Thursday, November 5, 2009

Same Sex Marriage, I Don’t Get It.


You know, I just don’t get it.

I really don’t.

This week, Maine, a state known for its tolerant liberal attitude and a place where “live and let live” is an old old saying, joined thirty other states in banning marriage between certain members of its population.

Like the rest of the dubious majority to which Maine now belongs, the ban was approved by a majority of its voters, 53% of them – well, 53% of the voters who bothered to turn out anyway.

However, the majority of Mainers, unlike a rather large number of Californians and Midwesterners, don’t seem out and out homophobic per se – though as a practical matter, it is rather obvious that they are. The chief opposition, by and large, didn’t vocalize as bigoted screeds by religious leaders decrying the flaunting of God’s will – which apparently only they are personally privy to. The Mormons didn’t descend en mass on the state - declaring marriage a sacred sacrament between a man and four or five fifteen year old girls who may or may not be his first cousins. Evangelicals largely didn’t flood the airwaves with dire threats of fire and brimstone and Angry Tearful Jesus and admonishments to keep homosexuality where it belongs – as secret affairs for outwardly straight married conservatives in deep, deep denial. Opposition didn’t really manifest in the sanctimonious bloviating of conservative politicians bemoaning the “gay agenda” to deconstruct traditional American values – traditional values being, so far as I can tell, tractor pulls and the shooting of holes in every single road sign along the nation’s highways. Nor did the majority of the opposition consist, as it did in California, of the Pollyannaism of community leaders hysterically predicting that same-sex marriage is a gateway drug to free range bestiality, legalization of pedophilia, and dogs and cats living together in anarchy. All these opposing positions were there certainly, but they weren’t front and center the way the hatred and bigotry and out and out lies and deliberate spontaneously generating and perpetuating falsehoods were during the Prop 8 battle in California.

No, the principle argument against equality for all in Maine seemed to be the fear that “they” would start teaching “gay-marriage” in the schools.

You may use your imagination to insert my Pilot to Co-pilot, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Over? face here, if you like.

I don’t get it.

Teach gay marriage in school?

Teach it how?

Like in home economics or something?

Would there be role-playing like for traditional hetero relationships? Some high schools have a class where a boy and a girl are paired up in a “marriage” and given a “baby” – sometimes a doll, sometimes a five pound sack of flour – to care for. It’s supposed to impress on them the challenges of parenthood and marriage. Is this what the opposition means? Girls would be paired up and forced to experience simulated lesbian lifestyles full of hand woven natural fibers and Veganism? Would they spend a week hating men and referring to the cheerleading squad as gender traitors? Would the boys be required to select a simulated same-sex life partner and forgo football for a selection of fabulous shoes and a fieldtrip to the Pink Carousel for virgin daiquiris?

Is that what the opposition is talking about when they say “teach gay marriage in school?”

Or do they mean that it would it be more like how the Christian Conservatives keep trying to sneak their bible into the public schools through the Trojan horse of “Intelligent” Design? Is that what they’re afraid of, that secret pervasive gay agenda? The damned homosexuals want to add Interior Design to shop class maybe? Do they want to teach the controversy? Will they insist that fabric swatches and pastel color wheels be added to the Auto Body Repair class? Will they repaint the gym with rainbows?

I can understand if that’s what the Christian Conservatives mean, because, really, who would know better than them about hidden agendas in the public schools. Right?

Or is it that what they really mean is the schools might teach the realities of actually being gay in America? The hate. The fear. The discrimination. The brutality. The bigotry. The shame. The ridicule. The denial of rights. The isolation. The second class citizenship. The death threats and the actual deaths at the hands of their smugly, morally superior Christian neighbors? How, in the freest nation in the world, yet another group of people has been marginalized by the tyranny of the majority? Perhaps the role-playing class could include a scenario where a hetero couple is arbitrarily denied a marriage license because the rest of the class doesn’t approve of their pairing, or better yet maybe the class could select a “Mathew Sheppard” from one of their number, beat him to death, and leave his battered corpse hanging on a fence in front of the school.

Is that what the opposition really means when they say they are afraid that the schools will be forced to teach gay marriage? Again, I can understand that, if that’s what they mean. Because we certainly wouldn’t want our children to learn about that, would we? I spent my entire life in the military, you want your foot soldiers to fight, to kill, to hate, you don’t want them to see the opposition as human. You sure as hell don’t want your kids empathizing with gays, they might give up the good fight and find a way to live peacefully with their neighbors. Certainly, I can understand why Christian Conservatives wouldn’t want their kids to learn about the reality of being gay in America.

Or when they say “teach gay marriage in school” do they mean that including a line in a textbook like, “In the United States of American, the Constitution guarantees every citizen the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, to equal protection under the law, to full and equal participation in society, freedom from persecution, and the right to live their own lives as they see fit without regard for other’s religious beliefs” will somehow make their kids turn gay?

That’s it, isn’t it?

That’s what they really fear.

If their children learn that it’s OK to be who you are, without fear, without shame, well, they just might be who they are. Happily.

And we sure as hell wouldn’t want that now, would we?

Yeah, I don’t get it.

I don’t get it at all.


  1. So why does gay marriage have to be voted on but segregation didn't? I thought the point of civil rights was that they couldn't be voted away by the majority.

  2. I agree with mensley. There should be no voting on civil rights. And this is exactly why.

  3. mensley and vince? I agree with you wholeheartedly, but it's going to take a major and widespread disenfranchisement of the civil rights of old white guys in this country before that notion gains any traction at all.

    Can you imagine how fast that law would make it through both houses of congress, if something like that happened? Giant Jesus on a Quilt, it would make your head spin.

    The only other way I can see it happening in my lifetime is if those same old white men all contracted a severe case of dead all at once. Out with the old, in with the new, so to speak.

    *shrug* It's times like this that my cynicism depresses even me.

  4. Dogs and cats living in anarchy? Not in my house! The cat is firmly in charge; no anarchy allowed. Currently one is on my lap (the 15-pound one), the other on my feet (the 100-pound one). But it's okay, because my partner is of the opposite sex. Right? (Or does the part where the dog and the cat are of the same sex violate some principles? They're both neutered, after all.)

    I do not understand how anyone can feel so threatened by people trying to make a life for themselves that they feel compelled to take away the rights of others even where those rights do not in any way affect the majority. I don't get it either.

  5. I thought the point of civil rights was that they couldn't be voted away by the majority

    Well, see civil rights only apply to real, actual Americans. You know, Straight Christian Conservatives.

    Am I wrong here? Aren't the Children of Ham, men who would lay with men, and those who don't accept Jesus as their personal savior less than human? And therefore undeserving of equality under the Constitution? Isn't that exactly what is preached in so many words from a rather large number of pulpits?

    Rationalization, the first step to hypocrisy.

  6. Jesus was *fabulous*

    Then he said to Thomas, "Reach here your finger, and see my hands. Reach here your hand, and put it into my side. Don't be unbelieving, but believing."

    Oh, baby.

    And you wonder why the fundies were trying to deny that Jesus and Mary Magdeline were an item.

  7. Eric, yeah I saw that. I dig PvP. Personally though I loved "Kurt's" response to Wizard Entertainment. Bawahaha. Priceless. The guy rocks.

  8. To quote my friend Brian, "Why did I become gay? Because I figured I couldn't get enough people to hate me for just being me."


  9. Michelle, that's just awesome - or perhaps I should say, that's just fabulous!

  10. Hey, speaking of things, the Bible more or less specifically condemns men who lay with men, and as we know a literal interpretation of the Bible is the only acceptable interpretation - but so far as I can determine it does not specifically condemn women who lay with women - now, from a literal interpretation of scripture standpoint, does that mean God is OK with lesbians?

    Christianity makes my head hurt, it's so complicated.

    Obviously I'm going to heck.

  11. And, as someone else online pointed out today, the Bible explicitly forbids eating lobster. And yet Maine is quite okay with ignoring that prohibition.

  12. Well, as I recall Jesus was pretty specific about not acting like a douchebag - but that doesn't seem to stop his followers...

    Perhaps they need to read my "Don't be a Dick" post.

  13. And as long as we're on this subject: I'd love to have an expert in Christianity explain to me why a supposedly loving God would create people who are attracted to their same sex, but then forbid them to act on it and thereby directly condemn them to be miserable and full of self hatred for their entire Earthly existence, BUT not make other people that way and allow them to be happy. And to do so in a manner that apparently has no rhyme nor reason other than just to single out some people for a little cosmic fuck over.

    How does that not make God the biggest asshole in the history of everything?

    Really, love to have an answer on that one.

  14. In Canada the Supreme Court decided to legalize sex marriage because it was part of human rights. People learned to live with it.

    I think it's the best thing that could have happened.

  15. I can actually answer the bit about teaching gay marriage in schools.

    There was a case out of Massachusetts in which some very Christian parents were concerned that their young kid was being read to from a book called "King and King," in which a young prince is directed by his parents to marry, and has no interest in any of the princesses who come a-courtin, but is instantly smitten by one of their brothers. It ends with the two princes marrying -- apparently, they kiss, but the kiss itself is covered up with a big, red heart.

    Well, these religious parents WIGGED, because they didn't want their young children taught -- at such an impressionable age -- that homosexuality EXISTS, much less that it's a legitimate OPTION. I mean, from where they're sitting, homosexuality is a sin.

    So they asked if they could just "opt out" of the "King and King" book, and any related lessons. The courts said no way -- you sign up for our public schools, you learn our curriculum, and since gay marriage is legal here, this is something we're going to teach.

    This decision was the basis for some of the advertising we got in CA re: Prop 8 -- in particular one ad with a cute little blond girl saying something like, "Mommy, teacher says a prince can marry a prince, so I want to marry a princess." (With, of course, the implied message that you, as a parent, wouldn't know how to deal with this and wouldn't want to have to.)

    The irony is, I imagine schools teach from "King and King" and "Heather Has Two Mommies" regardless of whether gay marriage is legal in that jurisdiction or not. Because the lessons here are about tolerance and equality. And whether the state allows gay marriage or (the allegedly separate but equal) civil union isn't going to change the lesson one bit.

    Still... that's where the basis for this "teaching our kids about gay marriage" nonsense comes from.

  16. Jim,

    The "answer", which I'm not claiming to subscribe to, is that homosexual attraction is only here due to sin entering the world. Anything screwed up is because of it. In fact, if it weren't for sin, we'd get to see dinosaurs eating coconuts several thousand years ago.

    I'm not really in a position to call out my "own kind" right now, (That is, conservative Christians, not vegetarian velociraptors) but one of these days...

  17. I lost my ability to even BEGIN to understand the Christianist arguments long ago. And it's just A-OK for them to tell some pretty bald-faced lies... yet when confronted in the fact of those lies, they yell religious discrimination. There have been so many times in the past 30 years that I've felt like I've fallen down the rabbit hole, you'd think I'd be used to it by now. But no... my brain keeps trying to make sense of their non-sense. I'd even be able to think of them as horribly written characters in a bad science fiction novel if their stupidity and antics didn't directly impact my life and the lives of a good majority of my friends.

    No, I don't get it either. And I'm afraid I'm going to give myself a brain aneurysm trying to figure it out.

  18. Jim, I'll remind you that in many Christian Churches hetro sex is also degraded and only meant for procreation. The thought that wives aren't supposed to enjoy it, and that husbands only "perform their duties" is also the only accepted version of sex. So it's not just the homosexual sex they're trying to control, it's all sex. There's a reason why one sexual position is called "missionary" as it was the only position "approved" (with God's Good Housekeeping Seal). It's all about the "keeping us away from Temptation." Which, you know, I always thought were a good group. But I guess just like the Dixie Chicks, they have to keep them off the radio to get into heaven.

    Mensley, see, and I thought it was Jesus asked Thomas to pull his finger. I must have read that chapter wrong.

  19. Here's a handy flowchart that will hopefully clarify things.

  20. Mensely, bawahahaha. That damned near killed me. Literally, I think. I have splitting headache and that made me laugh, I think part of my brains leaked out my ear.

    Shawn, I understand that part. What I don't understand is why God would "curse" some folks with lusty temptation for teh gay and not others - UNLESS what Christian Conservatives are saying is that everybody is tempted by homosexuality, including and especially them. I'd like to see them admit that in public.

    "Hi! I'm Ted Haggard, and I'll be your gateway to Heaven today. Boy I gotta tell you, I think about having sex with men all the time. Woooeee! I've tried it and it's great stuff! But you shouldn't do that, gaysecks makes Jesus cry - he's OK with the hypocrites though..."

  21. I dunno, Jim, maybe the same God that made people feel an attraction for others of the same gender and then condemned them to Hell for acting on it is the same God that invented several varieties of wasps that reproduce by lurking outside a spider's home so they can assault her on her way out, knock her unconcscious, drag her back into her home, lay eggs on her (a sexual act upon an unconscious and unwilling victim--you could reasonably call it a kind of arthropod rape) so that when the eggs hatch the wasp larvae will have something to eat for several days or weeks (slowly, from the inside, leaving vital organs for last so that the spider won't die and spoil before the larvae are done with her).

    Point being, in other words, that what a lot of contemporary religion glosses over is that God, if He exists, is indeed a complete and utter shitbag, something that old-timey flavors of Christianity and Judaism acknowledged by making God something to be scared of because He'd really mess you up, and would probably do it on general principles even if you were "saved" and devout unless you were just THAT special and lucky. But that's not really the God of most conservative Christians--their God hates selectively, as opposed to being almost indiscriminately cruel.

    I have never quite understood, actually, why that God ought to be worshipped, if He existed, at all; Satan hardly has a worse brief on his side of things and at least arguably takes a principled stand even if it comes at the price of eternal agonies, etc.

    Your heresy for the day.

  22. Jim says: "so far as I can determine it does not specifically condemn women who lay with women - now, from a literal interpretation of scripture standpoint, does that mean God is OK with lesbians?"

    Only if they're "hot" lesbians with big tits, into oil wrestling, and who've "never done anything like this before" -- all while that uptight, Christian conservative watches.

    I've never understood the concept, put forth by many bigots, that homosexuality is a "choice." Yes, I "chose" to be a member of a class a people reviled for centuries, beaten and killed for a perception that I might love a person of my own gender.

    For that matter, when does a heterosexual "choose" to be heterosexual?

  23. As we all know, Leviticus prohibits getting a tattoo as well as engaging in homosex. Logically, then, shouldn't we prohibit people with tattoos from getting married?

    As a white hetero male of privilege, with no tattoos, I'm ready to vote on that.

    (My wife tells me to let you know that that bit above was SARCASM.)

    On a more serious note, my neocon fundie friend is convinced that Freud was right. Homosexuality is the result of bad parenting. Accordingly, with enough therapy, one can be converted back to the straight path.

    Oh, did I mention he's studying for a Masters in Family Therapy?

  24. Well, I think think a vast, evil conspiracy has been masked by this whole gay marriage facade: the overwhelming demonic nature of most hetero marriage ceremonies.

    Leviticus 19:19 and Deuteronomy 22:11 clearly forbid garments of mixed fibers, but nearly every bridal gown and tuxedo out there is of blended or mixed fiber.

    Can such an evil affront to God continue? I think not.

    I unequivocally support a ban on marriages that involve deomonic mixing of fibers.

  25. How does that not make God the biggest asshole in the history of everything?

    Welcome to the cognitive dissonance that is my completely failed understanding of organized religion.

  26. Reminds me of the first time I read the story about Job. God kills his entire family and destroys all his crops and makes him ill and destitute ... now if I were Job, I would've been pissed. :p

    Then I asked a conservative Christian about it, and she said "I would've been honored to be chosen for such a test of my devotion."

    Umm. Yeah. Because giving him a brand new family afterward is a perfectly cromulent replacement.


  27. MWT,

    Not that it makes a lick of sense, but your comment reminds me of that whole Dick York/Dick Sargent switch on Bewitched. Samanthaa got afflicted with Dick York, a husband suffering from chronic back pain (you just have to bear with me about who was actually the afflicted one), and she got Dick Sargent, a gay husband as a replacement.

    Hey! I know it doesn't hold up as an entire coherent thought, but there are points of convergence.

    You may now all return to your thoughtful, intelligent discussion. I've gotta do some work for Monday. (Our catering space and one of our shooting locations for Monday are still listed as "TBD" on the Call Sheet! Whoops!)

  28. Hey, you got two whole days to fix that, Nathan. Plenty of time, plenty of time.

  29. I would've been honored to be chosen for such a test of my devotion

    :::Face Palm:::

    You have to wonder if God was sitting up there going, "This guy is a fucking idiot. OK, what if I blind him? Let's try that. Wait, I know, leprosy! Yeah!"

    If God actually does exist, and he actually does operate this way - then I'd say our personal relationship with Him would be pretty much the same as that between a scientist running an experiment and his rats. He may love 'em, but the little bastards are disposable.

  30. Well, considering that the whole point was that God had a bet going with Satan to see if Job was going to break...

  31. And we're back to God being a dick, again.

  32. Jim,

    We have previously traded barbs on www.hotchicksdigsmartmen.com, as I am an old Navy friend of Janiece's from years ago. Just read the blog for the first time. Count me an enthusiastic supporter! As I just started a new blog of my own, my handle has changed (Vagabond=Matt), and you can find me at http://thevagabondway.blogspot.com. Looking forward to your next post!

  33. Although I'm no Bible scholar, I have read some of Leviticus. In addition to the "no mixed fibers" thing, it also details (if I recall correctly), exactly how to make an animal sacrifice pleasing to the Lord God. When's the last time a good, fundamentalist Christian made an animal sacrifice to the glory of the Lord? (And no, your summer barbecue blow-out does not count.)


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