With all the hubbub (and yes, “hubbub” is a word) in recent years about whether or not marriage between same-sex couples should be recognized by their respective states, North Carolina has taken the next step – backwards, I believe – in bringing the issue further into the light.
Yesterday, the North Carolina legislature passed 61-39 in favor of a state amendment to define marriage between a man and woman as the only union recognized by the state. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/post/north-carolina-gay-marriage-ban-how-does-affect-the-social-and-political-future-of-the-state/2012/05/09/gIQARWNRDU_blog.html) In recent years, many states have challenged their own constitutions that ban same-sex marriage. Kansas, as you may or may not know, already bans same-sex marriage in the state constitution (http://www.kslib.info/government-information/kansas-information/kansas-constitution/article-fifteen-miscellaneous.html). In fact, only eight states in the U.S. specifically allow recognition of same-sex marriage. Many others have laws granting some rights to gay and lesbian couples which are also afforded to heterosexual couples. Sadly, a large number of states still believe it is their duty to pick and choose who receives what rights based on their own personal views.
In the past week, President Obama and his administration have been put in the spotlight for their various views on same-sex marriage. Vice-President Biden came out, for lack of a better term, to voice his support of recognizing marriage for gay and lesbian couples.
Wow, talk about timing. As I am typing this, I found an article online that’s only seven minutes old stating that the President himself has come down off the fence in support of same-sex marriage (http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/05/09/11621156-obama-backs-same-sex-marriage?lite)
Prior to this, the President has been somewhat wishy-washy about his stance on the issue, forcing me to be somewhat wishy-washy about my support for him in November. Considering it took him this long to voice his opinion, I’m inclined to think it was a politically forced decision. He knows that his prospective opponent is against same-sex marriage. Therefore, it would make good political sense for him to be out in the open about his support for it. Damn, you couldn’t pay me enough to be a politician.
Back to the lecture at hand (perfection is expected so I’ma let ’em understand), the entire issue of banning same-sex marriage is one of religious origin. The bible has been used in several instances to cite God’s supposed disdain for people who prefer sexual relationships with those of the same anatomy. Deuteronomy, Leviticus, and Romans are all popular sources for material in the argument to prevent people from being who they are.
Once again, it’s an example of people picking and choosing which parts of the bible are the literal word of God, and which parts are just metaphors up for interpretation. If we were to use the bible as a primary source to base our laws, we would be outlawing and allowing all sorts of things. Shrimp, clothing of mixed fabrics, pork, working on a day when you’re supposed to be praying, having sex during her period (no problem there, folks), and marrying non-virgins would all be illegal. It would be legal, however, to cut of your wife’s hand if she touches your balls (Deuteronomy 25:11), kill your children if they back-sass you, preventing men with severed genitals from entering heaven (Sorry, Lance), scaring the hell out of your children with attempted murder to show your devotion to God, and killing women if they are unmarried non-virgins would all be considered okay.
Bear in mind, I know none of this would be acceptable in today’s society. I’m simply trying to exercise a point in the proper and improper uses of a book written by two thousand year old desert nomads. Great stories? Yeah, sure. Legitimate basis for laws in the 21st Century? Not so much.
If we’re going to raise such a stink about same-sex couples sharing their lives together based on the views of such a book, we at least need to show some consistency. The bible also has some pretty strong words about divorce (Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:6-9, Malachai 2:16), but no one seems to be proposing constitutional amendments to ban straight marriage. That’s probably because the bible also points out some contradictions to it’s own views on divorce (1 Corinthians 7:15).
The bible is and should be regarded only as a guidebook for the faithful to use as a metaphor. For someone to take it literally makes me honestly question their morality and devotion to humanity. To say that one group of people is entitled to certain rights while denying to others is categorically wrong. Bigotry wrapped in the word of God is still bigotry.
With regards to state amendments, I see this fight as just beginning. I predict that 2012, 2013, and 2014 will be landmark years in the battle for marriage equality. The way North Carolina has worded their amendment, non-married or common-law married couples will not be recognized as being legitimate. This makes me sad. My aunt and uncle were together for more than 25 years as a common law couple before deciding to be officially married. Does that make their relationship any less valuable?
Does loving someone of the same sex make a person less valuable? Do they threaten the validity of the marriage of others? I have known several gay couples. Not one of them has ever placed my marriage of eight years to my wife in jeopardy. There is absolutely no threat to your personal relationship from the relationship of others. If there was, that just means your relationship wasn’t that strong to being with.