I listen to 10@10 on KFOG out of San Francisco every day at work. I’m not 100% sure, but I think that segment, usually running 35-45 minutes, is pre-recorded by DJ Dave Morey, and then just set to play from start to end. And that’s usually how it goes, but 2 Fridays ago, the broadcast was interrupted by Dave to share the breaking news that California’s Supreme Court had struck down 2 laws banning gay marriage in the state. It was very good news, to my ears, and probably of great interest to the listeners in the Bay Area; as you may have heard, there are a few gay folks in San Francisco, including Dave himself. There are a few gay folks everywhere you go, whether you choose to believe it or not.
Let me say right here that biblical arguments against homosexuality (or pretty much anything else) carry exactly zero weight with me. God did not fax the Bible in from the great beyond; Jesus didn’t write the New Testament himself. It was written by committee, over 1500 years, if you count both testaments. If you’ve ever done anything by committee, you know that the purity of anything created by committee is immediately and unquestionably suspect, subject as it is to the fingerprints of everyone involved and necessarily the result of more than a few compromises. I have it found it to be true that 3 people can’t even agree how exactly to split a check, as budgets and willingness to freeload vary. Given that, I find it incredible that several people could agree on the interpretation of the putative word of god. It was written by human men and women (oh yes—those bits were just culled so you wouldn’t read them) with their own experiences, agendas, expectations, and needs, just like you and me. To assume that wouldn’t be brought to bear on any account of their experiences is to discount the whole of human experience. And then there’s the translation issue. If you’ve ever studied a foreign language, you will have an appreciation for not only the trickiness of trying to create a translation true to the intent, mood, and music of the original text, and you’ll understand that connotation of vocabulary can make all the difference in the world. Of course, translators, being human, are subject to informing their translations with their own experiences, agendas, expectations, and needs, too. Unless you’re reading it in the original Aramaic directly off papyri written in Matthew’s own hand, I cannot grant you much credibility in interpretation; you’re already too far behind. Of course, if you’re reading the New Testament, which is the scripture of Christians, you’ll find it does not deal with homosexuality at all. That’s an Old Testament thing, so you’d have to read that in the original Hebrew. And finally, if you study ancient mythology to even a wading-pool depth, you will learn that the stories you find in the bible have been told over and over again over millennia and across cultures in that region. Jesus was hardly the first to die for a magical three days, only to return to life. While you personally may find the Bible to be spiritually fulfilling, (and if you do, good for you), there is no reasonable argument to be made for it as THE authoritative text for all other human beings on the planet who eschew it only at their eternal peril. That’s just ignorant.
Neither am I moved by the biology-as-appropriate-emotional-destiny argument as to why homosexuality is “wrong.” The premise there is that since natural procreation is only possible as the result of male-female coupling, any sexuality that does not produce children is fundamentally perverted and unnatural. If this were true, why is it that so many heterosexual couples struggle with infertility, when biology is so clearly on their side (not to mention divinely blessed)? And what of the many, many straight people in the world who have sex just because they enjoy it? Even those who have children would probably have to admit that that was not their sole purpose in engaging in every single sexual encounter they’ve ever had. I can say without equivocation that Scott and I have been having sex for years and never once was procreation the goal; in fact, we’ve actively engaged in all manner of preventive measures. It also presupposes that attraction is purely a physical phenomenon, and despite it being part of the magic of attraction, there is more that goes into it. Some people find brunettes more attractive than blondes. Some people are only attracted to those who would mistreat them, steal their money, and leave them stranded at a rest stop. Some people find their own gender more attractive than the opposite gender. Despite them having very little in common physically, I happen to find Jeff Goldblum
and The Rock
drool-worthy, as well as Kate Winslet
. Why? Who knows why we are attracted to anyone? It just is, and the fact that it is, every day, in every era, in every culture in the world, indicates that it is not unusual or abnormal, unless, you know, you argue against reality on a regular basis.
That said, reading the news stories about the California decision, I’ve discovered that there are a helluva lot of ignorant people out there, more than I ever imagined, and having been out in the world awhile now, I thought I’d gotten a pretty good handle on that population. It wasn’t the news articles so much that bothered me; it was the comments
. There are some scary, hateful folks out with internet access out there, hoo-boy. I guess I run with a pretty relaxed, live-and-let-live crowd; I really had no idea it was still this bad.
I’ve spent time with quite a few gay couples. You know what they do? They get up in the morning, go to work, go grocery shopping, make dinner, pay their mortgages, give their dogs baths, hang out with their friends, make love when they’re not too tired, and live for the weekend, just like the rest of us. (I really don’t know how they find time to bring about the collapse of western civilization as accused.) The specific sex acts they engage in aren’t anyone’s business any more than the specific sex acts you engage in are, and focusing on that single aspect of anyone’s life offers a grossly incomplete view at best. How much of your week do you spend engaged in sex? Thought so.
So many people are so concerned about the sex lives of strangers, and I find it hard to fathom. Being that worried about what other people are doing in their own bedrooms doesn’t make you moral; it makes you a voyeur.
The questions I have for these folks are these: Why do you care so much what other people do? Why is the faith that you claim makes your bigotry righteous not faith enough to know that your god will sort it out to its divine satisfaction in the end, that you feel you have to intercede? Why is it so very important for you to enforce your rules on others? What unexamined power issues do you have that goad you into branding others as “just wrong” for behaviors that don’t touch you or your life directly, and insist that they be stopped, and if that’s impossible, at least they should be shamed, harassed, and persecuted?
And what is your understanding of your marriage that you feel it is threatened by other people getting married? Scott and I have been married 14 years (last week), and not once have I ever felt that my marriage was less because other people were married, or that it would become so if gay people were allowed to legally marry. Frankly, I don’t even understand that fear or argument, except from an extreme scarcity view of life: there’s only so much “marriage” in the world, and if it is shared among more people, then I must have less marriage. It sounds ridiculous even in the writing, let alone the believing.
Everyone talks about family values, but if the “wrong” two people want to commit to each other for life in front of their family and friends, and create a stable family unit, well, that’s just not acceptable? That doesn’t make any kind of sense. Love is precious, and should be appreciated and celebrated wherever it’s found; there is enough hate in the world that no one needs to add to it. And there’s the issue of lawfulness and the supposed equality of our citizens. Bigotry is wrong; institutional bigotry is wronger, and absolutely should not be codified in documents the purpose of which is to protect rights of citizens.
I mean, I suppose if consenting adults want to be hateful bigots, there’s nothing I can do to stop them, but I don’t approve of it, don’t condone it, and would ask them to keep that kind of behavior behind closed doors and away from the view of decent people and impressionable children. I certainly don’t want to see it; it’s disgusting.
Gay people who want to get married want to do so for the same reasons straight people want to get married: They’re in love, they are committed to each other, and they want to tell the world, and have their union treated with the same respect and rights as any other. That’s not really so hard to understand, is it? It’s love, people. There’s nothing immoral about love.