Marriage ™

I wanted to wait a bit before commenting on Proposition 8 and the banning of gay marriage in several states in the US. For those who don’t know, a few states now have it written in their constitution that marriage is only possible between one man and one woman. Which is ironic since the California campaign for this was heavily pushed by the Mormon church, in which men often (sometimes?) have multiple wives…

Anyway, that’s besides the point, but it does also state the obvious fact that the organizations supporting this mostly take roots in religious circles (though I imagine not all supporters are religious).

And before I talk about the ban on marriage proper, I just want to say that Florida not only banned gay marriage, but also pre-emptively banned any contract that would try to “emulate” marriage. While the language isn’t crystal clear, this pretty much puts a ban on civil unions too. This is just ridiculous… Marriage is one thing, and I can understand the debate. But this?!… Ok, let’s not derail the post.

So back to marriage. Contrary to what some might think, even a pretty liberal person such as myself was a little bit conflicted about the issue.
The idea many people (me included) went with was this: if religion wants to have their word, then let them have it. We can create a new thing, like civil contract or union, and if gay people have all the same rights it might do the trick, because that’s what’s really important. Right? Putting this in any constitution really seemed overkill so I wasn’t for that, but in principle I thought this would be a reasonable compromise. But the issue did force me to think about it and to try and define exactly where I came down. So here are my thoughts:

First of all, perception is important: we can make buses for black people, they will go to and from the same places. It will be the same thing, so what are they complaining about, right? Well…
Ok, that’s an extreme of an analogy, but you get the idea. So you can’t just say “we have marriage, you have civil unions, so shut up”. It just doesn’t work like that. Even not calling it the same makes it different, or less than, and yes, it does breed bigotry. So no go for me. That’s the first conclusion I came to, but it still didn’t really tell me why the word marriage is so important that gay people want in also.

So, maybe even more important than this, we shift the debate to the definition of the word. I think that the real problem with the term “marriage” means a lot more than we think it does.

I think the word “marriage” covers a concept that is larger than its definition.

The most common definition is that marriage is between a man and a woman, yes. This is what is changing, but for now it’s still the most common image you get.

But the concept that it really covers is different, older, and more universal. Our civilization, human beings, have this innate concept of two people loving and caring for each other. I think it’s pretty safe to say that this idea comes naturally to most of us, and it goes deeper than religion or language. Even if you strip away everything that defines us as a culture you’ll still find that primal desire to form a bond.
It is this dichotomy that makes it really hard to decide on the issue: historically, marriage is between a guy and a girl, but what the word truly appeals to is that core concept of two people committing to one another.

A while ago, the church formalized that idea, gave it a name, and gave it rules and bounds. They essentially trademarked the word “marriage” to make it apply to a certain set of conditions.
The problem is that this word encompasses the larger concept I was talking about. Defining a word is fine, but in the case of “marriage” it’s different, because behind the scenes it refers to that universal concept of love and commitment. And that’s what’s being trademarked here. And this should not belong to anyone…
In effect, when you deny marriage to some people, you’re telling them they can’t get in on that feeling.

So maybe it wasn’t intentional, maybe the church did come up with the word before others, and maybe the intelligent thing to do would be to find a different word for that concept, like “the bond” or “the union” or “the Jedi ceremony of life” or whatever.
But we can’t. For better or worse, “marriage” is now our reference to that core feeling, and that’s just the way it is. When gay people say they want to get married, they’re not trying to take something away from straight or religious people. It’s not an attack on marriage. They are just saying that, like everyone else on the planet, they feel this bond.

So to sum it up: I think marriage isn’t yours or mine to define. it’s a word we stuck on a universal feeling like a sticker, and having stuck the sticker first doesn’t make you the owner… The fact that someone got to it first isn’t relevant, and everyone should be allowed to label themselves with it.

November 16th, 2008
  • http://www.ubusopinions.blogspot.com Christian

    Coming from a very conservative part of the US, I have found myself out of step with most of the people here on more than one occasion. This is one area that I am definitely not in agreement with most of my neighbors.
    You hit it right on the head Patrick about “Civil Unions” being this era’s “Separate But Equal”. I find it hypocritical for anyone who supports individual liberty to be against the idea of allowing anyone to marry anyone they want as long as both are willing. Who cares if Steve and Gary or Lisa and Mary or Mary and Gary want to get married? We need to do all we can to support the idea of building families in this world.

    Its hard enough to find anyone you want to spend 20 minutes alone with much less marry without making making things even more difficult.

    The true dilemma comes in how we reconcile the will of the populace versus guaranteeing the rights of minorities. Do we just tell the majority “Your opinion is wrong so we are going to do this?” But doesn’t that undermine the whole notion of a Democracy, where the a majority is used to decide elections and issues?

    Sorry for rambling. Back to WOW.

  • http://klmay65.blogspot.com/ Ken

    Patrick,
    I agreed with more than I thought I would here. I know you swing more Liberal than me, but I respect you so I made myself read your whole statement.
    The biggest problem with this topic is that everyone that is against “Gay Marriage” has different reasons for wanting it.

    I certainly see your point about the “Separate but Equal” stance being wrong, however I feel forcing people with strong religious convictions to accept that which is against their beliefs is equally wrong.

    I think “they” (the powers that be) need to ban the use of Marriage in all of the legal documents related to the contract between two people. Get the religion out of the legal side of this contract.
    Everyone will use the new term to signify what is now known legally as Marriage. If you or your Church what to call it Marriage at whatever ceremony you have, that would then be a personal issue.

  • Julie Rodriguez

    I have a different take on this perhaps. I agree that “marriage” has for centuries been defined as a man and a woman. And most of that time it was simply an economic contract, church blessing or no. But the term allows other people to make an assumption which has some value in social settings (and I don’t mean just parties here). It provides information about the arrangement. If “marriage” can also refer to male-male or female-female couples, the term loses some of its usefulness. It’s as if gender doesn’t matter. Makes me think I should start taking offense to being called a woman. Maybe we should all be “men” and we can all be “married”. I hate to reduce this issue to semantics, but I’ve not heard anyone else consider this side. I will admit that being able to say “I’m married” has no counterpart with civil unions (“I’m unioned”?).

  • http://www.frenchspin.com Patrick

    @Christian
    Sure, the majority has spoken and we have to respect that. We had the same issue in France when we said “no” to the European constitution… which begs the question of: “should we really let the “people” decide on these issues?”
    I think important elections should be decided by voters. But referendum is a tricky thing: appealing in theory, but you sometimes get results that aren’t all that great in the end…

    @Ken
    Indeed, maybe getting rid of “marriage” as a word would be the best thing, but it does refer to something now, and we can’t really change it just because we’d want to. As I was saying, I don’t think it’s a religious thing either: it’s a larger concept that has been captured by religious terms first, which is where the debate comes from…

    @Julie
    Hehe, I didn’t expect to see you on that side of the issue! :)
    I’m not really sure how allowing gays to marry would change the meaning of the word or its usefulness though. If Jerry and Gary say they’re married, they just use the term to provide information about the arrangement the same way you would, don’t they?
    I’m also not sure why it would make you feel that gender doesn’t matter: I can assure you it very much does matter to me anyway…
    And don’t feel bad for making it about semantics: I think this is exactly what it’s about.
    BTW, in France we have a civil union called PACS, we made a verb out of it: we say I am PACS-ed very naturally now. :)
    It’s still not the same as marriage though…

  • Jonnie

    I’m impressed you found our local politics interesting enough to blog about. Prop 2 (less confined space for food animals) passed: so basically Californians care more about the welfare of our chickens than our homosexuals.

    I will be pleased if the California Supreme Court intercedes over Prop 8 and restores the legality of the existing marriage licenses the state already issued. Of course having it legal at the State level and not recognized at the Federal level is overly complicated for someone like me already wondering how I would prepare ‘our’ income tax forms for a State-only recognized marriage.

    I’m doing personal damage control as I continue to digest the quantity of people and groups that financially supported Prop 8 and gave their time to protest in support of Prop 8. Whatever it is, it feels like hate on the receiving end.

    I don’t put Gay stickers on my vehicle because I don’t want it vandalized. I don’t show same-sex affection (a peck on the cheek or holding hands) in public because I don’t want to be scorned. It’s not that I’m being respectful of Straight people; it’s more that I am fearful of them.

    I’m non-critical at work when they announce how diverse they are – for the life of me I don’t know what they understand the word diverse to be. There are no actions they do differently since they announced they are diverse. I still cannot get my partner on my medical insurance and if I should die first, my pension goes into thin air.

    I attend Straight weddings and bring expensive gifts. I give money to a Church group because they do good work. I give and support the larger environment. Yet a huge number of people want me to know that I am less than they are because they have the power to oppress and they chose to exercise that power and oppress. Yikes.

    I rooted around a little and found reference to the origins of the word Marriage, and if true, it’s those zany French people who are responsible. Viva La France!

    “The French gave birth to it in the 14th century, borrowed from the classical Latin maritare — “a verb used, the Oxford English Dictionary tantalizingly notes, ‘of people and animals and in viticulture.’ (Did the grapes wed on the vine or in the vat, I wonder? Either way, the metaphor had legs: We still speak of ‘marrying’ food and wine.)”” Source: http://is.gd/7Q3z

    Wow, linguistically food can marry and homosexuals cannot.

  • Samantha Jane

    *hugs for Patrick*

    I like the bus analogy, very clever and very true. The fact is that some people get to be married and others don’t. Some get the legal rights of that and some don’t. The reason some that is because of their gender, something that is not a choice and thusly unfair. Oh sure you can change your gender if you really want to … but … ouch much?

    Maybe government never should hae been involved in ‘marriage’ but they are so we kinda have to deal with it.

    I cannot imagine how I would feel if my government was telling me that my love was not valid simply because of my gender or my partners gender. Actually thats not true, I can imagine, I would be very very angry.

    Julie raises an interesting point, should any laws have any basis on gender? After all if we are equal, should the term male or female (or any derivations) be struck from laws and replaced with ‘natural person’. I think this might be a very elegant solution. Then a marriage would occur between two natural persons. Argument ended on this an any other archaic law still on the books.

    As for where you get married, the Catholic Church has the right in most (if not all) areas to decide that they are not going to marry two non-catholic people. I’m sure that they could also say no to two people who do not prescribe to their doctrine and gay people (who are not celebite) would safely fall under that category. Now if you are gay/bi/transgendered and Catholic I feel for you but if you want to be a member of that club you kinda have to play by their rules.

    “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won.” ~ Ghandi

  • http://fallout.net Dan from Chicago

    @Julie I’ve been calling everyone Dude for years

    @Patrick Really? So after only a few hundred years your ready to give up the power of the people and hand it to what? The musings of our elected officials who bend to the most vocal group of whatever the issue of the week is?

  • http://indiesouth.com Indiesouth

    The problem as I see it involves a lot of misunderstanding, both of the semantics of “marriage,” and a misunderstanding of what individual rights mean.

    We can’t get around the fact that “marriage” has both its religious meaning as well as its legal meaning. What gays care about is the legal meaning. Widening the scope of the legal meaning of marriage (in the US) to be consistent with the constitution is the only right move. In a legal sense, denying gays the full rights of marriage is unconstitutional.

    The fear that drove Prop 8 is that somehow, doing this will force churches or religious people to change their religious beliefs to accept and perform gay marriages. This is just unfounded fear. Gay marriage would not remove your first amendment rights. The ACLU cannot make you perform gay marriages, because any hypothetical suit they could file would fail under the 1st amendment. No one can change your personal or religious beliefs on any subject, and no one is asking religious people to do that here.

    Gays are asking strictly for legal rights, which they are guaranteed by the constitution. All the people who voted for Prop 8 because they didn’t want someone telling them what they had to believe actually removed other people’s civil rights to protect something they were never in danger of losing.

    I get that the religious definition of marriage is the most visible and conscious meaning, but we all have to accept that it is also a separate legal agreement, and that is what gays are talking about here.

  • Bloodwin

    It annoys me that people see what is essentially a legal matter as a religious one. The big problem I see for same sex couples is that they don’t have the same legal rights in terms of what happens if the partner dies and there is no will. Also insurance and mortgages etc. That’s why I was more concerned about same sex ‘marriage’. Most folks I know who have friends who are gay don’t give a rats about the word marriage and just celebrate their friend’s happiness.

    I think the big problem with the term is that for years the term marriage has been used for male-female couples of all religions regardless of what their religion or language calls it. Now that a minority group wanted to share in the institution the word is being ‘claimed back’.

    The other non legal side of marriage is the public announcement of two people’s love and commitment toward each other, and I think that should be celebrated whatever someone’s sexual or religious orientation.

    And as a really pedantic aside – there were plenty of other religions before Christianity who celebrated the concept of male-female union which was made legal through a religious ceremony so maybe they might want their words back too. Ner. :P

  • Fyurae

    A marriage is a religious union in the view of your God and your Church that makes two people bound spiritually. Government has no right to dictate anything about it. It is between you, your Church, your God, and your family to decide if you may marry.

    A civil union is a legal contract between two people that gives them certain rights and benefits. The government can not discriminate on the basis of race, age (except minors), gender, religion, creed, or sexual orientation.

    The intended separation of Church and State is all that need apply.

  • http://www.frenchspin.com Patrick

    @Jonnie
    I feel for you sir. Some day…
    Although you shouldn’t make snarky remarks about wine and cheese. I mean come on dude, so things are off limits. :)

    @Sam Jane
    How about just “person”? “People can get married” would work, right? I think, if anything, specifying that it only works between one guy and one girl is the version that is gender biased…

    @Dan from Chicago
    Indeed: although it is not a popular opinion, I do not believe the everyday man is competent to make a judgment on every political decision. Elections should of course be universal, but referendums should be used with a lot of care. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be any of course.

    @Fyurae
    I think the whole point we are trying to make is that marriage is not “just” a religious thing. This is where the whole problem comes from. It has taken on a wider meaning, and limiting it to what the church defines is somewhat restrictive.

    @Indiesouth
    Absolutely! So how about we create a “legal marriage” and then the church can keep the “catholic marriage”?
    Man, all this crap just about a word…

  • Jonnie

    @Fyurae

    Atheists and Agnostics get “Married” legally and emotionally, including the standard, or not so standard, vows of love and honor without any church participation or profession of belief in a God.

    A marriage conducted in the church becomes a civil union when the couple exercise their married rights provided from the issuing State of the marriage license via vehicles such as taxation, health and social security benefits.

    There are Gay churches that will ceremony-only marry Gay couples, but the State (here in Calif) will not (can not) legally acknowledge.

    In a male and female marriage, I’m still not so clear why it’s the woman who can elect to change her surname; however it probably goes back to when marriage was more of a property arrangement and women were property of men. I could be wrong.

    I think the interpretation of marriage will be more historically dependent based on a historical time line and when viewed. It will be fun to look at this issue 10 years from now.

  • http://www.ubusopinions.blogspot.com Christian

    @Patrick. You are absolutely correct. Allowing the populace to decide issues this big via a referendum just seems to be illogical, and truly the founders of America were of that opinion. That is why Senators were once not elected by the people of the state, but by the Governors of the state. It was their belief that most people are not as informed as those people make their life’s work politics. Just go to any mall and ask any 10 people who the Vice President is and I’ll bet 7 of them couldn’t name him.
    But how do we balance the notion of a Democratic Republic, where the people choose someone to represent them in a government versus the idea that those choosing are just not up to the task? I really cannot answer that question without sounding semi-elite or snobbish. We live in a society where every individuals opinion has been deigned as equal to all other opinions, so when you try to point out the idiocy of the notion, you’re seen as some kind of snob. When you take that idea to a grander scale, that some people’s votes are just not worth the paper they are given on, you are almost seen as antidemocratic.

  • Julie Rodriguez

    @Patrick…I’m not sure I’m coming down on any particular side except the side of confusion and embarrassment. Maybe it’s my own fault for having faulty assumptions, but they were built upon a lifetime of experience (and laws) to this point. When a man says “I’m married” one replies, “Oh, what’s your wife’s name?” Then there’s the awkward moment as things get sorted out. Maybe it just take a whole new set of experiences, or a whole new set of semantics, to correct the faulty assumptions. But the legal aspects of “marriage” are a whole ‘nother argument – which is what I think most of the other posts are about.

  • yourlovingmom

    Hello everyone,

    On the question of referendums, I quite agree with Patrick. One should be very careful when using them, mainly for two problems : first, sometimes people just don’t have the knowledge or competence to answer the question. The example of French people saying “no” to the European “Constitution” (it’s not a constitution but a treaty), a texte dealing with many aspects people just don’t know about. How can I be an expert in trade relations between 27 different countries, how can I know how subventions are allowed ?
    Moreover, democracy is not “people vote and thus what they decide is right”. This is too basic. A democracy has to respect a few principles to deserve being called a democracy. What anglo-saxon people usually call the “State of right” stuff, basically.

    I don’t know if the debate concerning same-sex marriage is directed by religion concerns. France is a laic country (less than 10% of French people are practicing catholic), and still Prop. 102 in Arizona is exactly the content of French law on this concern.

    But if the matter is religious people thinking that allowing same-sex couples to contract civil marriage together causes a problem because they do an amalgam between religious marriage and civil marriage, we’re exactly in case where the opinion of the majority is not “right”, because contrary to the corpus of values that allow us to live together in peace. Such thing should not be decided using referendums…

    Concerning the “constitutionnal” debate, in France there is no fondamental right that would garantee same-sex couples to contract marriage together. Basically they have exactly the same rights as the others : they can get married, but with someone of the opposite sex. Unless we modify the European Convention of Human Rights, no-one can ask a “supreme court” of any kind to modify the law.

  • Matt

    I find it interesting how much the people who voted for Obama in California broke from the party line to supported Prop 8 African Americans and Latinos most notably. http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#CAI01p1 if you look at the returns compared to that Obama took in the State its clear people are thinking about this. They voted for Obama and you liked that so they are smart and good but they become bad and stupid when they vote something you don’t like you can’t have it both ways. End of the I trust people more than Government even if they get it wrong sometimes.

    The other thing I would like to Say Constitution > Courts. I’m sorry this can’t be washed away that is not how out The USA works. Now If there a federal Constitutional amendment that would supersede California state Constitution. But if the California Supreme Court tries to throw this out or interpret in a way that its clearly not written to mean its likely the Federal Courts to step in and slap their hand.

    This is much of my problem with this issue. Legislators have been unwilling to address it and so it more often than not falls to these kinds of Proportions and courts to do what our legislative leaders will not. you might not like the will of the people but they are the only ones coming forward to do anything. If Congress or states were to have more public hearing on the issue and learn to talk about it in terms of Legal rights vs is it destroying religion.

    There is a very interesting argument about what is best for a government in the long term is it gay marriage or the traditional one and which do government want to sanction for there long term survival. It was Kennedy who said “ask not what your country can do for you, what you can do for your country.” People having children is better for countries than couples that most likely are not. The way the argument is framed right now its about the individuals not about the great good of the Society.

    All that said I think Equal legal rights should happen but i wanted to add something to this beyond the normal God stuff that normally is tied to this issue.

  • Brian H

    I think there is definately a need for at least Civil Unions. I think a lot of the opposition to Gay Marriage has to do with the word “Marriage.” For a lot of people that is what has galvanized them against Gay Marriage.

    Civil Unions I think can pass. You can legitimately stake out a campaign that it wouldn’t only be for gays but also for any other couple that want to enjoy the legal protections it would provide them. Plus it doesn’t have that word “marriage.”

    The things that have hurt the Gay Marriage campaign has been the use of the courts, judicial fiat, and public officials making it legal on their own authority which just galvanizes opposition. Also there are people who will just always be against it. A lot of people see Gay Marriage as a hollywood celebrity thing. It’s not personalized for them. It has to be put in terms that people can relate to. The campaign should be about the problems that a gay couple can run into without having legal protections. You’re are eventually going to change minds or make enough people apathetic enough if you tell the story of a gay couple that when one was dying the partner was shut out by the family even though they had been together for 30 years. Or the story of a gay person who broke up with their partner after having a child and because of laws is unable to see their child. On a human level people can relate to that kind of injustice. You just can’t shove it down their throats and expect them to like it. In fact it’s done the opposite by making Prop 8 possible.

    Gavin Newsome (Mayor of SF), did not do the gay community any favors. He is a political opportunist of the worst sort. I know he’s popular there but his style of politics is one of the reason prop 8 passed.

    I don’t think there is any reason to despair too much. Civil Unions are do-able. But if the current campaign of just using the courts is continued there could be a push for an amendment against Gay Marriage. Which would be bad. Also using the election calender as a tool would be helpful. Considering the demographics of the prop 8 vote, have the the Civil Union vote in an off year election.

  • yourlovingmom

    @Matt : “There is a very interesting argument about what is best for a government in the long term is it gay marriage or the traditional one and which do government want to sanction for there long term survival. It was Kennedy who said “ask not what your country can do for you, what you can do for your country.” People having children is better for countries than couples that most likely are not. The way the argument is framed right now its about the individuals not about the great good of the Society.”

    First, turn it the other way. It’s not necessarily true that having more children is better than less. Espacially when we’re discussing environment issues : our world has only limited resources, no matter how you exploit them, you can’t be too many.

    And next, what do you think ? That if you do not allow gay to get married with a person of their sex, they will suddenly change, marry a person of the opposite sex, and make two or three children ?

  • http://www.frenchspin.com Patrick

    @Yourlovingmom

    Haha, I didn’t even think about that aspect of it but… it pretty much shoots down that argument completely. :)

  • Kyle

    What?! I thought Patrick just gave me cool wow mods. You mean I can also get social and political opinion as well? :)

    First off Mormons don’t have more than one wife. It been like that for ages. Also the Mormons make up only 2% of California’s population. The Church did not donate money some of its members did. So what I don’t understand is why they are used as the scape goat. All they did was put their money where their mouth is. So the anger is for their effectiveness? Or maybe its because you can get away with attacking them and not the bigger supporters of the proposition. I find that cowardly.

    Anyways one issue I think that has not been looked at is that marriage is more that two people, its the beginning of a family. Sure some couples choose not to, but they are a small percent. Society and Government desperately need families to survive. Without families society eventually will collapse. If you don’t believe this look at the finical incentives your government give people who get married and the on top of that what they give to people who have kids. In Sweden a woman who has a child automatically gets a year of paid leave from the government as an example. So for those that want marriage to be the same as a couples union needs to understand that they aren’t the same thing. It great that two people regardless of sex want to be together. Of course they have rights and should have things like health care and such. A civil union is not the same thing as a family so the separate but equal thing does not apply.

    Just my thoughts

    Also I really like the comments here. Patrick you seem to only have intelligent well spoken people here.

  • http://www.frenchspin.com Patrick

    @Kyle
    Mormons can finance whatever they want indeed, just as blacks and latinos can vote for whatever they want. It’s still ironic that they are the ones who would be discriminating against gays the day a black man becomes president, just as I find it ironic that Mormons would defend a “traditional” marriage when they have had a different… “model” for so long. But that’s not the point.

    Marriage is about family, sure, but that’s not the only reason people get married. Or even the main reason. If you want to have a child you can do it out of wedlock. I’m sure some people’s heads will explode at the idea, but the kid won’t have less chances to survive because the parents aren’t married. The biological “machinery” doesn’t need that to work. Nor is it really required for the kid from a societal point of view.
    And I’m not saying that marriage isn’t important, I’m just trying to go along with your line of thinking. Because if you want to get to the bottom of what marriage is, I think there’s a lot about kids and family, but first and foremost it’s about two people wanting to say to the world: “this is the kind of love we share, and it’s just as valid as anyone else’s. And the name society has for it is marriage, so that’s what we want to call it too”.

    And thanks for the compliments about the people here, I agree and I’ve said many times how much I appreciate the people who come here… :)

  • Luke Johnston

    @Patrick

    It is interesting, Patrick. I find it difficult to compare racial discrimination to what is currently occurring in my country. Why? I believe that race is not a choice. You are born of a certain race, but have no say. I also believe what my country’s founding fathers said when they stated that every person is endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, specifically the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. However, I don’t believe that people who are gay are gay because they are born that way. I believe they choose this lifestyle, just as I choose to be heterosexual. With each of those decisions comes certain consequences, both good and bad. I don’t have a problem with civil unions, but the word “marriage” refers to the union blessed by God between a man and a woman. I believe this was God’s intention back to the creation of the world, and He is my authority on the matter.

    Now, if same-sex marriage becomes legal in the United States, I can tell you it will not change what I believe. However, the day that churches are forced to perform same-sex marriages for fear they would have a lawsuit brought against them is a day that I fear, and I think that other people have anticipated this as well. It very well may be the driving force behind Prop 8.

  • http://www.frenchspin.com Patrick

    @Luke
    Well, I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding here.

    First, if you think your sexual preference is a choice then you are very very wrong. You don’t choose who you’re attracted to; you’re either aroused when you see a naked guy or not, and you’re either aroused when you see a naked girl or not. Sometimes people are aroused by both, but in most cases you like one or the other, very much in spite of yourself.
    And I don’t want to be rude or for you to take this the wrong way, but if the reason you think that it’s a choice is that *you* like both and you *choose* to make your life with a woman, then I have news for you : you’re not totally straight. For most people, the attraction is very clear, they don’t really have to think about it. Like, at all.

    Then there is the church question : I don’t think anyone is suggesting that churches should be forced to perform marriages they don’t want to perform. The issue is that we would like the government, and us as a community, to recognize that a homosexual union isn’t less valid than a heterosexual union. Because if you don’t, you’re sort of implying that gays are not as valid as straight people.
    Well, let’s not rehash the same arguments; the point is: I don’t think churches being forced to perform same sex marriages is the issue, because it wouldn’t happen…

    Anyway, that’s my take on it. Thanks so much for commenting on the blog Luke, I really appreciate people taking and taking an interest and I hope you don’t find my comments offensive! They’re a little personal here, but I hope you understand my train of thought. :)

  • Luke Johnston

    @Patrick

    Hey, Patrick. Thanks for responding. I guess that is where we have to agree to disagree. Because you view sexual orientation as something that you just are, possibly from birth, then you assert that anyone who believes it to be a choice isn’t totally straight. Interesting. The reason I say it is a choice is because man and woman were meant to be together. By someone higher than ourselves. Out of rebellion we go against human nature and choose a different path.

    And one more thing: there are people that I know that have had homosexual “feelings” that later realized that it really wasn’t natural or right, so they made the choice to be heterosexual. People in our day and age think that just because you have an urge one way or the other, it must mean you have some exploring to do. I totally disagree. If a person has those urges, it is time to suppress them and reflect the truth about human nature: man and woman were meant to be together.

    As for churches being forced to wed same-sex couples: I guess what I am trying to say is that people fear the degradation of morals in our country. So much so, that we see this as a step towards infringement on the rights of religious groups. It is true that there have been multiple lawsuits against churches in the states that have legalized same-sex marriage who won’t wed same-sex couples. I find this wrong.

    Also, if this entire issue was just about the government and legal side of the issue, then why do people insist that these same-sex unions be given the same word as heterosexual unions? This would imply a deeper agenda, not legally-driven, or even rights-driven. The word “marriage” is used to describe the union between a man and woman. If people truly only cared about the legal rights afforded to a man and woman one they are married being granted to a same-sex couple, then a civil union would suffice. Many in our country concede that civil unions would be fine. On the contrary, however, they insist it be called “marriage.” Again…a deeper agenda.

    By the way…keep those awesome WoW mods coming. :)

  • http://www.frenchspin.com Patrick

    @Luke
    Well, you’re misunderstanding what I’m saying: it’s not thinking that homosexuality is a choice that makes people “not straight”, it’s having erotic feeling for someone of the same sex… You might disagree, but I’m pretty sure you’re in a large large minority, and also quite mistaken. :)

    I know that some people chose to suppress those feelings and lead a heterosexual life in spite of them (mostly with religious motivations), and I guess that it’s their choice to make. But I still think they won’t be fully realized as people if they do, and they will keep a bit of frustration throughout their lives.

    Your train of thought also implies that homosexuality is somehow immoral, and that makes me uncomfortable in two ways:
    – One, I don’t believe it’s immoral at all, and I think it’s very degrading to homosexuals to think that way. I understand that some religious groups believe so, but again, I have to disagree with that. I don’t see how two people sharing a true and honest love for one another can be something objectionable, even if they don’t produce offsprings. And I’m sorry, but the “we need babies” argument just doesn’t hold; it’s not like we’ll stop getting babies if we agree to marry gay people.
    – And two, there is a belief in some religious groups that morality can only come from religion, which I disagree with also. This sense that the lack of religion would lead to an amoral world is very skewed in my opinion. Probably because I am not an especially religious person and I do consider myself a very moral one still. Same goes for my country; I don’t think you can say that France is less moral than the US for example. And if you do, I invite you to come over to Paris and see for yourself: I assure you we lead a very moral and respectable life, even if a lot of us are atheists.

    As for the reason why it’s important to give the word “marriage” to those same sex unions… Well, that’s the whole point of the article, so I guess that rather than retyping everything I’ll just invite say “please see above”. :)

  • http:://www.theiocaineproject.com bryan

    Luke wrote; “The reason I say it is a choice is because man and woman were meant to be together. By someone higher than ourselves. Out of rebellion we go against human nature and choose a different path.”

    @Luke
    This is a false assertion. I’d hate to come across as someone who would flippantly dismiss someone’s understanding of the world, so let me try to explain.

    Men and woman are quite similar. Who we are is a combination of our DNA (and men and woman have a chromosomal difference) and our environments. But we’re made of the same “stuff”. Our bodies will work to regulate a certain biochemistry, which is measurably different in most men and women. But variations in things like estrogen and testosterone, which are present in both men and women, will strongly affect sexual feelings. While I’m sure it’s more complicated than two hormones, you can strongly argue that someone’s sexual orientation is heavily influenced by their environment. This environment can include the womb, where your biochemistry (and even bacterial) balance are generated, meaning a person can be ‘born’ with a biochemistry that leads to same-gender attraction. Conversely, the environment after birth can still somehow change this balance enough to change one’s orientation. So the choice-VS-born-with-it argument is silly in my opinion, since both are plausible on a case-by-case basis.

    No one is “meant” to be with anybody. In a population, a certain amount of reproductive behavior is important for persistence. But while zero reproduction would obviously lead to extinction, so would unrestrained growth with a limited food supply. Again a simplification, but the point is that you aren’t doing a very good job of relating individual behavior to the benefits of a population as a whole.

    I think a lot of early religious decisions involved maximizing population (at least of their religion relative to others) by making “rules” that limited death (don’t eat that!) and maximized offspring (objectifying women). This was overall a good thing for the human race for a while, since there was plenty of room to grow. Now that there isn’t, these “rules” are actually bad for humankind.

    This doesn’t mean I’m telling you that you should be gay. It means that when we live in a time when it’s better for all of us if we allow people go ahead and do what makes them happy, why make rules to discourage that?

    Oh right, because you were trained through faith (as opposed to logic) to think that way.

    ((Like Patrick, I hope I don’t come across too harshly here.))

  • Aye

    Next we will allow people to marry animals for marriage! Yay :D

  • Pingback: Un papa et une maman | Patrick Beja