Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Weak Faith

What would I do without The Sun to provide fodder for this blog?  Here's the latest:,0,1078517.story

There's so much to savor here, it's hard to know where to start.  I guess I'll go with the obvious chortling with glee that Mike McManus displays in this column in which he opines that President Obama's statement that gay marriage ought to be recognized civilly is guaranteeing that he'll be a one term President.  You'd never know it from the print version but the on-line version says this guy's a pastor.  He's definitely not one of the forgiveness kind.

Then there's the name of his group - Marriage Savers.  Being a single issue group, it's clear he and his believe that keeping gay people from marrying is necessary to save heterosexual marriage.  For the life of me I can't see how that's going to happen.  Gay people have never been able to legally marry until recently, yet the marriages of straight people have been failing for millenia.  I don't mean failing in terms of divorce.  The increase in that rate is about a half century or so of event.  I mean that marriages throughout history have largely been a failure by the standard of a partnership.  Most often it was a one way street in which the female was subservient to the male.  That's not a successful marriage.  That's just bondage.

What strikes me most about this column is how weak is the faith of opponents to gay marriage.  The premise of their opposition is basd on a conflation of two different things.  Their opposition is based on religious faith that says a marriage recognized by their religion is between one man and one woman.  Ok, fine.  That has nothing to do with civil marriage.  A government recognition of marriage serves two purposes.  One, it promotes stability in relationships, thus stability in home situations in raising children.  (This is theory, not reality.  Reality is that many marriages are unstable and promote dysfunctional children.)  Two, civil marriage provides benefits to partners (and children).  Tax benefits, legal status in home ownership, legal power to make decisions relating to one another, and inheritance and insurance benefits accrue from civil marriage.  Civil marriage has nothing to do with religious faith.

As it stands, gay people can already get married in religious ceremonies.  Unitarian Universalist churches, for one, will marry gay couples.  No one from another faith is required to recognize those marriages.  Similarly, civil marriages are not required to be recognized by churches.  All churches have to do is provide equal benefits to their employees, but nothing requires that a church hire a gay employee in the first place.  Churches, and Congress, are in the unique position of being protected in being as discriminatory in hiring as they want to be. 

Further bolstering my view that opponents to gay marriage are weak on their own faith, McManus, writing about the successful killing of legalized gay marriage in California, quotes a TV add run during that election.  The ad said "Children in public schools will have to be taught that same-sex marriage is just as good as traditional marriage."  This was apparently the lynchpin in the success of the drive to kill gay marriage. 

Ironically, it sums up what's wrong with the opposition and their blindness to the flaws in their position.  Why would it be a bad thing to teach children that civil marriage is civil marriage, regardless of whether it's between a man and a woman or two people of the same gender?  Without meaning to, McManus is saying he is in favor of segregation.  Marriage is a good thing but we're only going to allow some people to get married.  If you're gay, you are segregated from this institution.  Get to the back of the bus and ride your civil union.  Or no union at all.

It's all so pointless to me.  Opponents of gay marriage can't keep gay people from having sex or living together (Bowers v Hardwick having been overturned).  So what's the point in segregating gay people?  They're still going to engage in the behavior you abhor.  All you're doing is keeping them from enjoying legal rights that any other couple composed of opposite sexes can enjoy.  Or not enjoy, as there are plenty of heterosexual couples who decide not to marry, voluntarily foregoing the legal benefits.  But that's their choice.  Why deny gays the same choice?  Even more pointlessly, in the end, no matter how many of these efforts McManus and his allies overturn, in the long run gay marriage will be recognized.  Younger people don't have the issues he has with gay marriage.  In 20 years, as older voters overwhelmingly opposed to gay marriage die off, there will be gay marriage throughout the land, no matter the losses now.

And as a final note, not really germane to the main point, I'll point out that the religious premise of one man/one woman as the basis of traditional, biblical marriage is bunk, too.  There was polygamy in the early days of the Bible's writings.  What about that tradition?

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