On Friday, the Iowa Supreme Court found a law banning same-sex marriages to be unconstitutional. Good for Iowa! Hopefully, rational minds will prevail there and this court decision will be allowed to stand. Unlike Iowa, Alabama passed the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment in 2006. Although I voted against this, 81% of my fellow Alabamians voted for it so it was easily able to pass. At the time, I tried to reason through why so many of the residents of my state are against same-sex marriage, but was never really able to come to any conclusions. So, in light of the Iowa decision, I decided to do a little research and see if I could figure out why people are so against same-sex marriage.
The New York Times article made a reference to traditional marriage, so I hit up Wikipedia to see what it had to say about traditional marriage. Here is a summary of the arguments for traditional marriage and against same-sex marriage:
- Marriage has historically been defined as between a man and woman, thus it needs to be protected because that is how it has always been defined.
- Marriage between a man and a woman must be preserved for the children! Children need stable homes with two parents to become happy, productive members of society!
- Same-sex marriages would erode religious freedoms and encourage rampant homosexuality throughout the country.
- Same-sex marriage is unnecessary because the homosexuals can just decide not to be that way anymore.
OK, so my summary was slightly facetious, but it is only because I do not really consider any of these to be valid reasons. I think that the real reason is fear of people who are different.
Redefining institutions to correct social injustice is something that should be strived for, not shied away from. Just because slavery existed for hundreds of years in this country did not mean that is should be perpetuated (although that was one of the arguments for it at the time). Just because women and African-Americans had never had the right to vote in this country did not mean that they should not have the right to vote. So, why keep same-sex couples from marrying just because that is always the way it has been done?
The children issue is a sticky one. Now that Ashley and I have a child, I could not imagine raising one by myself; this is hard, people. However, people do it by themselves all the time and I greatly respect them for that. I believe that raising children is best done in a happy, loving home. Note, that happy, loving home could be with a single parent, two heterosexual parents, two homosexual parents, or a whole group of parents. If the parents love the child and the child loves the parents, I don’t see the harm that can come of any of these households. I personally think that the more parents you have, the better off you are when it comes to raising kids. That way, when your kid is being a snot and irritating you, you can trade off with a parent that might not be quite so frustrated at the time.
I do not understand the “eroding religious freedoms” argument. I do not know of a group supporting same-sex marriage that says that your religion must allow same-sex couple to marry inside of your religion. This is a civil issue, not a religious issue. The government should not allow a ban on same-sex marriage; I do not care what your church allows or disallows inside its walls. If your church chooses not to allow same-sex couple to marry inside the church, then so be it. Additionally, the government allowing same-sex marriage does not mean you have to marry someone of your gender; same-sex marriage going on in your state is not going to make you gay.
No, I am pretty sure that the real reason people are against same-sex marriage is fear of people who are different, mixed with a bit of zealotry. So, if you are against same-sex marriage, try doing the following. Imagine you have found the perfect person that you want to spend the rest of your life with. For many of you, that is your spouse; for others, maybe you have just not found them yet. You love them with all of your heart and they love you back just as strongly. In fact, the two of you love each other so much that you want to get married and be together for as long as you live. Now, imagine that you are not allowed to marry, basically, because some other people just do not want you to be together. They do not think you belong together and, in fact, tell you that it is wrong that the two of you love each other. How do you feel now? None of you reading this would want this situation to happen to you; why would you want to put someone else through it?