Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Domino Effect

After the recent Supreme Court rulings concerning gay marriage, you can rest assured that gay marriage is coming to the whole land and that equal protection under the law will ensue. I think this is a really good thing, a wrong that has finally been righted, and I rejoice because of it.

I don’t think it really matters what I think, or what anyone else thinks, when it comes to the individual life choices of each person. Each person must live and die according to his or her own beliefs, and in this country, we have traditionally allowed for such a thing in most regards. However, we have tended to reach a bit too far into the bedroom, when really we should simply mind our own business and allow people the freedom to live as they choose—so long as they aren’t hurting others in the process.

From a legal perspective, I see nothing wrong whatsoever with allowing gay couples the right to marry. And I say this because, legally speaking, marriage is not defined by the same standards as Christian (or any other religious) marriage. We do allow secular marriages each and every day in this country. A man can fly to Vegas overnight, get drunk, marry the first hooker that walks by him, and be divorced the following afternoon. Was it right? No, but we have allowed that sort of thing for decades now.

We have allowed secular marriages to take place. We have allowed people to marry and divorce upon their whims, and haven’t gotten in the way. We have done this for heterosexual couples. However, when it comes to homosexual couples, we as a society, for the most part, have not legally recognized their unions. We have not permitted them to marry. We have not allowed them the freedom to decide upon what sort of unions they enter into, and have not granted them the same rights as we have heterosexual couples. My question is why? If a gay couple wants to be married is this really so wrong (outside of a religious context)? Keep in mind that marriage, as it has already been defined on the books in most of this country, is not singularly allowed with only religious implications in mind; we do have secular marriages and have for pretty much our entire existence. This being the case, why not allow the marriage of homosexual couples? Why not grant them the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples? By not allowing these things, you are legally discriminating. You are purposefully acknowledging that one union is not as good as another, and this forces those who may disagree with you to live by your personal beliefs, rather than their own. And what gives anyone the right to force their beliefs on such a matter onto others?

Whether I agree with gay marriage or not, I do not think I have any right to force my beliefs onto others. I don’t have a right to prevent people from marrying, nor do I have a right to force anyone to marry.

I keep in mind the golden rule when thinking about this: “do unto others as you would have done unto you.” I would not want anyone telling me I could not marry the person I love, or that I could not get the same sort of benefits as other married couples just because they don’t like my choice of partners. So, I will not tell anyone else they cannot marry the person they love, or cannot have the same benefits granted to everybody else. Instead, I will allow them the freedom to make their own choices, and grant them the same privileges as everybody else.

In doing so, it doesn’t mean that I am going against the church, or turning my back on traditional marriage, or anything like that. It just means that I think it is right to allow others to make up their own minds and to live according to their own beliefs, without me shoving my own beliefs down their throats and forcing them to live in a way that isn’t right for them.

4 comments:

Mark said...

And don't forget ... there are those of us who would be quite happy to celebrate our marriages within the religious context and belong to communities of faith that are perfectly willing to do so.

This isn't a Christian vs. Civil issue. This is an issue of a particular community of religious belief that want to impose their view on the rest of us. It's taking time, but I think the US constitutional principles will be upheld in the end.

Brandon said...

I agree with you, Mark.

naturgesetz said...

It isn't a question of rights, it's a question of definition. It isn't a matter of allowing gay couples to have what heterosexual couples have; it's a question of expanding the definition of marriage to include something different from marriage as it has always been understood, even before there were churches and states to regulate it.

Defining marriage as it has always been defined doesn't force anybody's opinion down anybody else's throat. People who want to live together can do so.

But as for forcing one's own beliefs down others' throats, how about this? http://www.religionnews.com/2013/08/06/gay-couple-may-sue-church-of-england-to-wed-in-church/
People constantly reassure us that churches will be left free to follow their own beliefs, but all it takes is one couple and a sympathetic court to make that promise totally worthless.

Brandon said...

N,

The problem is that gay couples are being denied equal rights based on one particular definition, which has not been universally applied. Legally speaking, does the US recognize marriage as something more, in some cases, than that defined by Christianity? Yes. Are all legal marriages in this country considered to be the union of one man and one woman before the eyes of God? No. We allow many straight couples to marry who never give a thought to God or to the spiritual union they enter into. Yet, even though they go against Christian teachings concerning marriage, they are still allowed to legally wed and receive benefits. I think it is wrong to allow this sort of marriage for straight couples, but not for homosexual couples. Again, I'm speaking from a legal sense. You mentioned that people who want to live together can do so, but the problem is that by not allowing them to "marry", from a legal standpoint, we do descriminate against them. So, the only real solution to avoid that descrimination is to only allow people who believe in God and have certain strictly religious (which one?) defined ideas about marriage to marry and stay married (this will never happen), or to expand the "legal" definition of marriage to be a bit more broad and indescriminate.

As for what you mention concerning the courts and people suing churches and the like, that will probably happen. However, we do have religious freedoms in this country, and the US government, according to the constitution, does not have a right to force a religious entity to marry people or perform a marriage in their churches--that would exceed their authority. Some may try this, and assuredly some judges might agree, but that will be another fight to have when it happens. People go against churches and other religious groups all the time, but those of faith have to keep putting forward the good fight. They need to stand up for their rights just as much as anyone else needs to.