Sunday, June 7, 2009

If conservatives weren't hypocrites, we couldn't recognize 'em

The same-sex marriage debate rages on in my corner of California. It's a very right-wing community, so letters to the local newspaper generate a lot of responses from the "regulars" - locals who comment frequently on most articles & letters to the editor.

I always take the position that supports marriage equality, so I always end up being a defender of gay marriage, a hot topic here on the left coast. What I try to communicate to the other commenters, though, is that my defense of "gay marriage" has nothing to do with homo- or heterosexuality. It has everything to do with civil rights.

See, I have always been very much a live-and-let-live kind of guy. I have tried to live by the credo that people can do whatever they want, as long as they don't hurt someone else or infringe upon others' rights. This has led to conflicts in my life, as few people understood my belief that people should be allowed to do things that many feel they shouldn't, like commit suicide, etc. Where marriage is concerned, I believe consenting adults have the right to marry, period. That includes consentual plural marriage, same-sex marriage, even (gasp) between relatatives if they are adults when they enter into it and don't intend to reproduce (I draw the line at deliberate risk-taking with birth defects). I think it's nobody else's business, regardless of their individual moral values.

Also, as my wife will attest, before I was married I explained my resistance to legally-sanctioned marriage: I am firmly opposed to the idea that one of the most intimate parts of my life has to be licensed by the government, as if they own the rights to me like a slave. How can the government license who I fall in love with, the level of committment we have with each other, etc? Of course, I still married, but I did it for us, not to meet some government mandate. And with regards to California, where opponents to same-sex marriage frequently justify their position by procalaiming "The people have spoken!" (because they voted to ban it), I am also opposed to the idea that my marriage is subject to approval by popular vote.

Of course, local opponents to marriage equality also justify their position by ranting against homosexuality, citing "natural law" or what "nature intended", or that marriage is basically about reproduction, or that marriage needs to be protected and defended, or that it is the fundamental cornerstone institution of all human society and should be not defined as anything but a union betweem a man and a woman, and most often claiming that gays in civil unions in California already have all the same rights as straight married couples. I keep pointing out the obvious: They don't have the right to get married. If they did, we wouldn't be having this discussion over and over again.

So here I am, a heterosexual married man who shows up in the local newspaper forum to advocate for "gay marriage". Or as I think of it, advocating for civil rights while the "small-government" conservatives argue in favor of government micro-managememt of the intimate aspects of peoples' personal lives. They can shove their @#$% tea bags, as far as I am concerned.


ZIRGAR said...

Amen! I've always seen it strictly as a civil rights issue as well, and I don't think the gov't on any level, federal or state, has the right to interfere with those right's. Personally, I love gay people, but even if I didn't I would have no right to impose my personal dislike as a measure to keep them from their basic civil rights.

betmo said...

i agree wholeheartedly- well said :) i would like to add that i am a hetero woman married 13 years this september and my marriage hasn't suffered one whit since gay marriage has passed in several states.

nunya said...

Great post SheaNC,


Watch 'n Wait said...

Well said, Shea! Glad we're on the same side of these civil rights.

Grandpa Eddie said...

It is strictly a civil rights issue, which is not open to any kind of public far as I'm concerned. It is no less a civil rights issue than inter-racial marriage is. I damn well wouldn't have wanted someone reviewing my marriage proposal to my wife to see if it met some asshole's requirement.

Nancy said...

And Shea, you always say it so well on the hometown site. Even when the nastiest words are spittled your way, you maintain a sense of decency, calmness, integrity and intelligence. I've marveled at your lack of self control there. As you know, I gave up there. I would have been violating the user agreement with every comment! However, there does seem to be a change there. Are the comments finally being moderated?

SheaNC said...

Thanks for the kind words, all.

Nancy: The AD comments have mellowed lately, and I have not been able to detect the presence of those one or two who go by many names. Either they moved on or the paper figured out a way to keep them out. There are a couple of others of a similar bent, but overall the right-wing wackos are fewer and far between. I almost miss them... almost :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for your efforts. Those of us who are more directly affected by same-sex marriage laws are, unfortunately, too few to create a successful movement without your help and the help of others like you.