Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Bring on the Hate Mail

There has been something on my mind for the last few months and it has to do with my cousin, (who… incidentally… lives in California) and her marriage to a lovely young lady, a marriage for which I am very happy for them both. Yes, gentle reader; I did say HER marriage to a young LADY, and that I am HAPPY.
Now most of you who have read my blog before know that I am LDS (a Mormon) and …somewhat… of a conservative Christian. But, my cousin’s marriage hasn’t bothered me at all… going against all stereotypes of what the Christian right is supposed to think about the topic of gay marriage. Guess you can’t trust stereotypes of any kind… hu.
This bothered me for some reason, it shouldn’t have, but it did. And I thought that… well, maybe I wasn’t living my religion. Or maybe… I needed to go confess something to my bishop, I’m not sure what, but something. I mean, as a (somewhat) conservative Christian, I should be condemning the marriage… right?
Well, I found out why I’m not bugged about her marriage, and why I shouldn’t be bugged… and of all places, I found it in a graphic novel called “V for Vendetta.”
(Are we no commanded to seek out truth in all things? Got ya!)
There’s a scene, toward the front of the book, that has V standing on a roof, just under a statue of Lady Justice, and he’s talking with her. He’s telling her how much he loves her, but then accuses her of infidelity to him. How she’s given her love to another (the new fascist government) and that because of her infidelity, she has turned her back on justice. The last thing he tells her, before blowing her up, is that there can only be true justice where there is also freedom. If you’ve never read the comic, do, because it’s brilliant.
Now what does that have to do with the topic of gay marriage? Well, I don’t really know, except that it got my brain going in the right direction. And here’s what I realized.
Long ago, marriage was a purely religious affair. The church (who ever the church was) was able to say who were able to get married, and who could break the bonds of same. At some point, marriage was taken over by the civil authority. It was no longer purely controlled by the church, but by the state. Marriage was no longer just a holy bond but a legal contract. At the moment that happened it should have become available to all consenting adults, regardless of orientation. It states, very clearly, in out founding documents that all people are created equal and that we are all equally able to partake in all the rights afforded to us as citizens of the state (and when I say state, I mean all government to which we are subject). When the state took over the institution of marriage, it was then no longer a purely religious ceremony afforded to only certain people in certain circumstances, but it became a civil right that should have been extended to all.
The Christian right argues that allowing gay’s to marry will weaken the marriage bonds between men and women, will weaken the family… so on and so forth. I say that they are ridicules and wrong… dead wrong. The fact that gay people can now legally marry in California, in no way changes the way I feel about my wife. We are not any less married than we were before. In fact I believe that the opposite is true.
I believe, that when we deny basic human rights to people we deem undeserving, ineligible or weird, we weaken that right, thus weakening the right of marriage. When we deny a right to some, we deny it to all. If we deny the right of marriage to the gay community, we weaken the institution and should just get rid of the right and say that there should be no more marriage. This country was founded on the concept of equality (some would argue that fact with me… but that’s an argument for another time.)
I say that we should celebrate our differences and praise California for the courage that they had to extend the right of marriage to all consenting adults and in doing so strengthened the right and bonds of marriage.


I am Laura said...

Don't worry -- no hate mail here. Just a friendly stranger saying, "I agree."

twclay said...

I am of the opinion (learned that line from Benjamin Franklin's autobiography) that the government - any government - has absolutely no business in marriage. Anything between consenting adults (2 or more, any sex combination) and their church is between them.

The government does, however, have an interest in legal constructs, inheritence, and "next of kin" types of things.

I believe that by the end of this century, there will be no more "marriage" licenses. Churches will be able to marry whomever they wish, and the government will only recognize "civil unions" that are, from a legal perspective, similar to the legal marriages today. These civil unions will be contracts between spouses (2 or more people - which can get quite complicated and convoluted) specifying the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of each involved party.

Murph said...

Laura - Thanks for your kind comments.
twclay - What ever my friend, I don't much care what happens with the legal matters as long as it is available to all.

John'swife said...

My brother. I gotta say, I was surprised by this post. Though I shouldn't be. Just about the time I think I have you pinned down you go and shake it up again. I agree with you completely. I have long held the belief that while my church doesn't have to honor these unions, my government must. The "ideals" of this country require it. They don't threaten or diminish my family or anyones family. It is about basic civil rights. You worded my thoughts better than I can. But anyway I agree. And...I knew you would like V. It is one of my favorite graphic novels.

Witness said...

As always, I love your blog and the thought provoking subject matter. Exercising your "I'll probably get spammed for saying this" footnote, I'll add my thoughts.
I wonder if homosexual marriage isn't so much of a civil right issue as it is a moral one. You have posed a question as to whether or not those that espouse a certain doctrine have a constitutional right to raise their voice as a people on such an issue, an issue that some feel is critical to the importance of the human family. I would have to agree with the gentleman that stated, "We believe that defending this sacred institution by working to preserve traditional marriage lies clearly within our religious and constitutional prerogatives. Indeed, we are compelled by our doctrine to speak out." --G.B. Hinckley
Just another opinion to ponder.

Murph said...

Truly, my friend, your’s was the comment I feared most, for I knew that you would give me much to think about. After much thought I have come to the conclusion that my argument is not a moral issue, but a purely constitutional one.
I am neither wise, nor holy and so cannot argue the statements of our church leaders, so I have to go with what my heart and gut tells me, and what my gut says is that discrimination by the state, in any form, is wrong.
There was a time in our country’s history when a certain group of the population were not allowed to marry, were not given the God given right of liberty, and who were counted …by the constitution… as being only 3/5 of a person. They married anyway, in a custom known as “Jumping the Broom.” Our country went to war over their rights. Fortunately, the correct side of the argument won.
I use this only as an illustration in order to ask a simple question. If the state can single out a certain population, and can deem that population as being unworthy of the rights enjoyed by another segments of the population, in this case, the right to marry who they wish… then what right, or people is going to be next on the chopping block?
What would your response be if the state one-day said that the right to freedom of religion no longer applied to mormons? Impossible you say? Is it? Need I remind you about a man named Boggs?
Liberty should not be labeled White Only, or Straight Only, or Christian Only. Liberty should be free to all as the inalienable right that it is. And if by saying that, I am contributing to the downfall of society… well… then so be it.
I mean, I do have reservations in Hell after all. It’s lovely, with a view of the lake.

Witness said...

If anything, fear should be the last of things that you should feel when contemplating the exchanging of ideas, be they conflicting at times. I appreciate the dialogue. Unfortunately, in such dialogues, it is common for man, once faced with the choice of listening or defending, to begin gathering feverishly all the proof he/she needs to shore up his position. I hope that my response is not perceived as such, but food for thought while pondering this highly important matter.

George Orwell once penned, "there are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them." I chuckle at this, but wonder if it is the same principle behind the counsel given by a wise religious and GOVERNMENT leader to his people, "O that cunning plan of the evil one! O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men! When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God, for they set it aside, supposing they know of themselves, wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not. And they shall perish. But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the ccounsels of God."
You mentioned earlier that you fully support the religious view that homosexuality is morally wrong. If that is the case, then you believe there are negative consequences for the practice thereof. It is my opinion that the constitution indeed demands liberty. However, Government should prohibit conduct only to produce beneficial consequences sufficient to overcome the resulting loss of liberty. For example, is it unconstitutional that the "Governator" will never be able to run for president because he is from another country? Apparently not, because the founders felt that limiting a person's liberty in this situation was less consequential than a potential damage that could be caused upon the whole.
We would be wise to determine the potential negative effect on a society that would happen by the disintegration of the human family as we know it, and as God intended it.

Murph said...

Truly, my friend, I appreciated and value your advice and council. But on this subject, sadly, we will have to remain in disagreement. And if I am wrong… so be it. I’ve never been afraid of accepting the consequences of my views.

Come and visit me at my condo in Hell. We’ll go get some ribs.

Witness said...

I will likely be your neighbor there, but for other reasons.

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