141. gambit

Standard

I really shouldn’t give these people any more attention than they’re already getting, but I have an overwhelming urge to smack that smug little beatific smile off of Kalley Yanta’s face (the friendly face of fascism—every regime has one), and this question has been coming up a lot lately: “Is it true that Minnesota’s marriage law has no rational basis and only exists because of moral animosity toward gays and lesbians?”

The answer is yes.

Thus far, no sufficiently convincing argument has been brought forward by conservatives to prove that homosexuality is unnatural or harmful to society. The studies that they cite are decades old, and carried out by biased individuals who often have a religious agenda to support. Just recently, Robert Spitzer, one of the original proponents of clinical study into reparative therapy, recanted his 2001 paper that lent so much credibility afforded to the ex-gay movement. He has apologized for the harm his work has done to the GLBT community, though it will be interesting to see what move he makes next.

In the video, Yanta claims that Federal Judge Vaughn Walker’s verdict in the Proposition 8 trial was unprecedented, and that “no other federal judge has ever reached such a radical conclusion” (and unsurprisingly casts doubt on his verdict since he’s a gay man himself and obviously can’t reach a fair decision). Which is probably what they were saying about the 1967 Supreme Court ruling on Loving versus Virginia, which effectively overturned the nation’s anti-miscegenation laws and finally opened the door for inter-racial marriage, a concept which was as irrational to legislate against as same-sex marriage is today. To prohibit two human beings from being together based on something as arbitrary as the color of their skin or their sex when doing so doesn’t harm anyone isn’t rational.

Research is rather showing that homosexuality is likely congenital, like left-handedness. While probably not genetic—it’s dubious that scientists will ever find that elusive “gay gene”—those of us who are gay likely acquire our orientation the same way that heterosexuals inherit theirs. But that’s not where conservatives start. In order to continue their campaign of hatred and bigotry they have to begin with the premise that homosexuality is a choice, ignoring all evidence to the contrary. The Mormon Church issued a statement recently that it will continue to use the findings in Robert Spitzer’s 2001 study, though Spitzer himself has recanted it. Though there’s doubtless confirmation bias happening on each side, it falls to the anti-gay crowd to produce any credible, rational evidence that homosexuality is errant, detrimental or morally wrong.

Faith is by very definition irrational. Merriam-Webster defines faith as:

2 (1) : belief and trust in and loyalty to God (2) : belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion (1) : firm belief in something for which there is no proof (2): complete trust
3 : something that is believed especially with strong conviction; especially : a system of religious beliefs.

 

The Bible itself defines faith as “the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith does not demand proof and rather demands absolute acceptance on little to no evidence. The current traditional reading of the Bible claims that homosexuality is an abomination to God, even though there are hundreds of other practices that are also banned (e.g., tattoos, eating shellfish, blending cloth, haircuts, etc), and despite the fact that there is no scientific evidence that homosexuality is detrimental.

So we’re currently at an impasse between Christians who insist that homosexuality is an abomination based on what their Bible says and the scientific community that has found nothing wrong with it. Yanta claims that banning same-sex marriage “is not only rational, but is in the common good.” I’ll let “rational” slip by for now, but by “common good” she evidently means the “Christian good.” No one else benefits from these discriminatory laws except for religious conservatives who are seeking to protect the status quo and enshrine their irrational, dogmatic beliefs.

It ignores the fact that, according to the Bible itself, the definition of marriage has included…

According to the Christian Bible, monogamous, heterosexual marriage was rare in the patriarchal ancient Middle East, and it’s surprisingly silent about such modes as polygamy. You’d think that if God had intended for “One Man One Woman” that he would’ve been a little more more explicit about that, so we have to assume that since men like Abraham, Isaac, David and Solomon all had multiple wives, and that since it was acceptable for women to be forced to marry their rapists that there’s more than one way to be married.

Wait—but that was a different time! That was an acceptable cultural practice back then, but we have different standards now!

Bullshit. Either the Bible is true for all peoples in all times, or it’s just another book that we can either disregard like all the others or glean what wisdom we can from it and chuck the rest. One can’t keep moving the goalposts and expect to maintain credibility.

But as to the claim that there is no animosity towards gays and lesbians in the fight to define marriage as being between one man and one woman, it’s preposterous. Lurking beneath those polished, fresh-faced veneers are fearful, intolerant bigots who think that gay people are icky. They attempt to justify their prejudice by validating it a matter of faith (which requires no proof or evidence), which is a direct violation of the Separation of Church and State. While they decry government interference in their religious practice, they think nothing of forcing their beliefs on everyone else and enshrining them into law, then cry discrimination and persecution when the secular community objects. As a friend of mine wrote me in an email the other day, “I believe in moral absolutes so I want Christians to be in control.” There it is.

The GLBT community may not have an absolute right to same-sex marriage, but neither are there grounds to ban it either in context of a civil government.

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One thought on “141. gambit

  1. Excellent points! Yes, if God intended for marriage to be defined as the union between a man and a woman, it does look like he would have made that point a bit clearer, instead of holding up the Patriarchs as people we should admire and model our lives after. In fact, in the NT, Timothy insists on a guy being the ‘husband of one wife’ only if he aspires to be a deacon – doesn’t say anything is wrong with polygamy for other believers.

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