Gay Marriage: Why the Hate?
Homosexuality: A Genetic Predisposition
The entire issue of "yes/no gay marriage" is very strange to me. Perhaps it's my upbringing (daughter of a lawyer), but more likely it has something to do with my tendency to separate issues and look at them as parts of a whole, rather than the whole.
What I see going on here is that we are denying full citizens in our country, who happen to have a genetic difference dictating their sexuality, their full federal and legal rights.
I know there are some who still hold that homosexuality is a choice. I hold that if you apply logical thinking, you would easily come to the conclusion even without scientific evidence, that it is not a choice.
Given that homosexuality has been frowned upon for most of the history of the western civilization as we know it, the current existence of homosexuality - despite a history of social repression and persecution - speaks highly to the genetic nature of it. If it was a choice, who would choose it in the face of such overwhelming negativity?
And regardless of whether or not it is a choice, this country was founded on ideals and freedoms that should apply to and protect everyone -- as long as they are not actually harming their fellow man. This should include homosexuals.
Church Vows Vs. Legal Contract
When I got married in the church I grew up in, the bishop performed the ceremony. That was a "church" marriage. After the ceremonial vows were over, he and several other witnesses signed a legal document provided by the state. A legal document that, without which, our vows would be null and void in the eyes of the law.
Sure, maybe we would be married in God's eyes (not so much, according to the beliefs of the church I was raised in -- that wouldn't come until the temple ceremony a year later) but in the eyes of the land we would not be married.
Interestingly, many homosexuals already participate in commitment ceremonies, some even presided over by ministers and priests. Does this mean that they are married in the eyes of God, just not in the eyes of the law? Or since it's from a different religion than whatever you may suscribe to, is it null and void regardless? Does that make any marriage, straight or gay, presided over by that religion null and void?
What we are denying them are their legal and federal rights -- rights that are accorded to every other man and woman in the United States, but denied them. The argument is that we're upholding morality and procreation - so should we do psychological and physical testing prior to straight marriage? After all, we wouldn't want atheists marrying and polluting the moral values of our society by passing on their beliefs to their children.
Or what about couples who can't have children, due to illness or other issues? Should we bar them from marrying? They aren't, after all, procreating - and that is what we're protecting. It's easy enough to test them before marriage, isn't it? We could make it a legal prerequisite to the legal binding.
Common sense, people. It's a good thing.
A Religious Look
So far as I'm aware, many of the major religions have even acknowledged the probability that homosexuality is not a choice, but a biological disposition. This being the case, they are knowingly and intentionally discriminating against something that it's highly likely homosexuals can't help or control.
The official Catholic attitude towards gays and lesbians has changed since Pope John Paul II left us. Pope John Paul II felt that homosexuality was a sin and not to be condoned, but he also counseled showing respect and love to those homosexual brethren (and sisters. Sisteren?). This seems to be a contradictory statement, since he's condemning and loving them in the same breath - but hey. Let's just skip past that.
Pope Benedict XVI, however, is staunchly anti-homosexual, and actively persecutes homosexuals within the church system, even going so far as to inhibit them from the celibate life of a priest.
The LDS stance on it is that the cause, while not absolutely proven, looks to be something determined prior to birth. Simply never act on these immoral (inborn) urges, and you can still participate in the church.
In either case, the only recommended way of dealing with homosexuality within the religion of your choice is celibacy. Maybe there are some who would welcome a life of celibacy when presented to them as a choice, or a means of deepening their spiritual connection should they so desire -- but to be told, "It's us or sex," is a little dictatorial, to my view.
It would take quite a bit of time to list every religion and their current stance, but more religious stances are listed on Religious Tolerance and here, where four common religious attitudes towards homosexuality are listed. There is also a chart that outlines most of the traditional church stances, if you trust Wiki as a starting point to further research - I looked around and couldn't find such a clearly delineated chart elsewhere.
Breaking it down
What this all breaks down to is that something that is widely accepted as a quirk of nature is being discriminated against for no logical reason.
Women, too, (who are often viewed as a necessary quirk of nature, although from a scientific viewpoint, I think men are really the quirk) were once the victims of a social history of gender-specific repression; not being allowed the basic rights within a marriage that we take for granted today - such as the right to community property, full say over childrearing (or whether or not to have children), the right to keep and maintain income that they have earned, and the right to end an abusive marriage. All of them were prevented by the Marriage Act of 1753 and perpetuated as the norm throughout western civilization.
Now homosexuals are now the victims of a social bias relating to what should be their personal business: who they love and that which goes on behind closed doors.
Perhaps it's time to break out our history books and re-examine the effect repression and persecution has on our society.