I first of all thank you for reading my thoughts on this touchy subject. I know many people would call me "homophobe" and probably worse things, but here's my question: Why is it ok to attack and try to destroy a way of thinking and life that was what this country was formed upon then using its laws that it designed to protect that ideal to force another ideal onto its people?
Now I do know a (sadly one, and she is an amazing girl, don't get me wrong) homosexual, but the idea of taking the idea of marriage and twisting it in a way that distorts its true purpose destroy the meaning of it.
I also think of the Cascade Effect, when it comes to marriage rights, (no Offense) "why can't I marry a guy?" "why can't I marry my Dog," then finally my kicker, "why can't I marry my (Abiotic) Object," I know that sounds weird and stupid but I believe it would happen.
Even if the right to marry were granted, there would be couples that I would go to there wedding, but what about if--(Your relationship is slightly similar based of your autobiography, but not at all like what I’m sourcing,)--A man or a woman leaves a man-woman relationship for another of the same sex?
Does that not disturb the reason for why marriage was around in the first place. If its drop-in, drop-out, why have it?
Thanks for reading my Right-winged Ideals and putting up with my "close-mindedness"
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Dear Fai Tale,
I want to thank you kindly for your letter and I am very happy to respond to it. I am not going to call you a homophobe, but I am going to call you “uninformed” because opinions such as yours are arrived at whenever a person is not informed of the truth. Hatred and prejudice are based upon ignorance. For example, white racists used to sincerely believe (and there probably some around who still do) that black people didn’t have souls (OMG, right? but true!) so it was okay to enslave them, and they felt it was a crime against God (i.e., unnatural) for a black person to marry a white one. Another example: men used to think women were too stupid to be allowed to vote, and the result was that women in this country didn’t have that right until 1920. (Would you say someone like Margaret Thatcher or Hillary Clinton was too stupid to participate in the political process?) I could go on, but you get the idea about how ignorance leads one to false conclusions that are harmful to others.
The best way to fight against ignorance and hate, therefore, is education. Here we go....
Let’s talk a little about the institution of marriage. For the majority of human history, marriage in most societies has been about arranging contracts between two families or two political states. It wasn’t about love at all. That’s why it was a “contract.” In tribal societies, for instance, a chief might marry his daughter to a rival chief’s son in order to stop a war and create strong political allies (also explains why having many wives made you a big shot). The same was true for royal families in Europe, for another example. For centuries, too, there were “matchmakers” hired by families to find good spouses for daughters so that their children would be provided for. Have you heard of a dowry? I still own my great-grandmother’s cedar dowry chest (one of my prized possessions). Dowries were basically a way for a family to bribe the groom’s family to take their daughter off their hands because sons made money and had careers while daughters were seen as nothing more than housekeepers, cooks, and baby factories. How romantic. Often, women were married off years before they had their first menstrual cycle. That sort of thing still goes on in the world today. For example, in Yemen, it is okay for a man to marry an eight-year-old girl (http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2013/09/yemen-is-a-pedophiles-paradice-nation-where-old-men-marry-preteens-pushing-little-girls-to-suside-or-death-2760910.html). It wasn’t until the nineteenth century that marriage “for love” started to gain favor among the majority of people in “civilized” societies like the United States.
So, there you have the historical foundation for marriage. We had “marriage in the first place” as a formal way of having a man take care of someone’s daughter and/or to form social or political bonds of convenience.
One more thing to clarify: the difference between the religious ceremony of marriage and the civil union authorized by the state. Two different things. When I got married, my fiancée and I did two things: 1) we had to get a marriage license from the local courthouse (show ID to prove residency, get blood tests, pay fees), and 2) we had to get someone to be an officiant at the marriage. In our case, this was a minister, but it doesn’t have to be; it can be a judge, justice, marriage commissioner, magistrate, a ship’s captain, or even a friend or family member who gets a temporary license to perform the ceremony. People get married in churches or temples because of their religious convictions or because of family or social pressures and conventions to do so, but it is not required that you marry in a church. The marriage is a ceremony; it is the civil union that has to do with laws, taxes, etc.
What the homosexual community has really been fighting for the legal right to form civil unions. It’s partly the gay and lesbian community’s fault for creating confusion by the assertion that they want weddings in churches, thus introducing the element of religion into it, and, when you do that, people start thumping Bibles and other sacred texts in protest.
What gays and lesbians really want is the same legal rights that heteros have—that is, to have rights in estate planning, raising children, visiting spouses in hospitals, etc. Ceremonies in churches are just the icing on the wedding cake.
One misconception among those who are against the rights of homosexuals to marry is that the U.S. government is going to force churches to perform wedding ceremonies should this right become federally approved. Nope. There is still separation of church and state in this country, and no church or other religious institution can be forced to marry any couple if it does not wish to (that includes heterosexuals).
As for the notion that gay people are somehow attacking a way of thinking and way of life, neither I nor any gay or lesbian person I know or have ever heard of is against heterosexual marriage (it’s vice versa, doncha know). I guess what you’re perhaps saying is that when homosexuals marry, it is an attack on the institution of heterosexual marriage. It is not. No one in the LGBT community is trying to destroy traditional marriage. When two men or two women get married for love, it does not cause divorce rates for heterosexuals to soar. If you want to look to anyone to blame for degrading the state of holy matrimony, look at heterosexuals. The divorce rate in this country hit 50% long before any gay people were allowed to marry. Or, look at people like Britney Spears, whose first marriage lasted three days. That’s days, not years. Is that okay because she’s straight? Is her behavior helping to uphold the “sanctity of marriage”?
I’m not sure what laws you think this country was founded upon, but I believe that the U.S. Constitution mentions that all people should be equal and be given the same rights under the law (federal judges have consistently struck down state laws banning gay marriage when challenged in federal court). There is nothing in the Constitution about marriage or that everyone in this country should be heterosexual. Are you saying our Founding Fathers were all fine, upstanding, moral people when it came to marriage? Hmm. I give you Thomas Jefferson, who cheated on his wife with many of his slaves (most notably, Sally Hemmings, whose children he freed while keeping her a slave). I give you Benjamin Franklin, who also fathered many kids out of wedlock and was a well-known lothario (he especially enjoyed his time with the ladies as Ambassador to France). Alexander Hamilton had to resign as Secretary of the Treasury when his three-year affair was discovered. (In fairness, there were a lot of faithful Founding Fathers, such as George Washington [my hero], James Madison [a short guy; Dolly would have kicked his ass], and John Adams).
So, what, exactly, do you mean by the “true purpose” of marriage? Do you mean for procreation? Some people think that marriage should only be about giving people the socially approved legal right to have kids. Okay, so, does that mean that an older straight couple shouldn’t be allowed to marry because they are not planning to have kids? What about a war veteran who has been wounded and can no longer father a child? Should he not be allowed to marry? Infertile couples who can only adopt? And, you know, many heterosexual couples don’t want children but they do wish to be married. Would that be forbidden under your paradigm?
The Cascade Effect. I love this one. It reminds me of Bill Murray in Ghost Busters telling the bureaucrat that if he doesn’t let them do something about the ghosts there will be utter chaos, including dogs marrying cats. It’s interesting that you mention that, given that I just saw the play “Anita Bryant Died for Your Sins” at a local playhouse. For those of you who aren’t old enough to remember, Anita was a singer and beauty pageant winner who began spouting anti-gay hatred in the 1970s. One of her quotes was, “If gays are granted rights, next we'll have to give rights to prostitutes and to people who sleep with St. Bernards and to nail biters." Not sure what she had against nail biters, hmm. Anyway, this talk linking gay marriage to marriage between people and animals really got going with people like Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA). (Should I mention what “santorum” has come to mean in gay slang....? No, there might be young people reading this.)
Well, to counter that argument, let’s look at countries (and U.S. states) where gay people can marry. These nations include: Iceland, Norway, Finland, England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. Nineteen U.S. states have now legalized same-sex marriage. In none of these countries or states are we seeing a rise in people marrying horses or dogs or their favorite lamp, nor do we see any proposed legislation requesting that this be allowed.
The crux of what seems to be bothering you, it appears, has to do with the article you cite in which a woman is upset that her husband has left her after announcing he is gay. She feels his actions have destroyed her family and her life. I can understand her emotions. My divorce was traumatic for both me and my now-ex.
From what I have seen, there are two types of situations regarding marriages where one partner is gay. In the first (and I’ve known people who have done this) a gay man (or woman, but usually a man) marries to conceal the fact that he’s homosexual. His family or society at large frightens him and so he seeks a way to make it seem he is straight. The result is either that he remains in a marriage in which he is unhappy or he eventually realizes he can’t live a lie anymore and he gets a divorce. Now, I do have a problem with this because the man in this case is being deceitful. I can understand why it happens in a world where homophobia is rampant, but it’s still not a thing I would condone.
The second scenario is what happened to me and some other friends I know: we didn’t realize we were gay at the time we got married. I know, this sounds incredibly dense of us, but it does happen. In my case, my only exposure to gay men (mostly through the media) showed them as being very effeminate. This wasn’t attractive to me, so I thought I was straight. I much later discovered bears and that pretty much awakened what was in me all along (looking back, there were signs all along, but I didn’t recognize them because my father would crush such behavior quickly). Anyway, I tried to hide my knowledge for four long years. I went to therapy at my wife’s recommendation (she knew something was wrong, but didn’t know what), but it didn’t help at all (you can’t cure being gay). We were both miserable, and then one day it just all spilled out and I confessed to her. I can’t tell you how awful this was for me, and I know it was for her, too. But, in the end, it was better for us all. She is now with a nice guy and I am with a loving partner, too, and all of us can be who we really are.
I don’t have any children, and I know this can be a concern. I have a dear friend who not only went through what I did, but he also has two sons. He got a divorce and eventually told everyone why. His kids are supportive and he and his wife (like me and mine) are friends.
Therefore, it is not necessarily true that when this scenario happens it destroys lives. On the contrary, when handled by mature, open-minded, intelligent, and loving people, the final results can be very positive. Remember, it is not what happens in your life that defines you; it is how you handle the challenges that life presents you.
You ask, “If it’s drop-in drop-out why have it [marriage]?” Straight people get divorced; gay people get divorced; people who find out they have grown apart or are not what they thought they were get divorced. Why have it? My ex asked me once if I thought the 20+ years we were married were “a waste of time.” God, no. Those years are some of the most treasured I will ever have. I had some joyous times; I did a lot of growing up. Wasted? No way. I loved her then, and I love her now. I have never ever regretted being married to her. It was an honor.
What makes marriage valuable? What makes marriage a joke?
The value of marriage and weddings does not come from institutions. It does not come from churches or states. It does not come from social codes and morals. The only thing that gives marriage beauty and importance are the two people who are in that union. People give marriage its validity.
If you get married because you want a big party and you want to spend a lot of money and dress up in an expensive gown, then you are making marriage a joke. You know, there is a growing trend in this country (and I have heard people say this) where the couple says, “Oh, this is just our first marriage. The first marriage is just practice.” Seriously. I am not joking. And don’t get me started on the many actors, actresses, musicians, and other show business people whose marriages are like the revolving doors at Macy’s.
Marriage is risky, sure. There’s a good chance it won’t work out, whether you are straight or gay. Why do it?
Because you love someone.
P.S. The proper phrase is not “gay rights” or “gay marriage” it’s “human rights” and “marriage.” The use of the word “gay” in the letter was just for clarity.
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Thanks for your response and I agree that I am a bit under informed on the homosexual side.
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It's always good to ask questions. Pat yourself on the back for not just accepting what you original heard about gay people and to actually be open to other viewpoints!
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