I do not support same-sex marriage. This may come as quite a shock to CSUN students, many of who are likely unaware that a real live traditionalist walks among them. I am concerned that the bulk of the arguments you have heard in opposition to same-sex marriage are made in the context of religious conviction. I understand why irreligious people may be unconvinced by theological reasoning. Here, then, are seven non-religious, apolitical thoughts about same-sex marriage. I raise these points not to win an argument or achieve agreement, only to clarify where we differ.
1. Let’s agree to be semantically correct. It is same-sex marriage, not “gay marriage.” Gays can marry – they just can’t marry each other. This debate revolves not around who can be married, but who can be married to whom.
2. It is a disservice to black Americans to compare the Gay Rights movement to the Civil Rights movement. Many prominent leaders in the black community have expressed dismay at comparisons between their struggles of the 1950s and 60s and gay rights issues today. There have never been separate drinking fountains for homosexuals. There have never been segregated bathrooms or restaurants for homosexuals. Homosexuals have never been denied the right to vote on account of their orientation. Homosexuals have always enjoyed the freedom to be with whom they choose. And homosexuals receive equal treatment under the law in the form of domestic partnerships and civil unions.
3. This issue all comes down to one word, doesn’t it? One would think that if this were truly only about the desire to be treated equally under the law, the gay community would be willing to compromise over the word “marriage.” It seems like a fine compromise: the gay community gets the legal status they desire, and social conservatives/religious people preserve the title they cherish. But it’s clearly not about that. The gay community wants to change the definition of the word “marriage” because it would signal that society at large approves of their lifestyle choices.
4. I have heard supporters of same-sex marriage call those opposed to it “radicals” who are trying to “impose their values” on others. Let’s say for the sake of argument that history proves you, the same-sex marriage proponent, absolutely correct about same-sex marriage (and history proves me to be wrong). Nevertheless, I ask you, who is more “radical”: the person who wishes to preserve the definition of marriage as it has always been, or the person who wishes to change that definition for the first time in all of human history? Really, who is “imposing their values” on whom?
5. We Americans too often confuse compassion with standards. Compassion and equity are wonderful in our personal lives, but a successful society requires standards.
6. Supporters of same-sex marriage have framed the same-sex marriage debate around the idea that if two people love each other, they ought to be able to marry. In other words, love should be the only qualification for marriage. If you frame the marriage debate in this way, it will become an unfair form of discrimination for you to tell anyone else that they cannot marry the person, persons, animals, or other objects of their choosing.
After all, who are you to question the sincerity of someone’s love for someone(s) or something else? Why couldn’t any three individuals marry? Why couldn’t a man marry a little boy? How about a woman and a little girl? A man and his dog? If you think I’m being extreme or engaging in “slippery-slope” politics, I want you to Google the following: Lee Jin-gyu; Selva Kumar; and/or NAMBLA.
7. I hope it is abundantly clear that I don’t hate gay people. I am not bigoted and I do not dislike homosexuals. I may not approve of the homosexual lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean that I am incapable of treating gays with the utmost respect and human decency. My thoughts reflect an affirmation of traditional marriage, not an attack on homosexuals. If you, the supporter of same-sex marriage, denigrate those you disagree with as “bigots” and “filled with hate,” you will not get anywhere and you will be doing a disservice to your fellow human. There are decent human beings on both sides of this debate. Let’s not lose sight of that.