I Don’t Hate Gays

California Prop. 8, if passed, would add the following to the state constitution:

Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.

I voted Yes on 8, and yet I haven’t lost my mind, however I have been, am, or will be dismissed as such. Know my decision was not made lightly, and yet know I remain lucid.

In the intervening centuries since marriage was simply a business transaction between parents, it has become a public commitment between two adults, a commitment that ideally shares love and resources, with the added intent to raise children.

However, it even more deeply represents a public commitment to get it on — specifically, in a manner such that we propagate the species — and so many religions, including my own, consider marriage ordained by God Himself. This is what marriage is, and that is irrevocable. Although homosexual couples should have partnership rights and legally recognized benefits, their union cannot be called marriage.

It’s as if the government decided to make Christmas and other holy days public holidays — remember how it did, and how this secularization irks believers every Advent and every Lent? Rather than flow from the society inward to government establishment as did the secularization of Christmas, the issue of legalized homosexual marriage flows from the government down to a society not yet tamed by I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry.

This time, the religious sectors of society have the power to prevent wholesale — and rightly unacceptable — appropriation and castration of a cornerstone institution into a secular society by taking a positive action. This positive action, so called because it is preemptive and not because “positive” indicates value and worth, took the form of first Prop. 22, and now Prop. 8.

Ironically, voting yes on Prop 8., or even its presence on the ballot, might bring exactly what opponents really want, in the long run — the Supreme Court to have the final say, and more likely than not, in their favor. After passage, a California constitutional amendment about a hot-button issue in a hotly contested election year would bring forth much more interest in the Federal courts than Prop. 22 was. If Prop. 8 passes, the surely imminent lawsuits will bring gay marriage as an issue to a head much more quickly than to vote no this election day and wait for the inevitable proposition next year.

The real and permanent solution is to remove from our government all mention of “marriage,” replacing it with “civil union” or some other doublespeak. Let religions keep marriage; let everyone be equal in the eyes of the law, in all the ways that really matter.

Leave it to the politicians to forget the importance of cosmetic change.


  1. M. Gomes

    I don’t see how a YES vote is in the service of your larger goal here. What is the value of having the state government recognize one type of marriage when you ultimately argue for limited involvement in marriage? A backwards effort to achieve what we already have, (a standard that would make it easier to remove legal definitions/recognitions of marriage)?

    If you don’t believe in the government’s authority to interpret marriage, how does voting in favor of Prop 8 make sense?

    Sorry Ben, you don’t sound as lucid as you claim to be on this issue.

  2. I don’t expect a proposition in favor of limiting the government’s authority to interpret marriage to gain much steam in California. Until that proposition makes the ballot, I will vote by way of my conscience, and my reasoning.

    There are no multiple types of marriage in the larger world — there only the definition involving a man and a woman. At no point in the history of mankind has that changed, and there are real, societal connotations with that word that should cannot be ignored.

    I don’t believe in the government’s authority to interpret marriage — this referendum is a matter of the electorate’s authority to interpret marriage, not the government, and this issue is only even on the ballot as a reaction to a previous attempt of the government interpreting marriage.

    This is not a backwards effort to achieve what we already have. This is an effort to regain what was taken away.

    Sorry to sound like a demagogue, but that’s how I feel about this issue.

    … a standard that would make it easier to remove legal definitions/recognitions of marriage …

    I’m not sure what this means. Feel free to explain.

  3. Samuel L. Jackson

    Proposition 8 is unfair, and wrong! You should be ashamed Ben, truly ashamed.

  4. Two things:

    1. You didn’t actually respond to any reasoning I offered, so your comment cannot dissuade me. Prop. 8 is not unfair nor is it wrong — at least, it is less unfair and less wrong than the California Supreme Court ruling.

    Unless and until you offer some real reasons why I should be ashamed, truly ashamed, I will not be.

    2. I don’t think you’re really Samuel L. Jackson. Nowhere in your comment did you refer to motherfucking snakes.

  5. Fid

    Eyingtenure– your reply stating “There are no multiple types of marriage in the larger world — there only the definition involving a man and a woman. At no point in the history of mankind has that changed, and there are real, societal connotations with that word that should cannot be ignored.”
    is fundamentally flawed, not only does this derive it’s entire basis from a judeo-christian standpoint, but one which even the Roman Catholic Church has not always upheld (re: male-male Catholic marriage licenses from the middle ages found in France, complete with the traditional wedding vows and authorizations from the church)
    Marriage in and of itself is a religious term (and I cringe every time I hear attempted political arguments about the “sanctity of marriage” trample all over the first amendment)
    Not to mention the cultures and religions around the world with “marriages” that are not one man + one woman

    In response to the argument that prop 8 is not unfair or wrong we have to take a step back from even the constitution…
    “…certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
    The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the right to marry, to quote Chief Justice Warren “The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.”
    To temper the quick response of “gays can marry members of the opposite sex if they want to” we look to the First Amendment, just the first portion “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” as has already been pointed out, Marriage is an inherently religious term, So congress (and by later expansion of such protections the states) is/are prohibited from passing laws establishing or prohibiting marriages. To even take the step of “Legally Defining” marriage in such a way as to exclude the definitions of some religions while incorporating those of others is to violate the first amendment.

  6. I absolutely hate that you voted YES on Prop. 8, but I love that you, ultimately, come to the conclusion that the government should just stay out of marriage completely and provide some sort of non-discriminatory legal solution. Thank you for that at least.

    Wizzybus
    Wizzybus.wordpress.com

  7. former hungarian

    i can agree with the plan to make marriage only a religious thing and civil unions or domestic partnerships only a public, governmental thing. that would be fair.
    but if we are going to have civil marriage for anyone, we have to have it for all. you can’t deny marriage to anyone because of their gender or race or religion. that goes against the federal and state constitutions, and against our founding principles.
    anti-gay marriage is not discrimination based on sexual orientation. it’s discrimination based on gender. i can marry a woman if i am a man, but not if i am a woman. that is gender discrimination and totally unfair.

    i’m a little shocked that your argument has to do with procreation? do i need to point out that plenty of married couples do not, or cannot have children, but we don’t deny them the right to marry.

    separate but equal is a joke. either have marriage for everyone, or for no one.

  8. France never had gay marriages in the 17th century, and the Catholic Church did not authorize any. That’s wishful rumor on your part.

    “Life, liberty …” is from the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution. I’m not sure where you get that.

    Marriage is a cornerstone of just about every Christian denomination, and historically every culture recognized marriage as specifically between a man and a woman. The Ancient Athenians may have tolerated or even encourage pederasty and homosexuality, but even they did not recognize marriage as anything but between a man and a woman.

    To legally define marriage as anything but between a man and a woman would fly in the face of many more religions than not — thereby violating the First Amendment as much as a court ruling that says, “The Eucharist is not the real body and blood of Christ, only a representation.”

    To rule that gay marriage is legal is an estabishment of a state religion, because marriage is inherently religious — specifically, the state religion of atheistic humanism. I’d rather my government be areligious.

    Both sides are unconstitional, but one side has common sense, prevaling wisdom and the entire history of the human race behind it.

    do i need to point out that plenty of married couples do not, or cannot have children, but we don’t deny them the right to marry.

    Fertility testing is time-consuming, impractical and intrusive. On the other hand, it’s pretty easy to tell if you’re a dude or a lady.

  9. former hungarian

    “Fertility testing is time-consuming, impractical and intrusive. On the other hand, it’s pretty easy to tell if you’re a dude or a lady.”

    so you’re going to pass laws based on laziness?

    “To legally define marriage as anything but between a man and a woman would fly in the face of many more religions than not — thereby violating the First Amendment”

    wow. defining civil marriage has nothing to do with religion. the 1st amendment is not a popularity contest, and it’s not about agreeing with as many religions as possible. whatever all or any religions say about marriage, that has nothing to do with civil marriage. to say it does would be the violation.

  10. the 1st amendment is not a popularity contest, and it’s not about agreeing with as many religions as possible.

    Because marriage is inherently religious — popular connotation remains white dress against a black tux at a majestic chapel — the government has no buisness dictating what is or isn’t marriage. Until it gets out of religion, it might as well agree with that of most religious people.

    After all, the First Amendment is about not dictating relgious policy, about avoiding, specifically, the “establishment” of religion. To redefine marriage as the courts did, thereby stepping over into the realm of religion, the courts established that, from not just an acceptable legal standpoint but also a religous one, Californian marriage does not mean what California’s actual religons say it is.

  11. jessi

    I say we do away with all governmentally backed marriages. So it’s a civil union for everyone who wants to be so joined, with all of the tax and partner benefits currently given by the government to “married” people.

    Marriages, on the other hand, will be wholely church-regulated. With no governmental backing whatsoever. Unrecognized in other churches, other states, etc.

    Equal rights are equal rights. You want separate but equal based on religious beliefs? Cool, then let the individual churches marry who they want to allow to marry. But they get no benefits from it unless they have a civil union too.

    In the long run, people who divorce after a marriage of a few days or who beat their spouse do far more damage to the “institution of marriage” than do members of the GBLT community wanting to share their lives with a special someone.

  12. former hungarian

    “Because marriage is inherently religious — popular connotation remains white dress against a black tux at a majestic chapel — the government has no buisness dictating what is or isn’t marriage. Until it gets out of religion, it might as well agree with that of most religious people.”

    wow, i’m glad you’re not on the supreme court. pandering to the majority is exactly what the bill of rights is here to avoid. it protects the rights of individuals from the tyranny of “most people”.
    marriage is not inherently religious. you can get married at city hall without any religion involved, and it’s still a legal marriage.

  13. former hungarian

    jessi, i think you’re right on.

  14. Jessi, I also completely agree with you. That was the whole point of the last two grafs in the original entry. It seems I agree with Hungary-man, too — go figure.

    Popular conception was a casual example of the meaning of marriage, and not an absolute proof, but as that whole comment is moot now that we completely agree on the issue that really matters, there’s no point in showing you wrong further.

    It’s been a pleasure, though. I love healthy dissent.

    In the long run, people who divorce after a marriage of a few days or who beat their spouse do far more damage to the “institution of marriage” than do members of the GBLT community wanting to share their lives with a special someone.

    Yes, inherently. I don’t think there’s any credible disagreement with that. Yet both are damaging, and so I intend to dissuade my friends from either.




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