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Gay Marriage. Thumbs-up? Thumbs-down?

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The gay marriage question is really quite simple.  Despite the heated rhetoric of various anti-gay factions, despite the blatant lies and distortions of some on the far religious right and their willingness to use fear as a weapon of propaganda - fundamentally, gay marriage is a simple matter of civil rights.  Yes, I said “civil rights”.  What else do you call a social institution like “marriage” that has no legal effect until and if the parties of the contract fulfill the requirements set forth by their civil government?  It very well may also be a religious ceremony (though keep in mind that is not at all a requirement) but at its core, as long as a civil, secular government sets up rules, regulations and passes out specific responsibilities and benefits, then it is most fundamentally a civil matter. Marriage constitutes a special form of contract when viewed from a secular government point of reference.  It goes without argument that marriage, in most developed countries, is an institution regulated by government.  As long as government has its nose in the matter, it is by definition a “civil” contract. 

 

So how did we get to this place of haranguing and gnashing of teeth (mostly by the religious right) about gay-marriage?  How have we come to a point where the civil rights of a minority group of citizens gets to be voted “up or down” by the people?  I remembered learning in High School that it was the protection of minorities that prompted the founding fathers to insert the Bill of Rights into the US Constitution.  What happened to that quaint notion?   Isn’t this voting on personal rights by the “will of the people” pretty darn close to the way the life or death of a Roman gladiator was determined at the end of a sporting event by a show of thumbs “up or down”?  Is that all that the gay-marriage debate is for our citizens? A matter of thumb directionality? Is gay-marriage symbolically the contemporary gladiator whose fate is determined by the whims of an adrenaline pumped crowd? A sporting event where winners and losers are selected by the vacillating emotions and often uninformed mentality of a mob after it’s whipped into a fearful frenzied state by blabbering frothing-at-the mouth high priest of one sort or another?  

 

Well of course, in reality, those who want to cut off the heads of gay couples seeking to get married have simply refused to acknowledge that gay marriage is a civil - rather than a religious - matter. They willfully hide their intent and motivation behind the “Traditional Marriage and Family” banner without considering a comprehensive understanding of what that tradition really is.  They refuse to see and admit that gay marriage is every bit as much an individual civil rights issue as is the decision to follow this or that religion (or none at all) is a personal civil rights matter.  For these reality deniers, it’s somewhat like walking out into sunshine and then insisting it is dark.  As long as they can deny and convince others that gays have no such civil rights (none at all) but that instead gays are plotting to destroy the family and take over the world,  they then can harass fearful heterosexuals and bully legislators into introducing mean-spirited rights-stripping constitutional amendments to define marriage in it’s “traditional” way.  Never mind that most if not all of the biblical fathers of modern day Christianity had multiple wives and never mind that traditional marriage treated women as property and that marriages were arranged for political, power and property reasons. Never mind all that – just keep up the drumbeat about “traditional marriage” and count on the fact that there are enough lazy nearly brain dead voters out there and that they will see to it that gays are kept second class citizens.  The anti-gay groups continue to count on there being enough voters of this sort, voters who will not investigate or even think too deeply about all this and just react in accordance with their instilled and frequently fanned fear.  We only need look to the many states that have already fortified their constitutions with gay rights-stripping amendments and to the recent reversal of the California Supreme Court decision allowing gay marriage to understand how very easy (though expensive) it is to do so.

 

How has the simple matter of gay people wanting to marry and enjoy the same benefits and protections offered by federal and state statutes become such a threat?  Is that threat real or mostly the product of feverish fundamentalist brains?

 

Arguably, gays constitute ten percent of the population.  It’s unlikely they all will want to marry so we are really talking about a very small number of people when contrasted with the numbers of opposite-sex married couples.  Gays getting married when they fall in love and wish to commit to one another for life is no threat to marriage and no downfall to family.  Rather gay marriage would enhance and strengthen the institution of marriage which, in its history, has grown and adapted to reflect current culture.  Have you noticed the old phrase “to love, honor and obey” has been modified in current ceremonies?  Guess which word has been dropped and then tell me that traditional marriage never changes.

 

So even traditional marriage has “evolved” and will continue to do so.  And someday, sooner than later I hope, gay marriage will no longer be an issue and people will be free to legally marriage the person they chose and the person with whom they have fallen in love.  It won’t be gay-marriage or straight-marriage anymore.  It will just be plane old wonderful marriage. Period.

 

But before that day arrives, we simply must get beyond the idea that civil rights in this democracy are an agenda item for a popular vote, be it in California or not.  When it comes to determining the civil rights of our citizens, such issues should be far above the crowds of the old Roman Coliseum.  They should be far beyond a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down showing by a restless, changing crowd of thoughtless and easily led voters.  Were this not the case, then civil rights for other minorities in the United States would have been delayed for years and then, in some situations and in some states, might never have been granted.

 

Following 35 or so years of clinical, teaching and administrative practice as a psychologist, I am now semi-retired, or at least - trying to be. In addition to some years in private practice, I also taught undergraduate psychology courses full-time (more...)
 

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 MARRIAGE THUMBS- DOWN. CIVIL UNIONS THUMBS U... by MARGARET BASET on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 5:04:38 AM
   When a couple wants to marry, either ... by uluro on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 7:17:26 AM
Margaret Baset is a prime example of the mentality... by M. Hayden Sutherland on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 2:29:44 PM
HAVE A NICE DAY.... by MARGARET BASET on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 6:01:06 PM
Your post was logical Margaret, something lacking ... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Monday, Mar 9, 2009 at 10:43:58 PM
Where was there any logic?  Separate but equa... by Mike Chambers on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 12:45:14 PM
that is not what we are talking about now is it? I... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 9:40:07 PM
Separate but equal is EXACTLY what was bring discu... by Mike Chambers on Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 11:24:42 AM
Just because you want to conflate a point in histo... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Friday, Mar 13, 2009 at 1:53:13 PM
Family Research Council ... by MARGARET BASET on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 4:24:50 AM
It is sheer nonsense to propose a separate but equ... by Mike Chambers on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 12:07:01 PM
VIRGINIA Current law: DOMA adopted as state law Le... by MARGARET BASET on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 12:42:26 PM
Virginia fought to keep anti-miscegenation laws.&n... by Mike Chambers on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 12:47:43 PM
In accordance with Article 4 of the U.S. Constitut... by Walter Barton on Thursday, Mar 12, 2009 at 2:29:26 PM
DOMA is the law of the land, yet you are claiming ... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 2:11:53 PM
I think the whole point of these discussions is to... by Walter Barton on Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 5:30:05 PM
It is not supported by the current law and will no... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 11:50:45 PM
We are talking about human beings here.  Ever... by Mikhail Lyubansky on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 9:18:39 PM
We are talking about human beings here.  Ever... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 9:52:33 PM
Well, I think this piece of writing finally reveal... by David Muskera on Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 8:15:03 AM
Well, I think this piece of writing finally reveal... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 10:13:30 AM
The institution of marriage has a long history wit... by Walter Barton on Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 6:37:55 PM
Cute, but it is YOUR side that is complaining abou... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 11:58:11 PM
I do not ask for anyone to validate me, I ask that... by Walter Barton on Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 12:32:29 PM
Maybe we are viewing the word validate differently... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 4:21:26 PM
So, I understand now that you believe I should hav... by Walter Barton on Monday, Mar 16, 2009 at 11:28:32 AM
If you look at what has happened in Mass, the unde... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Tuesday, Mar 17, 2009 at 9:11:36 PM
It appears there is a disconnect here. To assert t... by Walter Barton on Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 9:08:36 AM
First of all, I am referring to the fact that the ... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Wednesday, Mar 18, 2009 at 9:45:47 PM
Thank you for your support for equal rights. Maybe... by Walter Barton on Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 5:42:01 PM
I really hope so too sir.... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Thursday, Mar 19, 2009 at 10:11:44 PM
http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=bc04c02AND PLEASE REA... by MARGARET BASET on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 4:47:20 AM
Most  everything coming our of the "fami... by Mike Chambers on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 12:09:28 PM
 SHOW ME YOURS,In a CBS News poll conducted i... by MARGARET BASET on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 1:42:42 PM
More than 30 states at one time had laws against m... by Mike Chambers on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 2:05:36 PM
  Burlington, Vermont - March 9, 2009Vermont&... by David Muskera on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 9:36:44 AM
There is no Constitutional basis to deny one segme... by Rady Ananda on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 10:37:06 PM
Another perfect example of how anti-gay fundamenta... by M. Hayden Sutherland on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 11:38:53 AM
In my experience, debating the gay marriage questi... by David Muskera on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 4:00:42 PM
It is a shame you know. Here is the problem within... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 10:30:23 PM
We progressives have No Tolerance for Intoler... by Rady Ananda on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 10:42:22 PM
A bigot is one who is intolerant to those opinions... by Walter Barton on Saturday, Mar 14, 2009 at 8:12:02 PM
I commend you for pointing out how easily the word... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Sunday, Mar 15, 2009 at 12:03:43 AM
Then by definition you have become intolerant. You... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Tuesday, Mar 10, 2009 at 11:05:08 PM
This is getting silly.  A nana-nana-nana chil... by David Muskera on Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 8:28:58 AM
This is getting silly.  A nana-nana-nana chil... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 9:42:46 AM
I think this is the funniest thing I have rea... by David Muskera on Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 10:00:51 AM
"Ms. Basset says, “why not civil unions... by Mike Chambers on Wednesday, Mar 11, 2009 at 11:31:32 AM