No, I don’t care about gay marriage.


Notice: Frank use of heterosexist language to make a point.

Excuse the title, but this is the most succinct reply I can think of when hassled by conservative Christians why I can’t be bothered to participate in their culture wars. “Don’t you care about gay marriage?” they ask me.

Because I have a life, I tend to use the simply reply of, “No, I don’t care about gay marriage.”

More specifically, I don’t care about the hype that surrounds gay marriage or the political action taken against it. I don’t care about, nor do I care for, government interference with consensual adult relationships, living arrangements, or sharing of assets. I don’t care about gay marriage. I don’t care about polygamous or polyamorous marriage. I don’t care about straight domestic partnerships. I don’t care about common law marriage or cohabitation or any of these lifestyle choices. More importantly, the government shouldn’t either.

Typically, when confronted with arguments against gay marriage, its proponents argue that gays and lesbians are regular people, with loving partners and children that they care for. They argue that gays and lesbians are born that way. They argue that gays and lesbians aren’t a danger to children. They argue that gays and lesbians pay taxes. They argue that gays and lesbians have good morals and often are religious (not that being religious is a prerequisite for good morals, and that all religious people possess good morals). They argue that gays and lesbians aren’t asking for special rights, just equal rights, and to be left alone. Gays and lesbians have straight family and friends. They are committed and monogamous. Gays and lesbians aren’t going to Hell (which not everyone believes in anyway) and aren’t trying to recruit children. All of these points could be validly argued and I could add plenty more. I won’t be focusing on those. To me, they do not address the heart of the issue.

For me, the heart of the issue is this: Let us assume that all of the accusations ever leveled at the QUILTBAG community are 100% true. Let’s assume that every argument ever leveled against gay marriage was verified, unassailable fact.

So what?

I don’t care if gays and lesbians are diseased. I don’t care if they hate children. I don’t care if they chose to be that way. I don’t care if they pay taxes, attend religious services, have children, are monogamous, or volunteer. I don’t care if they’re morally upstanding. I don’t care if they all have AIDS and harbor secret and perverse sexual fantasies. I don’t care if they identify with mainstream society, want special rights, or wish for the death of heterosexuals. I don’t care if they advocate the destruction of heterosexual marriage. I don’t care if they’re headed for an early grave. I don’t care if they’re headed straight and irreversibly for Hell.

None of the above means that government should interfere with the right of homosexuals to live together, share assets, or engage in a consensual relationship. The government should not interfere with their free speech, free assembly, or free exercise of religion. The government should not promote activities that foster “good moral character”, nor should they promote a particular version of family life. The government should protect rights, maintain law and order, provide for the common welfare and the common defense.  Anything beyond that is beyond the purpose of the government.

Whether you like it or not, a government that controls your assets, living arrangements, and sexual relationships can control whether, when, and how many children you have. This means, for example, that if you don’t want to use birth control and aspire to a large family, the government could take away your right to pursue those choices. A government that controls marriage can control marriage rights. This means that religious political powers can deny marriage benefits and recognition to those outside of the religious majority. A government that controls marriage can take it upon themselves to enforce those controls through violations of privacy and constitutional rights.

I don’t want to live in a country like that.

But what about Christian marriage?

What about Christian marriage? Let’s assume that we all agree that gay marriages by definition cannot be Christian marriages. Again, I ask, “what about Christian marriage?”

Gay marriage is not a threat to Christian marriage. Gay marriage does not cause Christian marriages to end in separation or divorce (another area of life that I don’t want government interference with). Gay marriage doesn’t cause the young, inexperienced, or otherwise unprepared to enter into unions they aren’t able to maintain. Gay marriage doesn’t cause domestic violence or exploitation in Christian marriages. Gay marriage doesn’t cause Christian marriages to suffer economic hardship or to have more children than they can afford. It doesn’t cause Christians to not be able to have the desired children. It doesn’t cause adultery, betrayal, or neglect in Christian marriages. It doesn’t cause Christians to enter into marriage for the wrong reasons. It doesn’t cause immaturity or unrealistic expectations in Christian marriages. None of these marital problems have anything to do with gay marriage and everything to do with the attitudes and behavior of married Christians. If they want to bolster Christian marriage, they themselves need to learn what it is and set an example. They need to create a vision, argue it with facts and reason, and promote it. That’s not the state’s job.

Some people will probably accuse me of being a coward for not publicly standing in favor of Christian values (whatever that means). And that’s just silliness on spades.

I am not the one wielding the power of the state to harass powerless minorities. I am not the one spending large sums of money and manpower undermining civil liberties for my own gain. I’m not the taking the easy way out by begging and bullying the state to do what should be my job as an individual Christian. I actually expect Christians to compete in the marketplace of ideas just like everyone else. I have enough respect and enough faith in the intellect of Christians to believe that they can present a case worthy of public consideration. That they can take the criticism and handle the consequences if they’re wrong.

You could use a lot of words to describe me, but for the time being, coward isn’t one of them.

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3 comments

  1. Patsy Nevins · November 26, 2013

    Excellent post, Joanna. I too want the government to stay out of our private business & allow us free ownership of our lives & bodies. This is true whether we are talking about personal relationships, sexuality, or the way we live in our bodies…our eating, exercise habits, etc., & most especially the diverse sizes & shapes of our bodies. We live now in a culture of nannies, a country where many people seem to believe that other people’s bodies & lives are their property, that we all need others to legislate how we live. A great deal of time & money is wasted in attempts to ‘persuade’ people to be or do this or that, to blend in, to be part of the crowd. As I unfortunately know from overhearing my husband’s almost constant watching of MSNBC programs, a lot of people genuinely seem to believe that it is not only their right, but their responsibility, to pass judgment on the personal lives & choices of others, to attempt to have legal control of the life of the individual, & to in some way punish those of us who don’t fit in. We are constantly told that we OWE it to our culture, our community, to live a certain way, have a certain kind of relationship, look a certain way, & always ‘Take personal responsibility’, which translates to, ‘live your life & take care of your body the way I say is right.’ I don’t think that some of these people are even aware that the things they say suggest that we should all be clones, or march in lock step in order not to make any waves.

    And it is also worth noting that people try to legislate & control that which they fear. They also seem to want to spoil the fun of anyone they think might be enjoying life more than they are, which isn’t even necessarily true.

    To summarize & finally shut up, I agree. Government has no place in the private lives of its citizens. There must be more important things to think about than who loves whom or who does what in the privacy of his or her home. I hope so, or soon we may have someone following us around the grocery store monitoring what we buy or coming into our homes to check on how many people are there, what genders they are, or maybe something really vital like how many cups of tea have I had today or am I eating potato chips. Please, everyone…get a life, preferably your own.

  2. kellbrigan · March 26, 2016

    I used to agree with most of what you said (even though I’m personally convinced homosexuality is a mental disorder comparable to compulsive adultery, promiscuity, etc.) There are two outstanding problems, however. First what about preserving religious freedom? If government has no place in the private lives of its citizens, why isn’t Sweet Cakes by Melissa still in business? And, the second problem is culturally and legally stopping the deliberate creation of orphaned children. Not only do the myriad means undertaken by all kinds of individuals and couples to “have” children outside of a heterosexual mating result in the death of hundreds of thousands of embryos (http://thefederalist.com/2016/01/25/its-legal-to-buy-and-sell-children-as-long-as-theyre-small/), people created through these means are left adrift in a world where they have no hope of ever knowing their parents (http://theconversation.com/secrets-and-lies-why-donor-conceived-children-need-to-know-their-origins-44015). The problem is already bad enough, and talking about “homosexual families” encourages the further creation of deliberately-orphaned children and the murder and abortion of hundreds of thousands of “inconvenient” embryos. And, as you know, agencies that used to facilitate adoption primarily to heterosexual couples are being forced out of the job, even though children in homosexual families fare far worse (http://www.frc.org/issuebrief/new-study-on-homosexual-parents-tops-all-previous-research). Those are real factors, and they involve human beings whose lives the government is also instituted to protect. Same-sex marriage is not the only threat to children’s rights and safety, but it’s certainly high on the list. I used to be in favor of civil unions, and then I saw how this freight train will not stop until it results in religion being outlawed and the family destroyed. If gay activisits truly wanted equal governmental recognition of their relationships, they would have been happy with civil unions, which allow for the preservation of both children’s civil rights and religious liberty.

    • joannadeadwinter · April 12, 2016

      I actually agree with a lot of what you say. I am 100% opposed to IVF and artificial insemination. It bothers me the way people, gay or straight, treat children as a commodity that they have a right to possess, rather than as a responsibility and a gift entrusted to you. I feel that those who want to parent, or influence the lives of young people, but who cannot or do not want to conceive should foster, adopt, or be part of an extended family setting. I am one of those people. And yes, all children have the right to a mother and a father figure, and to know where they came from. Any responsible parent would agree, and I’m not one to let my ideology trump my regard for actual people.

      As for businesses slammed by the gay community, I have mixed feelings, not just with regard to gay rights but the concepts of property rights in general. Yes, I agree that people should have access to malls, public parks, colleges, etc. without regard to race, religion, sexual orientation, or other characteristics. However, people also possess the right to freedom of association and the right to control their private property, two rights that are virtually never respected anymore. Now, it’s not enough to give people the right to participate in public life, and to be given reasonable accommodations to do so. Now people are demanding that they be allowed to use everyone else’s private spaces as they see fit, without any kind of stipulations, interference, or even comment. I see this a lot with breastfeeding advocacy. Yes, nursing women should have the right to nurse in public. No, nursing women shouldn’t be treated rudely. No it’s not necessary to hide on a toilet or wear a burka to be modest and feed your child. However, that is not enough for some lactivists. They think they should have to right to nurse wherever, whenever, completed uncovered and on their terms. Even on someone else’s private property. Even when other people (men without shirts, women who are not breastfeeding) do not enjoy those same rights. These people seem to think rules and guidelines and basic manners shouldn’t apply to them. Why is it that businesses can require dress codes, ask men who are shirtless, or women who are too exposed, to leave, but nursing mothers are special snowflakes? I do not think it is unreasonable for nursing women to nurse in designated areas or to make a reasonable effort to cover up. These requirements are in no way burdensome, do not interfere with nursing and do not interfere with women and children being out in public. It’s no different than being asked to change in a changing room, or try on shoes in the benches in the shoe section. Most women do without issue anyway. But it seems there is always a strand of activism that is less about rights and more about entitlement. And anyone that criticizes or tries to set limits in THEIR space is a bigot. Well, if i’m a bigot, I wear the label proudly.

      We see the same thing with transgender bathroom access. It’s not enough that we allow unisex bathrooms. It’s not enough that we allow those who have completed transition and had their legal documents changed. No, men who are crossdressers want unfettered access to every sex-segregated space, without making any effort to transition. The concerns of rape survivors, the desire for women to associate only with women, or to have privacy, is of no concern to so-called progressives.

      Ultimately, what it comes down to is, I feel that gays and lesbians have the same constitutional and human rights as anyone else. I do not believe in state-issued marriage licenses or special benefits for married couples. However, I respect marriage as a social/cultural/religious right, and I will always defend the rights of private individuals and organizations to define it for themselves. This means that the Catholic Church absolutely has the right to not recognize same sex weddings and to criticize gay marriage and gay culture. The Catholic Church has the right to require modest dress in their buildings, and to discuss their beliefs openly. Sweet Cakes by Melissa shouldn’t be a target just because she expressed an opinion others didn’t agree with. The whole world is not your safe space. The dogpiling of people who express unpopular opinions is just awful, especially coming from so-called “tolerant” individuals. No thank you. I’ll keep my rights and you can have your fake tolerance.

      Thank you for commenting!

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