Field of Science

Why the Marriage Amendment is Asinine

The citizens of Minnesota will be voting on Nov. 6th on whether to amend the state constitution on the issue of gay marriage. I've been holding off on commenting in depth on this issue because I've been busy with other things and because the time until the issue came to a head was big enough that I could put it off. I am well aware of the numerous reasons bigots those who support the amendment make and I think it is time to deal with the reasons. Face it, at this point and time the reasons are not going to change. This is the best they've got.

Now to be clear the amendment reads as follows:

"Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to provide that only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Minnesota?"1
Before we get to the reasons against homosexuals getting married, we should first define marriage. I am not talking about the bumper sticker 'one man, one woman' bullshit, but what we actually think marriage is. This is where I think most of the problems come in.

Marriage is both a religious institution and a legal institution. Unfortunately for many (not all) Christians religious reasons and legal reasons are not the same, in Iran they are, but here not so much. I care little about the religious aspects of marriage because those are not what we are talking about. Let me say that again, the religious definitions or aspects of marriage are not at issue here. What we are talking about are the legal issues, the secular definition and meaning of marriage. If you want to make this about religious marriage then you are either in favor of a theocracy (of your religion's specific flavor) or you received a poor high school education and do not realize that words, like marriage, can have a variety of meanings (in other words language is fluid). I wrote about this religious vs secular issue last year and will not rehash it here. I'll assume you know what I'm talking about and carry on.

OK, so what are the rationales to prevent gay men and women from marrying?
1. Marriage is historically one man one woman.
OK, but history is often (always) not the best. What is the number one reason to study history? It's so we don't repeat it (Just ask George Santayana). But this is a fact based statement. Marriage is historically one man one woman. Is it? Maybe, but based on my reading of history men of means usually supported the multiple-wives version of marriage. I mean look at David or Solomon in the bible. Hell, Muhammed notes that Islamic martyrs will have 70 virgin wives in heaven (Im guessing Muhammed never had sex with a virgin).

Or let's look at how women were (are) treated historically. The dowery was a payment of the brides family to the man who married said woman. The dowery was basically a payment to take this woman off the parents' hands, a way to improve the status of the bride's family. The woman was a piece of property in all sense of the word. In the progressive USA, women could not vote until 1920, which is about the time the entire world was realizing women were not akin to donkeys. So historically, until the early-mid 20th century, marriage was simply passing a woman from the parents to the groom with a few bucks to grease the wheels.

So if we accept that historically marriage was one man, one woman, it was a shit institution from the aspect of women's rights. It was also only one man, one woman from the poor man's perspective.

2. Children need a father and a mother.
This fails at several levels. First, post-menopausal women can get married as can eunuchs and men that have had vasectomies. So child rearing is not, I repeat not, required for marriage. Second, do children require a father and a mother living in the same house sharing the same bed? If so, I know a fair number of marriages that must be dissolved. If it's true that children do better in two parent households, I assume the pro-marriage amendment supporters are in favor of forced adoption of children of single mothers and fathers. Once a divorce is in place, the children are available to any and all one man, one woman households. No? Didn't think so. Do children do best if there is a vagina and a penis as parents or do two vaginas or two penises suffice? Are Mitt Romney's kids worse off because there was basically two vaginas raising them while the penis was off working hard? There is actual data on families and child outcomes. Unfortunately these studies are difficult so it's fairly easy to find data that supports your position2. Overall the data clearly says that stable households are best for children. Even divorced families can raise children successfully as long as the parents work together for the good of the children. Homosexual parents act similarly. (As an aside, remember when Hillary Clinton said 'it takes a village to raise a child'? Remember the blow back from the right wing regarding those words? I wonder how many of people who despised Clinton for stating this fact are now trying to make sure children of gay parents are dispossessed.)

Let's be clear about the repercussions of this amendment. If a 7 year old child of two gay women has one of their moms die (let's say of breast cancer), then the bigoted grandmother of the dead mom could potentially take the child and prevent it from ever seeing the living parent again. Anyone think this could affect the child's development? If there were adoption papers, this probably wouldn't be an issue, but remember this is not even an issue in a heterosexual marriage. What if the bigoted grandmother said the 'spouse' could not visit her wife in the hospital while she lay dying of said breast cancer? I guess it's better to suffer alone than with the one you love. 

3. The marriage amendment is about freedom of religion
Except it's not. You don't want homosexuals being married in your church, don't marry them in your church. That's your right as a religious institution. But your freedom of religion does not give you the right to impede the secular state rights of others. Maybe it's against your religion to allow women to divorce. You know what, if a woman divorces you have the right to kick her out of your church, you do not have the right to force her to stay married to the abusive prick who paid 6 donkeys to her dad. (Trust me, the threat of being thrown out of the church is sufficient for many people to do what they're told.)

It's just like me being able to say 'Fuck Jesus.' You may not like it, you may want to outlaw it, but that's my freedom of speech. It does not impede your ability to believe the Jesus hung around with a bunch of guys and told them to abandon their wives but was not gay. Now if there was a movement to force churches to conduct gay marriages if said churches did not want to, I will write a blog post about the fuckheads who do not understand that churches do not have to conduct marriages of homosexuals. Except that isn't happening, we're talking about marriage from a legal standpoint and the rights conferred upon the spouse concomitant with marriage. I didn't get married in a church or by the clergy, but Newt Gingrich did, all 3 times. Who's marriage is more real or legal?

4. Homosexual marriage is unnatural.
From here
As stated by someone who knows jackshit about biology. What is natural? Because there are numerous examples of homosexuality in the animal kingdom (and don't even get me started on fungi or plants). Did you know that bacteria exchange DNA between members of different species and even phyla? It's even worse than a person getting it on with an oak tree, but it's totally natural. Almost all animals (our closest relatives) do not exist in monogamous relationships. (Factual aside: almost no humans exist in monogamous relationships.)

5. Slippery slope
I dealt with this previously, but suffice it to say that there is the issue of consent. Children, non-human animals, and plants can not consent. Therefore they can't marry an adult. Therefore, this is a non-issue. A red herring if you will.
6. The bible says....
First, it doesn't matter. Not everyone in this country believes like you do. I'm sorry that bothers you, but I can live with you believing bullshit, and until you destroy the constitution and replace it with your version of a holy book you have to live with the fact that not everyone agrees with you (and even if they did, you have to leave room for a hypothetical person to disagree with you).

Second, what does the bible say? Tell me book, chapter, and verse what the bible says? Really, I hear this biblical justification often, but I have a bible and studied it for quite some time, I don't see a biblical definition of marriage. Here, maybe Betty Bowers can give you some help.

Third, I, and none of the other 300+ million citizens of the United States of America have to follow your religion. It's right there in the first amendment, you might have missed it on your way to the second. So, until you establish a 12th century theocracy, you'll have to accept the fact that other people can believe differently than you.  
7. It will destroy the institution of marriage 
How? I've seen this argument, but never a defense of it. Did two guys in Des Moines ruin Newt's second marriage or was that the younger hottie Callista, nah must have been gay guys. Will the divorce rate increase significantly in this country over the ~46% it currently stands at. (Divorce really increased in the 70s when women actually became able to take of themselves. It has been going down since 1980 probably because all people are more empowered to make their own decisions without religious white guys telling everyone what to do.)

Finale (that's French for the last section):

So, I'm happy to entertain other reasons to vote YES on an amendment to make something that is already not legal, still not legal. Please leave those rationales in the comments, but until I see one, I'll assume those voting YES are either small minded bigots or people who find guys doing it (but not women based on most issues of Penthouse) icky.
Totally gross
Totally awesome3
1wording from here
2Bullshit study
3For some reason our society is really hung up on the left picture, but can't seem to get enough of the right picture.

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