When I was in the military, they gave me a medal
for killing two men and a discharge for loving one
--Epitaph, Technical Sgt. Leonard Matlovich (1943-88)
It does me no injury for my neighbor to say
there are twenty gods or no God.
It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg
— Thomas Jefferson
Can't you see we need a hand
In the Navy
Come on, protect the motherland
In the Navy
--In the Navy, Village People
There is nothing wrong with going to bed
with someone of your own sex…
People should be very free with sex;
they should draw the line at goats
Happy Armed Forces Day.
Thursday's ruling by California's conservative State Supreme Court allowing gays to marry, only the second state in the nation to do so, reminds us how bigoted and provincial we are as a nation (California Strikes Ban on Same Sex Marriage.) The court decided marriage was a fundamental right of the individual, and barring it between same-sex couples is akin to the now-discredited ban on interracial marriage.
If the Republicans are the party of family values, what could be more value-filled than allowing two people to legally declare before the eyes of the community and the law that their partnership is binding? That commitment adds value to everyone's life.
On the other hand, forcing people to live in shame does nothing to foster a healthy society. As with abortion, drinking and biracial marriage -- people will engage in these behaviors whether they are state-sanctioned or not. You do not eradicate the behavior by denying its legality.
The only question is, will rights be protected, and will goods and services be provided in the safest, healthiest manner possible? Or will people be punished for their predilections by a moralist state. In my book, only the church should be allowed to shame you, should you choose to tolerate that censure, that is.
The wedding vows say you shall love, honor and cherish. They don't say you will create a passel of kids, and that may be a good thing. (Bad for the church maybe, which wants to create more hands for the donation plate.) On the other hand, should a gay couple wish to adopt, the is one less child out of the maws of the foster care system or the orphanage, another thing which is not bad.
Homosexuality is a biological fact; 3 - 10% of animals are queer. I know the fundamentalists run re-education camps to un-queer members, but why fight one's essential nature? It is as meaningless as making left-handers become right, because left-handedness was considered evil at one time. Then again, some people are naturally ambidextrous. These are biological facts. What do you do -- chop off the offending hand?
The imposition of any moral doctrine recorded by man should not counter natural inclinations, certainly not so long as these impulses are in keeping with the Golden Rule. Love, that is the directive, not hate and ostracize. In any event, religious doctrine should not trump legal doctrine in a nation under rule of law.
Isn't our goal a healthy and civil society in which neighbors love neighbors, for the good of the whole? Does our greedy desire for salacious news and the scapegoats override our sense of decency? If you are straight, seeing a gay couple carrying in groceries or mow the lawn is not going to turn you gay if you lack the impulse. So why the homophobic fear?
The papers are abuzz with the idea that this will become an issue for the presidential candidates. But this is a constitutional matter, a question of basic civil rights and freedoms. It would be great if any of the candidates had enough dignity to declare that fact, to say that their own preferences matter not a whit. That would be a welcome step away from the stance of the god-like, unitary executive. They all lack the backbone, however.
If we really wanted to cease unfortunate incidents like Senator Larry Craig's bathroom trolling, we would come clean about our true natures and allow people to marry appropriately. Is it better to force people into a marriage of propriety, for show, or to allow them to select mates based upon choice? As we no longer have arranged marriage, the idea should be that people join of their own volition.
On a pragmatic level, how mean-spirited to deny partners in a homosexual union medical benefits, etc., when they are life partners every bit as much as those who have joined in a heterosexual union. Gay and lesbian couples often suffer censure from their families and society at large; why deny them the refuge of a happy family life?
Shouldn't we celebrate love and care in whatever form it takes? Do we not smile when the zoo gorilla pick up a tot who has fallen into the enclosure, or when the swan becomes attached to the perfect swan peddle boat? Love in all its forms is a marvel. Nature is a mosaic.
Different strokes for different folks.