A Few Words About Marriage

For the record, I will say at this point that I am not married, nor do I envision myself ever getting married. There are those who say and think that only those who have experienced a particular thing or are engaged in a certain act (like, marriage, for instance) are qualified to speak on the matter. I say that this is not so. You don’t have to be a parent to speak about children, you don’t have to fight a war to speak out about whether a war is right or wrong, and you don’t have to be married to have an opinion about marriage. With that said, on to the topic. I was listening, a few nights ago, to some dude on the radio rambling on about those people out there who are “opponents of traditional marriage”. You see, just recently, the fine state of California upheld Proposition 8, which prohibits same -sex marriages. So this guy was ranting on about all of those people who are, in their attempt to extend constitutional rights to their fellow citizens, on the warpath to end mariage as we know it. This view is, of course, absurd. The funny thing is, is that the core of his objection wasn’t that gays and lesbians want to have everyone immediately sodomized (in the worst way) everyday and night as a part of their right to marry. No. What he said was that homosexuals want to redefine marriage. Redefine. I’m not a constitutional scholar, but I was under the impression that the business of definitions isn’t a legal issue — or at least not one to be decided by the courts. What’s worse, is that the redefinition of marriage isn’t even a philosophical issue — it’s semantic. And semantic arguments don’t belong in courts. I thought about what this guy was saying — what he really meant when he said “traditional” marriage. What this guy meant was that “traditional” marriage is a legally binding, God-sanctioned union between two consenting heterosexual adults who are not presently married to any other person. I guess this is what most everyone else thinks, too. I’ll be damned, if I wasn’t, deep inside, an Orwellian at heart. I tend to, from time to time, have a problem with what people think that they mean, and what they’re really saying. Now, I may be digging up a pile of grade-A dog shit to win my argument, but, I say that there are some people who don’t define “traditional” marriage in exactly those terms. So what do I mean? Well, not too long ago, we (as a society) kind of redefined marriage already. In the not too distant past, a “traditional” marriage meant that a young woman (and by woman, I mean a barely-started- her- period girl) was married off to a (usually) older man. “Traditional” meant that a woman was literally owned by a series of men during the course of her entire life, starting from her father who sometimes literally sold her to her husband. Marriages, until the age of romantic love, was primarily an arranged affair, the young woman not having any part of the arrangement. She, unfortunately, stayed un-blissfully aware of what was to happen until she was expected to perform her marital duties on her wedding night. And for plenty of places on this planet, this is how marriage goes — NOW. And, we can’t ignore the fact that many women were married by some dude from another tribe or village simply showing up and kidnapping her. That’s the traditional way they do it. We laughed at her when she said it, but Miss California was absolutely right. When we say we support “traditional” marriage, what we really mean is that we support “opposite marriage” — one man, one woman — no polygamy, no polyandry, no open marriages, no common-law, nada. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt to be Christians, either. When I stopped thinking that the guy on the radio was nothing but a backward, uninformed bigot, I realized that the semantic argument is a red herring. What we’re arguing about is what we consider deviant. Until quite recently, homosexuality was a certifiable mental disease. States all across the Union prohibited unnatural sex acts between even consenting persons of the same gender. But now, being gay, although still not socially acceptable to all, isn’t illegal. Some of us who aren’t same-sex oriented have realized that our here and queer bros and sisters can’t be made to go away or be straight for our sakes. Some of us are “used to it”. Which, if you think about it, means quite a great deal. I mean, if you think that, if black slaves were officially freed by the 13th Amendment in 1866, and given citizenship by the 14th Amendment, it took a full century before Loving v. Virginia struck down the nation’s last laws prohibiting interracial marriage. I’d say that gays and lesbians have leapfrogged over the “competition”. In this way, the argument over same-sex marriage is very much like the boo-hoo-hoo over abortion. There are people who so despise the fact that there are some doctors who remove fetuses from women’s uteruses, that they are willing to kill those who do. The issue has to do with an objection to deviant behavior. This is why some people object to giving girls the vaccine to prevent catching genital warts, or distributing condoms to high schoolers, or against teaching Sex Ed altogether. All of these things, it’s feared, will lead to sexual deviancy. And deviant people commit crimes. The same goes for those who don’t support gay marriage. I don’t know how many people remember Rick Santorum’s ‘don’t let the gays get married’ speech– where he claimed that allowing gays and lesbians to marry would lead to bestiality and child molestation (I’m guessing that increased rates of masturbation and blindness would be on his list of dreadful consequences as well). Abortion, premarital sex and gayness became problems when sex became recreational and not exclusively procreational. How so? When people died at 40, they were pretty much in a hurry to get married. When you were looking at dying from the local plague or being wiped out by the invading armies of wherever, you probably wanted to get your rocks off as soon as possible. And since you probably didn’t know how to read (and thus know that the church was feeding everyone a bunch of BS), you were in mortal fear of dying a sinner and burning in an eternal hell. Luckily, science prevailed and we realized that sex, although sometimes nasty, isn’t the gateway to all behavior and things criminal. In the past, people were just too busy being parents or dying from TB, or smallpox, or childbirth to explore the G-spot or contemplate which of their girlfriend’s hot roomates would be totally excellent for a threesome. Now, we’ve got condoms, and the pill, and abortion (for those who love the culture of death) that make it so one doesn’t have to have children if one does not wish to have them. Being unmarried at 20 doesn’t condemn a person to Eleanor Rigby-esque spinsterhood. There is not stigma attatched to being unmarried or even being a little slutty from time to time. You can engage in all kinds of unnatural sodomy and say it was “college”, or better yet, tell everyone that you’re emo. Now that people can wait to get married (esp. women) people have alot of hang time, and that’s time enough to do all sorts of things (and people) that we shouldn’t be doing. More importantly, having that hang time allows us to figuire out who we are actually sexually attracted to. Two hundred years ago, a 15 year old girl might have had to marry a man before she even realized that she wasn’t attracted to men at all ( it wasn’t just that her husband was so old, it was because he had a penis). Unfortunately, abstinence works — if you get married at 13. It totally falls apart if you wait till you’re 37. My point in all of this is that when we say that we’re for or against gay marriage, we need to be clear on what we’re saying when we do. Are we merely fighting over definitions or are we expressing our fear that so-called sexual deviants will lead society morally astray? If this is the case, we can’t make that judgment without proper evidence for our claim. With the exception of a handful of states, gay marriage is still prohibited. We won’t know the effects unless we trot it out and see what happens. Not too long ago, people feared that mixing the races would ruin society. I see plenty of people who are or have been in interracial relationships around, and plenty of little halves and quarters –and so far, things seem to be going ok ( hell, the market is up today). Whatever.

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