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Friday, July 15, 2011

Gay Marriage Does Not Make Anarchy




Finally I’m returning to what many would find a common topic I covered in my blog’s earlier days, GLBT issues. A former Super Bowl champion, David Tyree of the New York Giants, is now using his voice as an athlete to influence people against legislation of a same sex marriage bill in New York (which passed, not surprisingly). His first words on the subject were that it would lead to ‘anarchy’. But he later qualified that he meant lawlessness in a sense of moral relativism. Problem with that is he’s making a slippery slope argument. Just because we expand the definition of marriage to include a man and a man or a woman and a woman as couples does not make people start thinking they can steal and murder people and get away with it. The fact that he thinks people will become more immoral because they don’t have a proper nuclear family is also pretty misguided. He seems to be quite a “moral” person, albeit more moralistic than moral in this instance, but he lived in a single parent household most of his life. The lack of a steady family life isn’t the only factor that can affect a person’s morals and beliefs. Simply being exposed to a community or a faith that is compelling enough can draw out a person’s “moral fabric” (as he so “eloquently” put it) even if they’re an orphan. In short, moral development is relatively distinct from one’s family background or lack thereof in the cases of orphaned children. Even children adopted by gay couples don’t necessarily become more immoral and aren’t even more likely to become gay themselves.

All these fears are unfounded by any real evidence and instead rely on the mere possibility. Instead of seeing the reality in front of us, that gay people are in committed relationships and are not all in the stereotypes and prejudices we might have about them, people persist in believing that they aren’t like straight people, so they don’t deserve marriage, which is somehow reserved only for straight people. Marriage as an institution hasn’t existed as a singular form. If one goes back far enough, polygyny, where a man could have multiple wives, was permissible. And interracial marriage was considered taboo for centuries as well even when marriage became commonly monogamous. Not to mention that even if we assume that marriage between one man and one woman was the more common form of coupling, there weren’t the same rights for a woman as for the man. Women were simply married into the male’s household and had fewer responsibilities, stuck as a domestic, taking care of the children while the man was even free in certain societies to take a concubine. Marriage has evolved over time and to say that it has remained exactly the same as it is now back through history is not only ignorant, but so myopic as to make you appear foolish.

Even if women in marriages across the world have rights that are equal to their husband in terms of the law, divorces and the like, they didn’t always. Divorce wasn’t even an option for women until a certain period in history and only men could file for divorce under any legal system before that. Marriage has always been evolving in some way through history and merely allowing faithful couples of the same sex to get married and have the same rights and title of marriage will not make married couples feel less special or make the children of those marriages through adoption or the like be more prone to immorality or homosexuality than children of straight couples, which does happen.

A lot of the difficulties that exist with this singular example blown out of proportion by a moderately educated but nonetheless self righteous athlete can be solved by pointing out that at least 5 other states have already accepted gay marriage as equal to straight marriage: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Iowa and the District of Columbia. Of course, people can allege that U.S. society is getting worse since those things have happened, but they’d be no better than Westboro Baptist Church is when saying that God is punishing people for accepting homosexuality. Do you really want to have yourself compared so easily to one of the most hateful groups in the United States, which has also been banned from the U.K. last I heard? I didn’t think so. Instead, people try to distance themselves by saying this isn’t because of their religious beliefs and they don’t want a theocracy of any sort. But if you want to enforce this sort of discrimination against same sex couples just because it makes you feel uncomfortable, then you’ve already missed the point of minority protection put forth by the 9th amendment of the U.S. Constitution. I personally wouldn’t see a problem with even polygamists being allowed to have marriage rights, as long as there were provisions about how the money is divided up and shared, since there could be potential abuses not present with a two spouse home that would exist in both gay and straight marriages between two people.

If you are afraid of anarchy because a 7th state in the U.S. legislates gay marriage as legal, you neither understand anarchy nor do you have any evidence except speculative hypotheses about any sort of causation of immorality resulting from legislation and acceptance of same-sex marriage. All you could really argue this point of immorality connected to acceptance of homosexuality from is a slippery slope argument or questionable relationships of correlation and causation. If legislating gay marriage made people more evil, wouldn’t we see crime rates go up in those areas? And even if they did, how can you prove that those people were committing crimes because of gay marriage? Are you really claiming that either people in straight marriages or children raised in gay marriages are somehow going to become worse people because of either gay marriage being legal or because they are raised by a gay couple? There’s far too much of a relation of causation being claimed here between marriage and morality. Marriage does not lead to morality, nor does morality require marriage in any strict sense. I’m surprised that this is the only thing a football player can do. You’ve won the Superbowl, so you’d at least have some accomplishment to go with for coaching or something else. At least you’re not like Carrie Prejean, who’s probably been on her own tirade about gay marriage herself since she got runner up in Miss U.S.A. a few years ago.

Of course the legislation has long since been passed in New York, so I say bring on the anarchy if it happens, which it won’t.  So until next time, Namaste and aloha.

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