Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gay Marriage in Iowa and Vermont

Gay marriage is once again in the news, with Iowa and Vermont being the most recent states to legalize it. To be honest I'm a little sick of defending it by now, but it is worth mentioning that a conservative Christian group in the U.S. is taking some pretty heavy measures to attack it.

A few days ago, a group called the "National Organization for Marriage" put an ad on TV and YouTube, claiming to be supportive of gays and lesbians, yet threatening that homosexuals have a vague plan to force heterosexuals to change their lives. Fortunately, good sense is prevailing, and not only is no one agreeing with it, but most think that it's completely ridiculous.

Frankly, pretty much all of the anti-gay marriage arguments are so stupid that it's a wonder that anyone has ever taken them seriously. The National Organization alone is claiming that in Vermont the legislature has taken away religious liberties. First of all, no proposal to legalize same-sex marriage has ever forced a church to conduct one of these ceremonies -- it simply means that the state government has to recognize it, whether the couples chooses to marry through a judge or a clergyman who actually reads those parts of scripture that demand compassion. Second of all, I can't help but notice that this group is unable to be pleased by attempts to satisfy its own criticisms -- the anti-marriage crowd has always said that the courts shouldn't create the law -- even though, strictly speaking, they are just troubleshooting existing laws, which is exactly what they're supposed to do on behalf of the people. Yet, when Vermont legalizes gay marriage with a free vote in the State Senate, the religious right are still up in arms. Finally, the stories concocted by this group are very one-sided and dishonest: for instance, the people who claim they were persecuted over their beliefs, were actually nurses or city groups refusing to serve gays and lesbians -- which is in itself against the law.

So, to anyone paying attention, it's pretty clear that they don't really care about religious freedom, they care about gays not having the same rights as straight people. It's rather like Bush's Defense of Marriage Act -- it doesn't forbid partners from cheating on each other, or getting married just to get rich and famous, so it's not really a Defense of Marriage -- it's an Attack on Gays.

Which leads me to one last point: at the risk of making a strawman argument, it's hardly a secret that -- being socially conservative -- the same sort of people condemning gay marriage have never taken the whole "equal rights" thing very seriously. After all, fifty years ago they used God to keep blacks and whites from being in mixed company, or treated as equals. A hundred years ago, they made sure that women were treated like property rather than people. Two hundred years ago, they encouraged the slave trade. Four hundred years ago, they made sure that so-called witches were murdered by church-run governments. Five hundred years ago, they supported wiping out most of the Indians in this part of the world, and so on. So, for these racist, sexist, homophobic scumbags to cry about the so-called persecution of Christianity in North America, is not only bogus, but it pisses on the graves of literally millions of innocent people. By the way, the irony does not escape me that the directors of the National Organization for Marriage include women and black men; am I the only one who has asked these clowns why gays and lesbians don't deserve their rights too?

If there's anything else that can possibly make the downfall of the so-called Christian Right more entertaining, it's that every so often we hear about one of these conservative ministers getting caught doing something that's not only highly embarassing, but a crime. Embezzlement, drug abuse, prostitution, sexual abuse, you name it they've done it. This leads me to my biggest beef with these goons: leaving aside that in North America, the government is supposed to be secular and respecting everyone's rights, as opposed to just conservative Christians... before you even dare to declare yourself the world's moral police, you had better make damn sure that your own slate is clean. It's pretty dumb when a law-abiding atheist is being talked down to by a "Christian" who not only stirs up anger and hate every chance he can get, but thinks nothing of Jesus' own statement "That which you do unto the least of my brothers, you do unto me." Enough said.

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