner. No one has the right to cast the first stone.

Another point, the Old Testament doesn't forbid female homosexuality, although male homosexuality is punishable by death (Leviticus 20:13). In fact, some Orthodox Jews who follow the Old Testament word for word, believe homosexuality is a sin for men, but not for women. The New Testament does denounce both male and female homosexuality (Romans 1:26-27). However, the Bible also tells us that slavery is acceptable. The Bible is either true or is isn't. If the Bible was wrong about slavery, couldn't it also be wrong about homosexuality?

People point to the fact that God created Adam and Eve as a critique against gay marriage. However, Adam and Eve's children would have had to commit incest in order to populate the world, as would Noah's family after the flood. Does this mean that according to the Bible incest is natural and not committing incest is against God? God actually calls for the death penalty for incest, so this would mean Adam and Eve's children should have been celibate.

Mormons should support Prop 8.

It's especially hypocritical for Mormons to support Prop 8 given their history on marriage. Mormons used to practice polygamy until 1896 when they stopped the practice in order for Utah to gain statehood, in spite of the fact that the Bible and Book of Mormon encourage polygamy. They also went against scripture (2 Nephi 5:21-23, Alma 3:6) in 1978 when they lifted their ban on interracial marriage since they would lose their tax exempt status if they didn't. History shows us the Mormon church will go against their own scripture if outside pressure is applied. The Mormon church WILL eventually allow gay marriage. Not right away of course, but like with abondoning polygamy and accepting interractial marriage, there will come a time when the popular opinion in the United States will force them to change their "unchanging" doctrine once again.

Just for fun, here's a list that's been circulating around on blogs:

1) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, liposuction and air conditioning.

2) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

3) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

4) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can’t marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

5) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Brittany Spears’ 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

6) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.

7) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

8) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion in America.

9) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That’s why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven’t adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans…

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