Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Gay Marriage and You

So, apparently, the fabric of our society is in grave danger. Marriage, the institution upon which our family-oriented society is based is being threatened. The threat is coming from the fact that there are people who want to show their love and commitment to members of the same sex as they are.

I have to admit that this came as a real shock to me. I mean, I have been hoping for years to hear exactly how the sanctity of marriage is lessened by gay marriages and still have no clue. But it’s what I keep hearing, so it must be true, right?

In my ignorance, I would have thought that the institution of marriage was being threatened by the fact that so damn many of them end in divorce. In the United States over 50% of marriages end in divorce and the average first marriage lasts about 8 years. Doesn’t that undermine the holy institution?

Now, it really isn’t fair that we look just at the divorce rate, because, to be honest, there are marriages that really should end – for the good of everybody involved.

So an even more telling stat from a recent poll that I saw is that 57% of married men and 54% of married women admitted to having extra-marital affairs. Worse – 74% of men surveyed and 68% of women said that they would have an affair if they were sure that they would never be caught.

But not even the obscenely high rate of marriage infidelity is as big of a threat to marriages as Gay Marriage is.

In my naiveté, I might have even blamed Hollywood for the threat to the sanctity of marriage.

It’s confession time.

I have a “guilty pleasure” which I occasionally partake when the family is either out of the house or asleep. I like to close the windows and shades, turn the lights down, the TV on, and watch E-TV (Entertainment network). So that you don’t think that I’m a completely immoral sleaze-bucket, I will say that I don’t watch most of the shows on that station and none of the really stupid ones (at least not by my very high standards), but there are several shows on the channel that I enjoy. I especially like some of their “countdown” series (recently I watched the 5-part series “101 Reasons The 90s Ruled”, which was an absolutely wonderful re-cap of the decade).

A few nights ago they had a show about the “10 Most Shocking Hollywood Divorces”. Now I’m really confused. What exactly is shocking about celebrity marriages that don’t make it? Once in a very long while we hear about a celebrity that does stay married, and faithful for a serious period of time, and that’s a real shocker. But most of us can count on one hand the number of Hollywood couples that have stayed together for more than a few years.

Nevertheless we're being told by so many religious fundamentalists (and othewise ignorant homophobes) that it’s gay marriage undermining our society and the sanctity of the institution of marriage.

Seriously? It’s the gays that destroying the institute of marriage? Not Larry Kind or Elizabeth Taylor with either of their nearly double-digit number of trips down the aisle? Not Brittany Spears with one of her marriages that lasted barely over 2 days (55 hours, to be exact)? How about Kelsey Grammar – who recently announced his upcoming fourth marriage while still officially married to his third wife?

The list of celebrities who can only count their anniversaries in months rather than years is amazing. The list of celebrities married 2, 3 and 5 times is even more so. And we won’t even go near the celebrities screwing around with anything and anyone they can find within arm’s reach!

And the reality is that what we see going in Hollywood marriages and relationships is nothing more than a microcosm of what we see in society as a whole.

So what exactly is it about same-sex marriage that bothers so many people?

I know – there are many people who are not comfortable with homosexuality in our society. I understand that – things to which we cannot relate are often threatening to us – they force us to see a reality which we cannot understand. So, for many, the natural reaction is to attack, belittle and delegitimize it. After all, once we convince ourselves of the invalidity of something, then we we’re off the proverbial hook for understanding it, let alone accepting it.

One of the popular arguments against homosexuality is that the Bible forbids it. Specifically, in the book of Leviticus it says that “A man may not lie with another man as he lies with a woman” (18:22) and that the penalty for doing so is death (20:13).

The sages of the Talmud taught that actually putting a person to death – for any crime listed in the Bible was almost impossible to do for all of the conditions necessary to actually bring about a death sentence, and it is even written that a Sanhedrin (Jewish High Court of ancient times) that puts one person to death in a 70-year period is a “blood-thirsty Sanhedrin”.

So, the Bible does in fact take a stand against homosexual relationships. It also takes a stand against violating the Sabbath, against adultery, against a plethora of other things that are so common-place in our society, yet I have yet to see a rally, demonstration, or a hate crime against people who watch television on the Sabbath. Have you?

Yet even people who are not religiously observant like to quote the Bible in “proving” that homosexuality is wrong, even un-natural – as though they, in their one instance of Biblical scholarship, are the advocates for what God wants and expects of us (Pot, meet kettle…)

Personally, I am a firm believer that what goes on behind a person’s closed bedroom door is very much my business – from the moment that they invite me to participate. Until then - not even a little bit.

Until then, it has absolutely nothing to do with me. A person’s private life is exactly that – their private life, and it’s not up to me in any way, shape or form to “agree” or “approve” of any of it.

As a religiously observant person who does believe in God, making sure I’m being OK in His eyes, and that I’m living my life in the best way possible is already a full-time job – and one with which I’m struggling. How can I take it upon myself to tell others what they should or shouldn‘t be doing?

That’s what we have celebrities for….

1 comment:

  1. As far as I'm concerned, people who eat shellfish have no business opposing gay marriage. And yes, I do think celebrity marriage should be outlawed.