In his weekly blog series The Last Generation—really more of a highly flirtatious conversation, littered with innuendo—Max Warren discusses matters of general interest to our generation, frequently quotes things, and spills out the addled contents of a deviant mind.
Every now and then I like to get down off my soapbox, stop declaring doom and gloom, and talk about something a little more concrete. You see, I’m trying this new thing lately where I attempt to understand people who hold a different position than I do, rather than just assuming they’re stupid (though, with the undeniable rightness of most of my opinions, it’s generally still where the inquiry ends).
I’d say the results, so far, have been mixed. I have been able, with this new open-mindedness, to more easily understand pro-lifers. I see where they’re coming from—I don’t agree, but I see it. What I can’t understand is all these people leading the civil assault against marriage equality.
Of course, as a whole, 2012 looks to be a promising year on the gay marriage front. Within the past several weeks, the U.S. 9th Court of Appeals has laid the smack-down on Prop. 8, Washington has legalized gay marriage and, now, Maryland seems like it will follow suit in a matter of days. There was the unfortunate setback when New Jersey Governor Chris “I Look Like A Mobster Caricature” Christie vetoed the bill sent to his desk—a bill which doesn’t seem like it’ll get enough support to override the veto.
Putting that aside, things certainly seem to be picking up steam. A number of news articles have recently come out declaring that gay marriage is “inevitable,” and, at least to me, this says a lot of people have chosen, all at once, to collectively stop being apathetic d-bags. I couldn’t be happier.
Personally, I’m inclined to agree. Statistics show that, among those aged 18-34, 70% of us support gay marriage. It’s mostly the Old Guard throwing up the roadblocks and, as with all generations, eventually they’re going to pass into dust and leave the world to a generation much more accepting. It seems pretty clear which way the wind will be blowing 20 years out.
Let me clarify something. I don’t believe that it’s going to be done on a state-by-state basis. I think I can say pretty surely that the Alabama legislature is never going to support something like that. But, as opposition to marriage equality comes to be seen more widely for what it is—the oppression of a minority that is little different from the days when blacks couldn’t marry whites—the Big Bench will get the message. A case of this sort will hit the Supremes eventually, and, if public sentiment is strongly in favor, I have no doubt how they’ll decide it. Justices generally don’t like being on the wrong side of history (just ask Felix Frankfurter). So I’ll say it again, gay marriage is inevitable—and rightly so.
But just because it’s inevitable doesn’t make the wait any less unfair to the people who, you know, want to marry the person they love. And I’m trying to wrap my head around the positions of the people who would shit on that fine idea.
I mean, I technically know what they’re saying. Some combination of “the Bible says it’s wrong,” “it’ll ruin the sanctity of marriage,” and “what’ll we tell the children?!?” But let’s look at these arguments and see how they stand up.
The Bible is a good book. I know a lot of people who live their life by it and are wonderful human beings. But—and this part’s important—if you’re going to stand against gay marriage because the Bible says its an abomination, then I am going to slap you in the face if I see you eating shellfish, wearing gold, or touching a goddamn football. What’s that? You like shrimp cocktail and bling? Too damn bad—because if you’re going to start picking-and-choosing then this whole argument falls to pieces. As long as advocates of these traditional marriages are wearing gold wedding rings, I’m not giving them credit for this argument.
As far as violating the “sanctity of marriage,” well, that argument bothers me even more. First of all, we live in a country where Church and State are, at least theoretically, separate. Marriage has no sanctity—it’s orchestrated by the government. Maybe the marriage ceremony in your church of choice has sanctity, but no one is saying your church will have to marry gay people. And if you think anything that the government runs has sanctity than you’re a lost cause and please never read me again. Also, I’d just like to point out, that the only way the legalization of gay marriage can affect your own personal heterosexual marriage is if either you or your spouse are, in fact, gay. In which case, don’t be like one of these hypocrites about it.
And, finally, the children. The argument, of course, is that gay marriage would have to be explained to the children and, apparently, that’s too tall an order for modern day parents. First of all, your kid has access to more information than you can fathom (yeah, you use parental controls—my 7 year old cousin has the technical know-how to get around those). Your kid probably knows the double-meaning of Rick Santorum’s name and you probably don’t. But if, in some ridiculous way, fathoming gay marriage is just out of your child’s wheelhouse and you really do have to explain it, then I would simply say: step up and do your job. You brought another human being into the world and now it’s your responsibility to teach them about how it works—don’t block other people’s rights because you’re lazy, inarticulate, or both.
That sure was interesting. But, the truth is, I really don’t buy that those are their actual reasons. I think the real reason so many people raise a hue and cry about the evils of gay marriage may simply be that the thought of two men or two women together makes them, on some level, uncomfortable. Maybe Santorum popped a really confusing erection in the locker room once; maybe Chris Christie learned to “wrestle” with the neighbor boy in his youth and things got weird. I don’t know and I don’t care.
What I do know is this: to deny someone the fundamental right to legally join their life with the person they love—in the same way that you can—just because you’re uncomfortable with them is the most self-centered and arrogant idea I can imagine. And if recent events are any indication, we as a society are finally deciding we’re done with the bullshit.
Max Warren has done a little work for the ACLU (if you can’t tell). He also really enjoys reading comments and would be happy to reply to them. Criticisms of his journalistic style, declarations that he’s going straight to Hell, and polite requests for signed photos can be sent to Max.Z.Warren@gmail.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @MaxWarren3, which is recommended if you like booze-soaked late-night ramblings of 140 characters or less.