Sunday, August 7, 2011

Definition of "Marriage" vs. Definition of "Rights"

I think the argument from the Right that marriage can't be redefined because it's what it is by definition (a.k.a. "I believe marriage is between one man and one woman") is bogus.  Not only is it just plain stupid, but it doesn't take into account the question of whether marriage is a right.  Using your religious definition of something is pointless in defining civil law.  There's nothing that compels clergy or a religion to recognize a marriage if they don't want to.  My cousin had to convert to Catholicism to get married.  The Catholic Church (and his fiancee) did that, not the laws about marriage.

The Federal statutes are very specific:

Title 18, U.S.C., Section 245

Federally Protected Activities
1) This statute prohibits willful injury, intimidation, or interference, or attempt to do so, by force or threat of force of any person or class of persons because of their activity as:

  a) A voter, or person qualifying to vote...;
  b) a participant in any benefit, service, privilege, program, facility, or
      activity administered by the United States;
  c) an applicant for federal employment or an employee by the federal government;
  d) a juror or prospective juror in federal court; and
  e) a participant in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

You could possibly argue States' Rights, since this statute is about federal issues, but the Fourteenth Amendment would obviate that angle.

What they should be doing is making the case that marriage isn't a right but a privilege, like driving.  Civil unions take care of the issue of benefitting from government services, privileges etc.  Marriage would, too.  And officially calling two same-sex people "married" doesn't really change many other rights.  I'm all for same-sex marriage, but I don't think it should be that big of a deal.  If rights are clearly defined and marital status is one of the protected classes then what's the big deal?

TeH GayZ R dIsGuStiNg!!!!  Oh NOES!  It's about bigotry, plain and simple.  Straight people find sex with the same sex revolting which is what makes them straight people.  Then there are the people with homosexual urges who can't handle their own mental complexity.  Everything has to be black-or-white for these people.  If the law treats gays as equals then straights are less-than, because equality is impossible for some people.  If they're not dominant and oppressive, they're victims and oppressed.

The two religion clauses of the First Amendment pretty much guarantee that the idiotic Right will lose this battle in the Culture Wars.  The non-establishment clause guarantees that the government doesn't have to give a fuck what their sky-daddy thinks of teh gayz.  The free exercise clause guarantees that they can be bigoted if that really floats their boat, as long as they're not being bigots in subsidized programs.  That's the deal they make when they take money from the government.  They won't have to perform gay marriages.  They can deny marriages between man and man just as they deny marriage between Catholic and Protestant.  It's not like gays really want to belong to their narrow-minded churches, anyway.

They just have to grow up and accept that not everyone is a carbon copy of themselves and the world won't stop spinning (yes, it SPINS - the sun doesn't revolve around us, as it turns out) if gay people get married.


krissthesexyatheist said...

Somehow, in my naive mind, I believe that if peeps (believers) studied or knew basic statistics and probability (taught in college that they did not go to), then they would understand that there are independent events and mutually exclusive events. Gay marriage is independent. It doesn't have anything to do with anything else. GLBT getting married doesn't have an affect/effect on anyone (like your awesome chart shows)outside of that marriage. I just wish 'they' knew that. awesome work buddy.


Infidel753 said...

Gay marriage doesn't affect fundies in any tangible way, but the problem is, the sinfulness of fags is one of the cornerstones of their world-view. If society accepts gays as having equal rights, that means it's ignoring the fundie world-view, reducing that world-view to a minority cultural peculiarity rather than a universal truth. That's what they can't accept.

And so, as it nevertheless inevitably happens, we see the increasingly impotent and irrelevant fundies retreating into ever-more-frenzied spouting of their silly fantasies of Armageddon, Hell-fire, etc. The delusion that we'll all be horribly punished for ignoring their ancient myths is the last thing they can cling to.

Robert the Skeptic said...

To me the centerpiece of opposition to gay marriage is based on religious belief, therefore, it has no place in public policy... like it does in Iran, for example.