Not long ago I had a bit of a Facebook showdown with some Californians over Prop 8. I kept my cool, didn't call names or anything, but I was so mad. People who actually believe the majority get to make human rights decisions for minority groups are illogical. And it pains me whenever I see someone I like participate in bigotry, like voting against equal rights for all.
I was reading about the power of language today. How a word like marriage is loaded with connotations, beliefs and rituals that are ingrained in our minds. One of the arguments on the aforementioned showdown was why "the gays" are so hung up on the word marriage.
When marriage is considered to be the very top of all romantic relationships, it's kind of hard not to understand what the fuss is about. I mean, think of all the titles and relationships there are in romance: there's a hook-up, fuck buddies, friends with benefits, someone you're "seeing" or "talking to", a girlfriend or boyfriend, a lover, a fiance/fiancee, a common law spouse, a partner, and finally a husband or wife.
The two most respected titles, while also romantic ones, are fiance/e and husband and wife. Those surround marriage. They conjure images of living together, maybe raising a family, going on vacations, making a home and growing old together, having made vows to do so in front of all their loved ones. Or promising to do that, in the case of being engaged.
And these people want to know why the word is so important and why can't there be another word for it? Because there is no other word for it. Making the legal vows and commitment for a lifetime partnership is marriage. What are they supposed to call it? Rainbow fun life? Penile partnership? Scissoring friends? I mean, really, even domestic spouse or life partners just isn't the same. Anything other than the word marriage just doesn't offer the same level of dignity. It's second class. And here in Canada, gay people getting married hasn't resulted in any negative changes. The birds go on singing and life goes on.
And these same silly worried people forget that marriage has been constantly changing. Men could take more than one wife. 15 years olds used to be allowed to get hitched. Divorce used to be illegal. Interracial marriages were forbidden in various parts of the States till the late '60s. So what tradition is being protected here? Marriage as it was in 1970 should be preserved?
And wanting to prevent homosexuals from marrying because it's not Christian. Don't get me started. Okay, wait, I'm going to get started. It's almost 3:00 a.m. and I've got nowhere to be in the morning and I'm on a roll.
So you've got this huge group of people who choose to believe in this book that has unknown authors, which has been translated and then re-translated and then re-translated again in an era of time where quality control and fact checking and databases of information for proofing your work against errors did not exist. In this book there are talking snakes, men with magic hair, men living inside fish, plenty of incest and murder, and a giant boat that managed to hold all the species of animal in the world for many, many months somehow preventing them all from dying and/or eating each other. Okay, their prerogative if they live by this. Freedom of religion. Go nuts.
But then to use a passage or two out of said book to justify the bigotry, while at the same time ignoring the ban against shellfish working on the sabbath, and the props to slave owning and polygamy, is as mind boggling as a fish trying to ride a unicycle. People who neglect that Jesus spoke against hoarding your wealth, judging others, while remaining silent on homosexuality, are up in arms about something outdated in the old testament. Nothing else in there seems to do it for them, but why not this?
What I'd like to know is how it makes sense to say "I believe in God, so I don't believe in gay marriage." How about, "I believe in gay marriage, so I reject this interpretation of God." Because really, you take religious-based objection out of the equation and what you're faced with is shameful bigotry you can't defend. You evaluate your ideas and beliefs first and then discover if you're like-minded with others second. Choosing discrimination because you think God wants you to is ludicrous. I can't think of anything more arrogant than trying to attribute your personal qualms about things you don't like as God's will, like you had a coffee with the guy (assuming this deity is male. That's another thing. What? You think God's got a shlong? What would a deity need a penis or any genitalia for?) and he laid it all out for you.
I could go on about this, like I go on about a lot of things. There were other arguments that made me quit because I realized logic had no room to breathe and now it's 3:15 a.m.
How about a cartoon before I go to bed?