Friday, May 23, 2008
Warning: Lesbian Ranting Ahead - Reduce Speed
John McCain appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show yesterday and IMHO she missed a golden opportunity to nail this guy on his views about gay marriage.
Sure, they politely "agreed to disagree" and Ellen trotted out the hard-to-resist "we're all just people" argument, but she didn't ask the question that really needed answering:
How, in a country that claims to have a separation between church and state, is the legality of a civil contract stipulated by religious beliefs?
In this country marriage is a legal contract recognized by the government, and there is no requirement that this contract have a religious basis or influence of any kind.
Yet most people who object to the legalization of gay marriage do so because of a moral belief based on the Judaeo/Christian Bible (an erroneous moral belief, I would add, but that's a whole other story!).
If some want to cling to the idea that 'marriage' is meant to be between a man a woman because their religious beliefs don't allow them to think otherwise, then fine; don't sanction or allow gay marriages in your church, but your personal belief should not dictate what goes on in other churches, and it certainly shouldn't dictate what goes on in the county courthouse.
Some 'small-government' Republicans, John McCain included, will side-step the issue by claiming that the Federal government shouldn't have a say in this issue to begin with, it's up to the states to decide. Unfortunately the state's "decision" usually comes in the form of a voter's proposal or constitutional amendment that outright bans gay from marrying.
Now, I know we live in a democracy, but I get nervous whenever we let 'the people' decide whether a minority group should should share the same pie that the majority enjoys.
If the residents of West Virginia were allowed to vote on a proposal to limit the rights of African Americans in their state (and judging by the slew of racist comments that came out of the exit polls after the recent Democratic primary, they'd probably jump at the chance), would we stand by and allow legalized discrimination under the guise of 'state's rights'? I think not.
Ellen DeGeneres should have called on John McCain to explain the basis of his belief, and not just allow him to brush it aside with the 'different strokes for different folks' defense. If she were interviewing Mike Huckabee or Mitt Romney then we'd know their religious beliefs dictate their moral beliefs, but it's known that John McCain is not an overtly religious man, and has never claimed to be.
I suspect that his anti-gay marriage stance is based on a vague "its-just-not-right" feeling of discomfort that many (especially from his generation) experience when confronted with difference, especially if that difference disturbs their image of what a 'moral, god-fearing, apple-pie loving' America should look like.
It's the same feeling of discomfort and underlying anger/fear that some experience when they encounter immigrants (legal or not). "They" dress funny, eat bizarre foods, have strange customs, are pushy/lazy/untrustworthy and speak in a language that we can't understand. We can take them as individuals (as in "I work with a ________, and he's a good guy, but the rest of them are just looking for a handout") but when we encounter them in packs we feel threatened because now we are outnumbered, we are the 'other' and we don't like that feeling at all.
I have hope that the kids growing up today surrounded by difference will have no difficulty recognizing legalized discrimination for what it is - just plain wrong.
Kids today see gays on TV, have Gay-Straight Alliances at school, have gay friends, and have no need to concoct moral beliefs based on a homogenized view of a world that no longer exists, and most likely never did.
(Just because difference was once forced to hide in the shadows, doesn't mean it didn't exist).
On an interesting side note, a recent study showed that 70 percent of Americans no longer consider GAMBLING to be immoral. Of course not, anyone who has ever bought a lottery or raffle ticket would be guilty of it. What I found interesting was the reason given for the collapse of the anti-gambling opposition (by I.Nelson Rose, Professor of gambling law):
"It's not acceptable in today's society to present arguments based solely on religion or morals."
Oh yeah? Then why are religious beliefs the sole reason why I can't get married in today's society?
I'm still waiting for John McCain (or Hillary, or Obama) to answer that one.