Sunday, February 08, 2004

I have largely stayed out of the debate over gay marriage that's erupted in the wake of last week's Massachusetts court ruling, because I recognize that my mind is totally closed to the point where debate only frustrates me. If I hear one more person use the 'God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve' line, I'll scream. Honestly, people, that is a cliche that now has crossed the border into self-parody! Get a new line!

But I do have to toss out one comment, directed at those who worry about the fragility of marriage in modern culture. Those are the people who argue that the tradition and concept of 'marriage' and 'family' are under assault from widespread divorce, teenage pregnancy, unmarried couples living together, absentee fathers, dinner in front of the television, Neal Bush, Britney Spears, the diminishing role of religion, abortion on demand, and so on and so forth. Their argument boils down to this: traditional definitions of marriage and family are already in such a state of instability that allowing homosexuals to marry will add one more nail to the coffin... the final destabilizing factor that will destroy those institutions forever.

To which I respectably reply: bullshit.

That assertion sounds a lot like this one, to my ears: "We men have alreeady screwed up politics and government. Can you imagine how much worse things will be if we allow women to vote?"

Free clue here: marriage is not a zero-sum game. If I marry Bradykins, it will not harm my brother's marriage, my father's marriage, my mother's marriage, or your marriage. No one is proposing that churches be forced to sanction gay marriage. No one is going to force heterosexuals to take same-sex partners. Your fears are unjustified.

Allowing same-sex partners who love each other and want to make that ultimate commitment to marry will only strengthen the institution of marriage.

Oh, one other thing: my mind is closed on this matter. You can comment, if you choose, but don't expect debate here. You will not change my mind.

UPDATE: My point is proven by a the remarks of a Roman Catholic Archbishop. Ignorant + Celebate = Relationship Expert, of course:

Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston said the rally was not about "hatemongering," as some critics have charged.

"We are here because we are concerned about marriage and about family," he told the cheering crowd. "Good strong marriage and family are good for our country, for society."

Let me, the agnostic, remind the religious expert (albeit of a church that's turned a blind eye to sexual molestation for decades, if not centuries) of a major biblical theme: get the plank out of your own eye before you worry about my speck, Father.

Oh -- and when was the last time you had a rally to condemn sexual molesters operating under the auspices of your clergy? Never? I didn't think so.

Let me tell you something, Archbishop O'Malley: gay people who love each other and want to marry are far more morally sound than Catholic priests who take advantage of children in pursuit of immature sexual gratification. And they are far more morally sound than a Catholic church hierarchy that tries to hide a pedophilia problem under tens of millions of dollars of payoffs and settlements.

You're supposed to lead people in morality. You have failed.