Since we love to label people, before I get into this any further, a reader of this post may confuse me for a left wing nutjob or liberal hippie. Nothing can be further from the truth. I have a mostly neoconservative worldview and strongly support spreading our country's influence and values around the world, by military means if need be.
In regards to gay marriage, after watching the Republican presidential debates, it's clear where the frontrunners stand on the subject. They should rethink their position, not due to any pressure from the left, but because gay marriage can be argued most forcibly from the right. Instead of using this cause to highlight the differences between us and our backward and intolerant enemies around the world such as Iran, North Korea, and militant terrorist groups, Republican candidates continue to espouse weak arguments such as these:
The Undermining of Traditional Marriage Argument:
Sadly, heterosexuals have done the most damage to undermine traditional marriage. Our celebrity culture has underscored the mockery. The Kardashians, Britney Spears, Dennis Rodman, Jesse James (not the crazy gunslinger, but the crazy customizer) to name a few, have showed our young people that empty flings are more valued than strong relationships. You can also look outside the celebrity world and check divorce rates and domestic abuse cases. As far as I know, nobody has divorced someone because of gay marriage. Gay marriage doesn't undermine traditional marriage -- adultery, mental abuse, physical abuse, intimidation, coercion, abandonment and divorce undermine traditional marriage.
This argument is also tied with the idea that gay marriage will cause the breakdown of the family unit. Yet, the countries that give up the most orphaned children for adoption to U.S. families (Ethiopia, Russia, China, Guatemala up until 2008, and South Korea) all currently ban same-sex marriage. The high rates of orphaned children in these countries could be the result of a number of things, such as tribal conflicts, poor healthcare, or overpopulation. Whatever the case may be, opponents of gay marriage cannot lay the blame for the breakdown of the family in these countries on gay marriage.
The Slippery Slope Argument:
Opponents of gay marriage ask, often in an accusatory tone, what would stop someone from marrying 6 women, or marrying a goat, or marrying a minor child. This argument is often framed in colorful and outlandish analogies. What is outlandish, however, is accepting that gay marriage leads to such relationships. Individuals in a gay marriage, just as individuals in a traditional marriage, strive for mutual respect and equality in their relationships. Relationships such as those between a minor child and an older person, or between a man and 6 women, and yes, even a relationship between a person and a goat, are about inequality. These outlandish relationships simply have no equality or respect between the people involved (I don't care what the goat says).
This argument also ignores two facts: 1. The very strange sexual habits of many heterosexual married couples (you know who you are); and 2. The charismatic straight sexual deviants who have been actual culprits in spreading polygamy, underage marriages, and crazy animal relationships through the centuries (i.e., leaders of polygamy cults and fratboys).
The Sacredness of Marriage Argument:
Marriage is sacred. But what to make of people who have had multiple marriages? Apparently, for these serial-marriage-types, the most recent marriage is the one that is most sacred; forget the others in the past, those don't count.
Opponents of gay marriage argue that marriage is so sacred a concept it cannot be altered from the way we traditionally understand it. For people who say this, I simply ask this question: Have we given different meanings to concepts just as sacred as marriage? How about the concept of God? Presumably, the concept of God is more sacred than the concept of marriage. Do you believe in one God or in the Trinity? Do you believe Jesus as the messiah or not? Muslims and Jews believe there is one essence of God. On the other hand, most Christians, like Roman Catholics, believe in one God that exists in three persons, the Trinity. The Gospel of John can be used to argue Jesus is God. So which definition do you feel like using today? Arguing that there must be only one concept of marriage because it is so sacred simply ignores the varying concepts we have created for other ideals we also hold sacred.
The Religion Argument:
Speaking of religion, it won't take long for someone to bring up the book of Leviticus or verses in the Qur'an. Of course, one would have to square this argument by asking which Leviticus verses one ought to use when drafting our laws. For instance, should we include the specific dietary laws in the same book? How about the clear warning against the mixing of fabrics? I assume not after seeing the ties our politicians wear.
The Procreation Argument:
The procreation argument is often cited by opponents of gay marriage. However, there are no restrictions on disabled people who cannot physically procreate to marry; nor, are there restrictions against people over the age of, say, 45 to get married due to procreation constraints. This doesn't even touch on the millions who marry and choose not to have children. Adoption is also an option. When gay couples decide to raise a child through adoption (just like with straight couples who cannot procreate) in every instance the child they raise is a planned one. In other words, there are no accidental pregnancies with gay couples.
The Best Arguments for Gay Marriage Are Conservative Ones:
The time for denying equal rights based on the above tired arguments should end. More people in this country, especially our Republican candidates, should grasp the idea that allowing same sex marriage won't make the institution of marriage more "queer," but will open the door for more homosexuals to accept conservative values. Gay marriage can act as a powerful conservative force in this country. Marriage, family, and child welfare have been the foundations of conservative ideals. Allowing gay marriage would interlace a mostly liberal segment of our population into the fold of traditional conservative values. It will heap upon them both the remarkable rights and the cumbersome responsibilities that come with marriage. It will also change the perspective some hold in the heterosexual community that gays are nothing more than promiscuous sexual beings.
Just as significant, gay marriage can act as a message of national strength and power; a symbol of American liberty which we can use to bash our backward enemies around the world. Countries like Iran and North Korea shun our freedoms. Our enemies routinely deny their own citizens the rights we take for granted. By allowing gay marriage, America would further make clear the great contrast between a democracy and a totalitarian regime. It would show the superiority of our values compared to the values held by our enemies. After all, the strongest force America will have in this century to spread her influence will not be her bombs or soldiers --- it will be her tolerance.
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Tags: adoption, Bible, civil unions, debate, Democrat, election, family, Florida, gay, gay marriage, homosexuality, Iowa, Iran, Jesus, Jon Huntsman, Kardashian, Leviticus, Mitt Romney, New Hampshire, Newt Gingrich, North Korea, Obama, primaries, procreation, Qur'an, Republican, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, same sex marriage, South Carolina, tolerance