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of non-discrimination, that the concept of separating boys and girls into different sports leagues is completely outdated?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.

Susan Boyle Wows 'Em


Here it is.

Now viewed by almost 3 million people on YouTube.

Not a dry eye among us.

Watch the cynicism and the cruel laughter dissolve on the first note and change in an instant to cheers.


This is a rare delight.