Friday, March 29, 2013

An Open Letter to Those Who Oppose Marriage Equality for Gays

Some of you are opposed to marriage equality for LGBTs.

I have to seriously wonder why.

It's no surprise though, that most of you are religious.

Most of you are, predictably, right wing.

Conservative. 

I can make this guess because I have experience on both sides of the fence, so to speak. You see, I used to be a right wing, conservative, Evangelical Christian.

Now I'm a liberal atheist.

So I know exactly how you think about gay marriage.

And I am here to explain exactly why opposing gay marriage isn't only morally reprehensible, but it's stupid. What's more, I'm going to convince you of this fact.

So if you want to continue opposing gay marriage, well, you better do yourself a favor and STOP reading now!

~***~


On Facebook this week, I've been reading all kinds of comments from my religious and nonreligious friends. In light of recent events, the marriage equality issue is a hot topic subject, but I don't think it's open for debate. Why? Because in this case, there seems to be a very clear-cut wrong and right answer.

The right answer is we are morally obligated to SUPPORT marriage equality. Why? Because it is written in the Bill of Rights that all citizens of the U.S. have the equal right to the pursuit of happiness. If getting married makes a couple happy, who are you to deny them this basic right?

If you're opposing marriage equality for gays, then you are opposing marriage as a form of expression of happiness for others, but not yourself, and well, this is hypocritical. 

You may have your reasons for opposing gay marriage, but they aren't good enough to set any legal precedent. 

Basic human rights are more sacred than any authority you might wish to cite. The Bible? God? That's quaint. They have nothing on our inalienable, basic human rights. Things like the freedom of speech, the right to life, and the right to strive toward happiness unhindered cannot be taken away for any reason. Certainly not any reason you could think of. 

That's why they are called BASIC human rights.

Although not all basic human rights are well defined, but that's why we invoke the law to aid us in better defining them.

Marriage equality, I think you'll discover, is one such basic human right.

If you still have reservations, or if you still have objections, don't worry, we'll get to them shortly.

~***~

Here is a quote that popped up on my FB feed in which a Christian friend shared his opinion on gay marriage:

"Hey facebookers - My stance on gay marriage NO!NO!NO! Marriage is biblical and homosexuality is a sin. I do feel gay union acceptable and partners should receive equal benefits in a political and financial sense....health care for partners on insurance plans, social security bens for partners etc....thank you and have a great day."

Before I mention my two-cents, FOX News icon Bill O' Reilly just wanted to say:


Bill's comment pretty much sums up what needs to be said.

What should not escape our attention, however, as Bill has pointed out, the fact of the matter is that we are dealing with human rights. In this case, the right to be a free American, and be afforded the same rights, as Americans, as any other American would be allotted. Including the right to be married.

You see, this isn't a "Christian rights" issue. This is a HUMAN RIGHTS issue.

Now being aware of the fact that we're dealing with human rights, because we recognize there is such a thing as basic inalienable human rights regardless of your religious affiliation, beliefs, or sexuality, you can no longer plead ignorance. You have no choice but to reconsider your opposition to marriage equality.

Now, let's address some of the oft raised objections. 

~***~

OBJECTION 1: Marriage is Biblical

One objection, as my friend alluded to earlier when he claimed that marriage was "biblical," is that marriage is strictly speaking a religious act.

This, however, is a common MISCONCEPTION.

Marriage, traditionally speaking, is NOT religious. Marriage is political. 

Marriage rituals were founded on concepts such as property inheritance and land ownership rights in both patriarchal as well as matriarchal societies, regardless of what the religious beliefs of the people might have been. 

If you've read the Bible, you'll probably notice that women are often referred to as *chattel. This has everything to do with property inheritance, and is the basis for "biblical" marriage. So you see, there actually is no such thing as religious or biblical marriage. There is only * political marriage.


Furthermore, marriage as a cultural practice has been around for tens of thousands of years. Marriage predates recorded history, while most modern religions only exist within the confines of recorded history. That's an important distinction often lost on those who oppose marriage equality.

So we know this much: marriage existed BEFORE the Bible and it certainly existed BEFORE Christianity. Marriage, as a ritualized practice even existed BEFORE Judaism in far off China and India. Marriage, according to historians, most probably existed before recorded history. 

So Christians have NO claim on marriage as a rite, a ritual, or even a form of expression. They didn't invent it, therefore, they don't own it. Tough cookies.


~***~

OBJECTION 2: Homosexuality is a SIN. Therefore Homosexual Marriage is, by Extension, Also a Sin.


So my Christian friend, like many marriage equality opponents, says that "homosexuality is a sin."

Well, that's actually a separate issue from marriage. 

But I don't want to be accused of ducking the objection, so I'll bite.

If homosexuality is indeed a sin, then this doesn't by default make the act of marriage sinful. 

These are TWO separate things. 

Marriage would still be marriage whether or not gays, straights, or transgenders (birds and bees) were doing it. Just like sex. Sex is sex, regardless of whether it's honey bees mating or iguanas. Gay humans or gay bonobos. Sex is sex is sex.

Being gay is clearly not the same as being capable of mating.

So you see, Christians who are calling homosexuality a sin, and gay marriage a sin, are actually conflating TWO separate things, and then saying they equal the same form of "sinfulness."

This is just improper logic, sorry to say. It's ill-logic. Hence, saying gay marriage is wrong because homosexuality is a sin is illogical.

The notion that the "sin" of homosexuality can somehow rub off on the act of marriage only to stick to it like peanut-butter and thus contaminate it with ewey-gooey "sin" and thereby make the marriage act somehow sinful is just, well,   STUPID. But I digress.


What I think Christians often take for granted, because I sure know I did when I was a Bible Thumping Jesus Freak, is that the Christian concept of sin is merely a metaphysical concept that has NEVER been demonstrably proved.

Which means, basically, in two thousand years of talking about it ... sin has never amounted to anything more than simple imaginative speculation.

Literally, sin only exists in the imagination of the Christian.

So you'll have to beg my pardon when I say that stating "homosexuality is sinful" is meaningless. It's meaningless precisely because "sin" is an incoherent term, because it's not something that has been proved to exist. In fact, as far as the concept of "sin" goes, it's a pretty poorly defined concept. It has theological implications as well as real world ones, that is, if it could ever be demonstrated, and well, even the greatest theological minds have never settled on any clear-cut description for the term. At best, sin is a nebulous metaphysical concept. 

So the whole "homosexuality is a sin" argument is flawed from the get go. 

~***~

OBJECTION 3: HOMOSEXUALITY IS WRONGFUL BEHAVIOR BECAUSE IT'S A SINFUL HEDONISTIC CHOICE!

It's surprising how often this argument comes up. But common sense reveals it to be flawed. As for the sin thing, I addressed this above, and I definitively showed that the concept of sin is flawed at best, so to invoke it as a label for homosexual is incoherent.

But now we're onto behavior, and choice, and the ideas of right and wrong.

Now, I agree with the general consensus when it comes to moral behavior. There is such a thing as right and wrong. And therefore there is both right choice and wrong choice, right behavior and wrong behavior.

Having been a believing Christian for 30 years, I think many Christians simply mean to say that they view homosexuality as wrong, and they use "sinful" as a synonymous for what they perceive to be wrongful behavior. 

But proving homosexuality wrongful behavior, minus any notion of sin, is easier said than done. I think you'll find that trying to find reasons for why homosexuality could be deemed wrongful behavior is a rather impossible task. There is simply nothing, and by nothing I literally mean nothing, that could make it wrong in the moral sense.

How do I know this for sure?

Because, a person's homosexuality has no effect on me in the same way my heterosexuality has no effect on them. 

If we are talking about wrongful behavior, then that behavior must be demonstrated to have a negative or detrimental effect on the well-being of others. And this has never been demonstrated where homosexuality is concerned.

The argument that homosexuality hinders reproduction, and therefore endangers our future survival, ignores the fact that we are currently experiencing an overpopulation problem. Now, there could be a future date where this argument could become valid, such as, in the case of a devastating asteroid collision.

If the human population were ever to be decimated and diminished to just a few thousand survivors, then the homosexuality might potentially be detrimental argument could, theoretically, be invoked. But as it is now, such an argument is simply INVALID.

Also, homosexuality isn't actually a behavior in the same way that my heterosexuality isn't a behavior. 

That is, we choose to behave this way or that, but when it comes to sexual orientation/gender preference, this is the way we were born, i.e. sexual orientation/gender preference is genetically predetermined. I don't choose to be heterosexual, I just am.

A gay person doesn't choose to be a homosexual, they just are.

So homosexuality being a behavioral choice is simply a fallacious argument. To invoke it as an objection to gay marriage means to invoke a fallacy, and I'm sorry to say, if you're predicating your sole argument that gays shouldn't be married based on the fallacy that homosexuality is a behavioral choice, then you are automatically disqualified from the conversation.

~***~

OBJECTION 4: Homosexuality is Unnatural!

The idea of one man and one woman is often predicated on the idea that procreation requires one male and one female, unless, of course, you're the Virgin Mary or a parthenogenic lizard. But the reasoning is simplistic. It usually takes a male's sperm and a female's egg to get a baby.

Well, here we're talking about sex. Not marriage. So what's your point?

Heterosexual sex and homosexual sex are just different types of sex. As I showed above, they aren't choices, so there is no moral implication of rightness or wrongness that could be applied. The only thing we could say is that one form of copulation is more successful at generating offspring and procreating. But otherwise, there is nothing else we could say. 

Besides this, homosexuality is quite common in the animal kingdom. We are but primates, after all, and so why would we expect to be any different than the rest of the animal kingdom? Well, this is the solipsistic thinking of people that believe they are closer to gods than beasts of burden.

Again, imaginative speculation at best. Unfounded conjecture, however, is no foundation to make moral proclamations, let alone hand down moral judgements, by decreeing this or that as natural or unnatural.

But even if we were to assume, minus any reason for doing so, that homosexuality is somehow unnatural, so what? Being unnatural isn't the same as being "wrong." An albino wallaby is unnatural! This doesn't in any way, shape, or form demonstrate that albinism is somehow morally wrong. 

So to say homosexuality is unnatural is merely to point out that it is not as common as other forms of sexuality in the same way that albinism isn't as frequent as other forms of pigmentation. 

It's NOT even an argument. It's more of an observation, really. And if that's your basis for objecting equal marriage rights for gays, well I'm sorry to say, but you're probably an idiot.

~***~

OBJECTION 5: Homosexuals are FAGS!

If you call a homosexual a fag, you've revealed yourself to be a contemptible, worthless, foul mouthed, cruel, cold-hearted, bigot and aren't even worth the time and effort it would take for a million homosexuals to take a shit on you.

But in the end, it's just words.

Like the above, it's not even an argument.

It's a label. A slanderous one at that.

But like most slanderous labels, it is meant to dehumanize your opponent. 

Calling a gay person a fag demonizes otherwise good, loving people by saying they are somehow beneath you. It's a way to ensure they stay under your heel, so you don't have to treat them fairly. Why would you have to treat someone or something that is so obiviously worthless to you as an equal?

Well, that's the danger of labels.

Hitler's Germany made the same mistake. They saw fit to stick blue stars upon thars for every Jew. Oh, they're Jews! They're not like us God-fearing German Christians. They killed Jesus! They're worthless! Burn them! Burn them all!

Nazi Germany folks--started with labeling others as inferior, backwards, and wrong. The basis of which was ... you guessed it ... in the imaginations of elitist German dictators.


How is this any different from how the gays are being maltreated now?

~***~

CONCLUSION

The pursuit of happiness is classified as human right, and therefore an inalienable right. This means it is a natural right which cannot be taken away from anyone for any reason.

The question I ask you is this: Could the tradition of marriage, in any of its forms, bring two homosexual couples some semblance of happiness?

If so, then you have absolutely NO RIGHT to deny them of this small amount of happiness.



So you don't like the idea of gay marriage?

So what?

Your personal feelings simply don't count for anything when it comes to ensuring that the law does what the law is intended to do and safeguard the inalienable rights of others in the face of your hypocrisy. 

I'm sorry if my tone sounds harsh, but you simply can't go around telling people who they can and can't fall in love with, or who they may or mayn't marry. 

You cannot even pretend to have the right to tell gays who they may or mayn't marry, by denying them the very right to be married. Here's an FYI ... their (gays) personal lives are NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS. So do yourself a favor and BUTT OUT. 

One right that hasn't been clearly defined yet, at least not as clearly as I'd like it to be, is the right to personal privacy. Someday this right might be better defined, but I think as it is now, things like marriage, abortion, sex, etc. are private affairs and to even pretend to have an opinion on such matters, when you are not the party concerned, is simply a trespass on others basic rights.

Come now, we're civilized people, and as civilized people you know as well as I do that telling people how to go about their business and live their lives makes you a busybody and a total douche. To go beyond this by demanding that you be given PRIVILEGES over those you deem inferior to yourself, while seeking to have their rights restricted, simply because you don't accept or respect them for who they are, makes you a cruel and unsympathetic tyrant.  

So, after hearing my rebuttals to the most frequently raised objection to marriage equality, if you still think gay marriage is wrong, then go ahead and march on in that foolish opposition against the tides of progress and change. But know this, when civilization advances to greater echelons of egalitarianism and a better more tolerant tomorrow, and history brands you as a  morally bankrupt enemy to the natural rights of all mankind, you'll have nobody but yourself to blame.



Advocatus Atheist

Advocatus Atheist