Friday, July 19, 2013

Thoughts on Another Local Anti-Same-Sex-Marriage Column

Neal Hooks’s most recent column on same-sex marriage suffers from the same disability his others do: he can’t quite see beyond his own set of beliefs.  (At least, in writing his columns, he does more than the follow whose definition of a good column is that the phrase “Socialist Progressive” or”Progressive Socialist” appears in at least every other sentence.)

He makes an odd distinction between two kinds of freedoms: the Websters’defined “power to determine action without restraint,” on the one hand, and “constitutional freedom which has “an added ingredient of morality.”  

Well, uhh, that’s just nonsense.

The framers of our constitution included some pretty great men.  Although many were Christians, many of the framers tried heroically to rise above their own prejudices and preconceptions and write a document that would enable government to help keep us safe and healthy and independent and allow individuals as much freedom of choice as was consistent with the public good.  Obviously reasonable men and women could differ as to where to draw certain lines.

Thus the “added element of morality” is not at all constitutional.  The problem is that your morality may not be mine, and the government ought not, for the most part, to be interfering with either of us if we’re not harming or endangering someone.

The columnist’s “morality” has same-sex couples as inherently “immoral” for two reasons: you read your Bible as saying so, which I’m not sure it does; and heterosexual couples, at least theoretically, can produce children.  (But note Judge Vaughn Walker’s excellent point that he marries many elderly couples who ain’t gonna accomplish that.)

The Constitution doesn’t recognize anyone’s religion as a source for law.  That’s by design.  Given the prevalence of Protestant Christianity in the 19th Century U.S., it ain’t no accident that the framers made it real clear that Church and State were two separate entities.

Further, the assumption that making love with the possibility of creating children is inherently more morally sound than making love without the possibility of creating children is questionable.  For example, we live in a world where overpopulation and the scarcity of resources are major problems.  Homosexual couples mostly do not egotistically produce babies of their own “blood” but rather adopt children who desperately need love, then nurture them in the way the Right to Life folks inaccurately claim will happen to unwanted babies.  I could reasonably argue that they belong on a higher pedestal of morality than the rest of us.

Yes, babies are beautiful, particularly when produced by a loving couple with the stuff to stay together for awhile with love.  I’m a sucker for that stuff, like anyone else.  Tell me a couple I know just had a baby, and I’m delighted.  Logic may say there are too many births, but the heart reacts a little differently to specific examples.

I’m equally delighted – if not a hair more so – watching a loving homosexual couple love and nurture their children.  That can be beautiful too.  If there’s something unique and beautiful about a mother with the child she’s given birth to, just as animals give birth to children and protect them in the natural world, there’s also something special about watching a couple with so much love to give, whom society has tried to deny the right to raise children, bestowing love and joy on infants who need it as desperately as the desert needed our recent rains.
Yes, some folks are so mired in their own personal morality that they must try to force us all into it, and would deny that sharing of love.  That only makes it more beautiful when it finally happens.

Mr. Hooks equates homosexuality with “hedonism” and heterosexual with “virtuousness”’ but he’s mistaking his innate desires and what he’s been taught for some absolute system that imprisons us all.

Same-sex marriage is about people who love each other and dare to pledge to spend the rest of their lives honoring and cherishing each other.  That doesn’t sound terribly “hedonistic” to me.  The phrase “Doing what you know is right, rather than simply doing what you desire” rolls easily off the tongue of a man whose desires happen to be the ones the dominant morality permits.  I guess I’d ask such a fellow this: if we lived in a world where homosexuality was the law and heterosexuality was illegal or frowned upon, are you so sure that you would stay chaste (or enter into a homosexual marriage) and that if you  met the lady of your dreams would you cheerfully submit to the rules if the folks with power and the most popular religion told you that you could never marry her?  That’s what such a man asks our gay friends to do.

I guess I’d also urge such a person to consider the likelihood that one of his children, one of his nieces or nephews, or a co-worker (and maybe more than one) is gay.  The likelihood is that s/he is gay, as distinct from choosing to be gay.  Are you so sure that Jesus would reject such a person?   Are you so sure that you want to cause that person additional pain by repeatedly declaiming the inferiority and immorality of such folks?

I happen to desire women – or, in recent years, one woman.  I don’t feel the least bit more virtuous than my neighbor who happens to desire folks of his or her own sex.  What matters is love and consideration and honesty, nurturing and cherishing each other.   Besides, how could something I had no particular choice in, such as the basic nature of my sexuality, make me more or less virtuous?

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