Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Answer to a Friend on Gay Marriage


David, the issue of gay marriage is low on my priority list. It was made legal here in Canada and hasn't directly affected my life at all. And I wholeheartedly believe that gay couples should have all the same benefits, etc. of heterosexual couples.

But if I were given the choice to vote on it, I would vote 'No' for gay marriage. If you or your readers think this makes me a bigot then c'est la vie.

I heard someone recently suggest that all liberal democratic societies have a built-in self-destruction mechanism. Years ago I would have thought this to be nonsense but now I wonder if the concept of unlimited rights for everyone and a determination to never discriminate against anyone in any way is taking us down a very slippery slope.

Let me pose some questions to you, which I hope you will take the time to think about carefully before responding to.

1. Do you believe, in the interest of non-discrimination, that a man should be able to have any number of wives?

2. Do you believe, in the interest of non-discrimination, that an adult child should be able to marry their mother or father?

3. Do you believe, in the interest of non-discrimination, that a brother and sister should be able to marry each other?

4. Do you believe, in the interest of non-discrimination, that a 6'2" tall man, who states that he believes he's a woman, should be able to wear a dress & makeup and stand in the girls bathroom at a local school or swimming centre?

5. Do you believe, in the interest of non-discrimination, that the concept of separating boys and girls into different sports leagues is completely outdated?

I'm most interested in your answers. Please note that if you don't agree with all of these initiatives that more than a few people would call you a bigot and believe you to be absolutely wrong.

Dear Robert,

I don’t for a second believe that your opinions on this wildly divisive topic make you a bigot. I believe simply that we see the issue differently and that we disagree. How boring life would be if we all agreed about everything. This must be why neither of us is rushing to buy a townhouse in a “Del Webb Community.”

As for the five questions…

1) Keep in mind that at Passover – and this still is Passover – there are only four questions.

2) I don’t accept that any or all of those questions is germane to the subject of gay marriage.

Each of those questions is, in itself, mildly interesting, and might pass a few dull minutes under a summer sun at the beach, but to me they are stand alone issues unreflective of the discussion of gay marriage.

I cannot for the life of me see how Bob and Joe getting married or Gwen and Cathy getting married will have any possible deleterious effect on their immediate geography. I agree with the Iowa court decision that there is no constitutionally sufficient justification for the exclusion of such marriages.

I see no relation whatsoever between gay marriage and the union of people with their parents, siblings or favorite pets.

I think to suggest that some similarity exists, Robert, is to be uncharacteristically cruel (I do not know you to be such.) or unreasonable (I don’t know you to be such.)

Further, I hold no special holy status on the word “marriage,” just as I hold no special holy status on any other words, like “pineapple” or “hub” or “succulent.”

Language may or may not be God-given, according to your beliefs and world views, but for me, human life, God-given or otherwise, is a matter of free wills and it is we flesh and blood folk who have written these words and declared that they mean one thing or another.

At a time, the universe spun in submission around the glorious earth, the world was flat and all brown people were savages. Women had no business in the voting booth or boardrooms and visionaries were heretics whose evil could only be burned out of them, preferably in the village square.

Marriage is a human idea.

For a very long time, “until death do us part,” meant a few years. People died of an impacted wisdom tooth, in childbirth or run through by a sabre all before they celebrated their mid-twenties.

With the actuarial longevities projected today, the same phrase is a hideous condemnation to the torture of sixty or more years. Few would want it. Few could stand it. Few survive it.

Handing over this idea and this word – marriage – to a tiny handful of people who wish to spend their remaining days and nights together for solace, companionship, love and good cooking seems to me perfectly reasonable.

It’s only plumbing.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Reading your friend's letter on the subject of gay marriage vs. unlimited rights for everyone was getting my blood boiling -- how to respond to such comparisons? Well, I guess that's why you're a writer and I'm not. You articulated beautifully exactly my thoughts on this issue (had I been clever enough to formulate them as well), which was needlessly 'red-herring'd' by your friend.

Mo.

blaffergassted said...

Sheesh ...

"the concept of unlimited rights for everyone and a determination to never discriminate against anyone"

Too many windmills, not enough lances (but our stock of mules is doing just fine!)

Anonymous said...

Same old rhetoric and nonsense I often hear when gay marriage is discussed. Apples and oranges............and religious fears - often based on the rantings of people such as James Dopson.

I would suggest that there is more to fear in the mind set of people such as Dopson than in a married gay couple.......loving and supporting one another - and minding their own business.

Pelalusa said...

David, thank you for so prominently posting my questions and sincerely responding to them.

In point of fact, I fully agree with you that there are absolutely no connections between the 5 questions I asked and the issue of gay marriage. Nowhere did I say there were and never did I think there were.

I was simply trying to point out to you and your readers that dismissing our long held traditions so casually often has negative consequences, many of them unforeseen.

And lo and behold, it didn't take long before your commenters slandered both me and my intentions. They don't know a thing about me nor my religious beliefs (or lack thereof) though immediately chose to associate me with the most Fundamentalist Christians in the U.S. But such is the state of discourse and debate in Canada today - dare to disagree with someone, especially someone on the Secular Left and you're told you have no right to speak.

May I make a prediction? A few years from now, when polygamy becomes legal in Canada and the U.S., including between old men and teenage girls don't be surprised when all of you are referred to as bigots for speaking out against it. It's a very slippery slope.

Anonymous said...

"And I wholeheartedly believe that gay couples should have all the same benefits, etc. of heterosexual couples."

EXCEPT the right to marry, should they choose to do so.

"dare to disagree with someone, especially someone on the Secular Left and you're told you have no right to speak."

Which of the responders to your opinions were "the Secular Left", whatever that is? - and where were you told that you have no right to speak? You were not.

Think.

Anonymous said...

. . . And lo and behold, it didn't take long before your commenters slandered both me and my intentions. They don't know a thing about me nor my religious beliefs (or lack thereof) though immediately chose to associate me with the most Fundamentalist Christians in the U.S. But such is the state of discourse and debate in Canada today - dare to disagree with someone, especially someone on the Secular Left and you're told you have no right to speak. . . .


I wasn't aware that I was slandering anyone. Robert has an interesting take on life to say the least. I'll leave it at that.

Mo.

Norman Farrell said...

David, I do love your response.

Bigotry is a word thrown about casually but it has different meanings for different folks. Is it an insult or merely a useful description? One dictionary defines bigot as a person who regards his own views as right, and any opinion opposed as unreasonable.

I'm probably a bigot respecting gay unions. I think a same sex couple ought to have rights equivalent to a couple of different genders. I admire all families who give each other mutual support and love. Our world becomes a better place if we have more mutually supportive groups.

If two men or two women are pleased to share each other's lives, how does that negatively impact me or the society I live in.

Pelalusa said...

It didn't take too long after I "dared" to express my views that this happened.

Miss California honestly expressed her views. She was clearly full of compassion BUT she dared to disagree with the official line of the Left in America today.

Then Perez Hilton posted a video degrading her with the "B"-word and the "C"-word. Why? Because her views are different than his. There's compassion for you.