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Gay Marriage and You – Why We Are Asking You To Support Marriage Equality

Our stance on gay marriage has been well documented in several podcasts (most recently episode 16).  In our opinion, the argument is over.  Gay marriage will be legal in the United States someday.  The question before us is when?  How long will we continue to have this fight?  At what point will the public stand up and say “enough! This is over!”

Our hope is that it will be this year.  Four states have marriage equality initiatives on the ballot this year.

The states of Maryland and Washington have initiatives seeking to overturn laws that already make gay marriage legal in their state.

In Maine there is an initiative to legalize gay marriage.

In Minnesota, there is an initiative to amend the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman, doubling up on a discriminatory law that already exists.

As atheists, the issue is obvious.  Do we have the right to continue to discriminate against our fellow human beings on the basis of their sexual preference?  The answer is so clearly no, we don’t understand why any other argument would be considered.

It isn’t that simple, though.  So in the final day before we all have the chance to stem the tide of marriage discrimination in America, we’d like to look at the illogical arguments that seek to support institutional discrimination.

1)  Gay Marriage is “against god’s will”

If we ignore the question of which god we are talking about, the fundamental issue is whether or not you have the right to force your religious beliefs on others.  Even if you believe that homosexuality is unnatural and wrong, forcing others to follow your own version of morality is, in itself, immoral.

This is especially true when many people claim the same book (the bible) says so many different things about gay marriage.  Given that a whole bunch of people who profess to be Christians can’t agree on what god thinks about gay marriage, it is wrong to presume that you must be correct regarding what god thinks on the topic.

You have no right to tell gay people that they must live by your rules for morality.

But let’s be fair.  This is an atheist podcast.  If you are reading this post and you still plan to vote against marriage equality, this isn’t the argument you are using.

2)  Government Should Not Be Defining Marriage For Anyone

The idea that the government should not define marriage for anyone is a common argument we’ve heard from some libertarians.  They believe they should vote against gay marriage because it will send a message that will, somehow, eventually lead to the government abolishing all laws that provide benefits to married couples.

Except that isn’t the message they will send.  When a constitutional amendment is defining marriage, it is entering that definition into a legal document.  Rather than sending a message that you think government should be less involved in marriage, you are sending the message that you think it should be more involved.

3) Marriage Equality Changes the Definition of “Marriage”

If we presume that “marriage” is defined as a social contract between a man and a woman, it can be fairly conceded that marriage equality changes that definition.  It is not the first time that definition has been changed and it will not be the last.

However, if we presume that marriage is an institution that has been established to join two human beings together in a commitment of love and mutual support, there is absolutely no change required.

If you presume that the definition of marriage presumes a commitment to have children and propogate the species, you fail to recognize that the current definition allows people who are sterile, too old to have children, or are simply uninterested in having children the legal right to marry.  If propogating the species is a prerequiste for being legally married, a great many people already fail that test.

4)  This Is Not a Civil Rights Issue

Actually it is.  A majority is being asked to determine what rights a minority will have.  There is no way that you can argue it is anything but a civil rights issue.  If you vote against marriage equality, you are effectively saying that you have the right to determine how other people choose to live their lives because they are different.

Different in a way that they cannot change, in a way they didn’t choose.

That is most definitely a civil rights issue.

5)  If Gay Marriage Becomes Legal, Those Who Are Against Gay Marriage Are At Legal Risk

Well, if they discriminate against a couple based solely on their sexual preference, then you are correct.  However, it is wrong to presume that would be the result of legalized gay marriage.

It would be the result of existing anti-discrimination laws.

6) I’m OK With Civil Unions But I Don’t Think Gay People Should Get “Married”

Ever hear of the phrase “separate but equal?”  That is the kind of dichotomy you have when you call a gay union something different than a straight union.

Either everybody gets to get married or everybody enters into civil unions.  Otherwise you are creating a separate class of citizen.

People who say they take issue with the actual word “marriage” being used in this instance need to understand that the word “marry” has meant to join two things together for a lot longer than it has meant “a man and a woman entering into a union.” You marry two ketchup bottles together. You marry two pieces of wood to make a joint. There’s no reason that two men or two women can’t be married if a man and a woman can.

 

The fact is, there are a great many arguments against gay marriage but every one of them is based on false assumptions.  If gay people are allowed to marry, what will happen is that individuals who love each other will be given the same legal protections as everyone else.

Existing marriages will not end.

If you wish to raise your children to believe homosexuality is wrong, you will still be able to do that.

Churches that don’t want to allow gay marriages will not be forced to do so.

If you want gay people to go away, they won’t.  They will still be there.

Voting for marriage equality will not change your life at all.

If there was ever a better reason to vote for marriage equality, it is that fundamental truth.  If you are straight, gay marriage will not change your life at all.  By voting to support gay marriage, you are engaging in the selfless act of recognizing that that happiness of others is as important as your own.

If you are reading this post and you are in a state that will be voting on marriage equality tomorrow, do the right thing. Vote to support the rights of those who have not been allowed to secure those rights for themselves.

Note: In Minnesota, a blank vote is counted as a “no.”  If, for some reason, you can’t bring yourself to vote “no” but you believe voting “yes” is equally wrong, don’t vote on the issue.

6 Responses to Gay Marriage and You – Why We Are Asking You To Support Marriage Equality

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  2. Allen Burker says:

    If you have read the bible it states very clearly that a man having sex with another man is a detestable act. Leviticus 20:13. God created man and woman to multiply the earth. If God wanted homosexuality he would have created man alone. Now let’s look at it from another view. Do animals mate with the same sex? No because it’s unnatural and goes against the way of life. Another question is do you want to be wrong and face God? The earth will come to an end and everyone will stand judgement. As christians we have to love the gay person but, not the act of homosexuality. You have been given the truth and when God asked why?, you can’t say I didn’t know. Also, you can’t be born being gay. Everyone has free will and that’s one choice not pre-ordained. Whether you believe what I am saying is up to you, and that’s between you and God.

    • Really pal? You are going to comment on an Atheist podcast and tell us that everything is between a nonexistent god and us? Then you are going to quote one verse from Leviticus while conveniently ignoring all the other verses you choose to ignore? You think we haven’t read the bible?

      You seem to think that homosexuals “choose” but that all of us who are straight do not. I never once asked myself if I was attracted to men or women. How is it that I never made a choice to be straight?

      And actually, animals do have homosexual relationships in the wild. Don’t believe me? Google it. Here’s the first page:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexual_behavior_in_animals

      Even if you were right about everything else (which you are not), you have absolutely no right to push your religious agenda on others. Believe what you want to believe. That’s your right.

      The moment you start advocating for legislation based on your beliefs, we’ll have words.

    • Leviticus is a part of a desert survival manual for a primitive culture, and I’m pretty sure we can do a lot better than it, in terms of ethics and morals (regardless of the non-existence of deities).

      What else does Leviticus forbid?

      Don’t sow your field with two different kinds of grain, and don’t wear a garment of cloth made with two different kinds of thread. (Leviticus 19:19)

      Don’t round your hair at the temples or mar the edges of your beard. (Leviticus 19:27)

      If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, that is, with the wife of a fellow countryman, both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death. (Leviticus 20:10)

      If a man goes to bed with a woman in her menstrual period and has sexual relations with her, he has exposed the source of her blood, and she has exposed the source of her blood; both of them are to be cut off from their people. (Leviticus 20:18)

      Say to Aaron: ‘For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. 18 No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed (Leviticus 21:17-18)

      Concerning the men and women you may have as slaves: you are to buy men- and women-slaves from the nations surrounding you. (Leviticus 25:44)

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