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A Simple Challenge

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Over the past several days, I've sat down at least a dozen times at my home site to write a lengthy, rational, detailed defense of same-sex marriage, decrying the arguments being made against it by Conservatives one by one, each in its own turn. After all, I've done so many times in the past, and, given the reprehensible hyperbole we've heard lately from Senators Frist, Vitter, and Inhofe (to name but a few), I'd gladly do so again and again - with passion, conviction, and my own questionable degree of eloquence.

If, that is, I felt that I was actually reaching anyone other than the already-enlightened, or had even a snowball's proverbially slim chance of getting through to the "other side" in this ridiculous debate.

But I've abandoned these essay attempts (usually no later than paragraph three) with the weary realization that the "other side" will simply not be convinced, no matter the merits of my argument, in precisely the same way that none of "their" contentions will ever persuade me to whistle a different tune. My ideological opponents on this issue simply believe what they believe, and will stubbornly - and aggressively - cling to those beliefs 'til their dying days.

Even multiple appeals to a compassionate, predominantly Christian, set of values - those well-known tenets of acceptance, tolerance, love, and true faith that "God intelligently designed each creature in the world in its current form, and thus, each creature is precious, sanctified, even holy in its own right" - continue to fall on selectively deaf ears.

So instead, I hereby officially concede to the Conservative "base" (defined by Webster as [adj.]: lacking or indicating the lack of higher qualities of mind or spirit) the impenetrable nature of its certainty that same-sex marriage is an "attack" on our culture's most integral component. They're misguided, of course - but I suppose that even the Inquisition had its share of true believers that felt they were doing the "right thing" to build a better world.

At the same time, however, if Conservatives are to fully convince me of their sincerity and the courage of their convictions (including those handy slogans regarding "the sanctity of marriage" and "protecting the children" and "the bedrock of society") then I'd contend they're not going far enough with the "Federal Marriage Amendment," or the numerous State actions that have been made possible by six years of theocratic Republican rule. The incomplete definition of marriage as simply "the union of one man and one woman" stops short of indicating just how vitally important this ritualistic ceremony seems to be to the Conservative vision of world order - and it exposes them to criticism for the extraordinary amount of self-serving wiggle room these various amendments allow.

In that light, I offer this challenge to those "defenders" of marriage who've promised to continue the fight, if this is, in truth, an issue whose importance trumps health care, Iraq, immigration, the economy, disaster preparedness, etc., on the national agenda:
1) Criminalize divorce and infidelity. No, I'm not talking about prison time. But if marriage as an institution is so sacred, so essential, so much a foundation of our American principles, then breaking its rules and bonds must be, in essence, an assault on our very way of life. According to your most vocal Conservative role models, such an assault is known as "treason."

So I'm letting you off easy here. I'm simply suggesting a stiff fine - and maybe the loss, for a prescribed amount of time, of certain social privileges. You know, like voting. I mean, if you're going to do something so fundamentally anti-American as betraying the tenets of "the bedrock of our society," then a temporary loss of participation in society's democratic process only seems fair.
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You remember - that whole "what God hath joined together let no man put asunder" thing.

It occurs to me that the preponderance of divorce and serial marriage within the heterosexual community is a far greater threat to the survival of this "fundamental" ritual than the desire of a relative handful of gay couples to pledge their fidelity to each other. Don't forget that, as things stand right now, 100 percent of divorces in this nation are committed by straight couples.

Now tell me again: Who's the bigger threat?

2) Dissolve childless marriages after five years. Sounds Draconian, doesn't it? But no more so than that God of vengeance, who has by your account sent hurricanes and hijacked planes to punish America for its leniency toward society's hedonistic non-breeders.

I keep hearing over and over that "the family unit is the key component of our civilization," and that, given the basic biological facts, same-sex couples cannot contribute to the reproduction of the species or the "natural" creation of a traditional family. How then, I ask you, are childless marriages any less of a nonfulfillment (whether or not by choice) of this most primary function of the "blessed partnership" that is "the cornerstone of all things American"?
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I mean,the inability to become biological parents together is one of those "aberrations" you feel should preclude same-sex couples from tying the knot, right? So five years seems like enough time to register a straight couple's commitment to the stability of the human status quo by starting a brood of their own. After that long, it can only be assumed that said couple is using some form of birth control, and having sex purely for enjoyment - two things that are apparently equally abhorrent to the anti gay marriage community.

Besides, there is no greater threat to the happiness and security of a family of five than the sight of that childless couple up the street, jetting about in their 2-seater BMW Roadster or lounging by their backyard swimming pool, unencumbered by the burden of school-supply expenses, astronomical grocery bills, sports and dance and karate class and music lesson schedules, and the host of other daily responsibilities shouldered by "traditional" family heads across the nation...

And no, the dissolution of these fun-based, childless marriages by the State does not contradict that proposed legislation against divorce, though it may appear on the surface to result in a similar outcome. Whether willful or unlucky, the failure to produce and raise children is a violation of what you contend is the fundamental function of "one man - one woman" marriage, which, as I'm sure you'd readily agree, threatens America just as previously described.

There you have it, Conservative America - and I trust by now that my sarcasm is showing. If you're really serious about this whole "marriage is under attack" nonsense, then it's incumbent upon you to defend the institution from all dangers, including those already being perpetrated by couples with the "approved" set of interlocking puzzle pieces.

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www.bobportune.com

After 25 years as a Post-Production Specialist in the greater New York/New Jersey area, Bob recently relocated to Orlando to continue his editorial business and begin Art Directing high-end commemorative magazines. He's been extensively involved (more...)
 

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