Wednesday, March 22, 2006

What We Did For Love

As I cruise the blogosphere, sitting in on debates here and there concerning gay marriage, the same ol' argument is being used against it time after time. It is a faulty argument, and we need to keep on fighting it. It won't go gently into that good night, because the foes of gay rights are hoping they can keep on using the same arguments, over and over again, and simply wear us out by pretending we have no counterargument. But since they are REFUSING TO EVEN DEAL WITH OUR counterargument, this proves they have no response to it. We are the ones in the right, and we must not allow ourselves to be worn out of the victory we deserve.

The standard exchange goes something like this:

Gay Person: "I can't get legally married, so I am being treated like a second-class citizen and denied my rights."

Anti-Gay Person: "Yes, you most certainly can get married. You can marry a nice man/woman (whichever is of the opposite sex), settle down, and live happily ever after."

GP: "But I can't marry the one I love, because he/she is of the same sex. And I can't love anyone of the opposite sex the way I can someone of the same."

AGP: "That's ridiculous...blah-blah-blah...(changes the subject)."

Now, by any honest standard, our Gay Person has won the argument. GP has made clear that he/she loves someone of the same sex, has no reason to believe -- due to hard-won personal experience -- that he/she could love someone of the opposite sex the same way, and stated the obvious fact that no one in this situation can marry for love.

Notice that GP did not say "I cannot marry, period." GP simply made the plain observation that he/she cannot marry FOR LOVE. Can AGP marry for love? Of course. Does this make GP a second-class citizen? Absolutely and without question.

Long ago, in lands in which the concept of freedom was developing, the decision was made to allow people to marry for love. As time went on, this became clearly seen as a basic component -- one of the MOST basic, as well as crucially important -- of the ability to pursue life, liberty and happiness. AGP simply takes this for granted. GP cannot.

AGP is asking GP to settle for a sadly second-class life. AGP is asking gays and lesbians to do something that no heterosexual would any longer find tolerable.

How many of the songs on the radio have to do with love? How many of the TV shows and movies we watch have to do with love? How much of the literature we read concerns love? More important than any of this, how high on their list of priorities is love for the overwhelming majority of people we know? So how honest is it for anti-gay heteros to claim they aren't being unspeakably cruel to gays and lesbians when they claim that we should just tough it, lump it and go without one of the most important parts of human life?

Problems like divorce and "the woman question" began when ever-greater numbers of people began marrying for love. As long as marriages were arranged, homosexuality could safely and quite easily be ignored. Now that heterosexuals no longer find arranged marriage acceptable, it is indeed odd that they scratch their heads in wonderment that we're no longer content with that, either.

If we really wanted to solve the problems besetting the modern family, we would do away with both divorce and marriage for love. That'd fix it but good, and it would fix it like probably nothing else would. As hetero marriage for love is what has, up to now, caused all the problems, it makes far more sense to ban love matches between those of opposite sexes than it does those between members of the same sex. But then again, none of this is really about sense. It is about bigotry. It is about hate.

And let's dispense, once and for all, with the lie that if you treat others in a way that you would hate to be treated yourself, you do not hate them. That is pure hogwash.

Let me also clarify something, here, for those who are offended by this and think I've slandered them. I'm not defining "hate," here, as some airy-fairy feeling deep in your heart. Hate is an attitude that goes far deeper than mere feeling. Both hate and love do, indeed, begin with feelings, and feelings are very important. But just as -- as we are so often reminded by preachers and shrinks -- "love is a verb," so, too, is hate.

Hate is as hate does.

In repeating these truths, I follow in the footsteps of an untold number of other folks, who've already said pretty much the same thing. Why do I say it yet again? Because the truth always bears repeating. Truth is always worth repeating -- as many more times as necessary than lies.

Though it would be the right thing to do, I don't advocate pushing for same-sex marriage at the present time. Too many people just aren't ready. Their reasons are, in large measure, either selfish or ignorant, but that does not matter. Whatever their reasons may be, they aren't apt to change very drastically anytime soon.

There's no use beating our heads against a brick wall. Continuing to clamor for full marriage equality now, while all the 'fraids are still curled into their defensive, fetal positions and sucking with such determination on their thumbs, is not going to do us any good -- and may even do our cause real harm. The enemies of any sort of gay and lesbian equality will only keep pointing to our insistence on same-sex marriage and use it as a bogeybear to scare even many of those who might otherwise be supportive of domestic partnership rights. Let's be realistic, keep our feet moving forward (even if it is only one small step at a time), and keep our eyes on the goal ahead -- however far ahead it may seem to be to us right now.

We have it better than gay and lesbian people had it in any previous generation in the history of humankind. Let's not reverse any of the gains we've already made.

But we must never stop reminding the heteros what they've already done for love. And that any lasting solution to the problems besetting marriage and the family can never be solved by hate.


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