What I Think: About LGBT&Q Rights and Marriage Equality 12

Disclaimer:

You (yes, you) should only read the following post if you are actually interested is finding out what I think about LGBT&Q rights and Marriage Equality. I’m going to warn you right off the bat – this is probably not going to be very funny (of course, on the other hand, it may be; I’m a pretty funny guy). If you’re just looking for a laugh, or you don’t care what I think, then just move right along. It’s okay, I won’t be hurt.

Why I’m Writing This:

More and more, lately, I find myself being questioned about why I believe many of the things I do. Frequently, it is by people who are already convinced that I’ve gone completely off the rails, and are less interested in what I think, and why, than they are in seeing how far away from the tracks they think I should be on I’ve gotten (these people, of course, generally believe I should be on the same tracks as them).

I’m not writing this for them because frankly, I think that they’re mostly just looking for a fight, not a discussion. I’m writing this for the others, those few friends I have who, although they may believe I’m wrong, still have enough respect for me to genuinely want to know why I believe all the crazy stuff that I believe, and those who don’t actually know me, but may want to know what I think.

I’m also not writing this to try to convince, or convert, anybody to my way of thinking. I’m just putting it out there in hopes that it will make people think. This will be the first of a series in which I address some of the common sources of division in our society, in hopes of, not only making you think, but of clearly and rationally stating my own position on these issues (sometimes it’s hard to make a case for something on the fly; that kind of conversation usually devolves into issues of “feelings”, without the availability of sources to back up a position or line of reasoning).

I figured I’d start with a fairly easy one; LGBT&Q Rights and Marriage Equality (gay marriage); not that it’s particularly easy, but it (to me anyway) is a little less emotionally charged.

To start with, I’m in favor of not only LGBT&Q rights (and for the sake of expediency, from here on out I’m just gonna call ’em gay rights, which I freely acknowledge is probably insensitive and politically incorrect, but I’m a lazy typist, and it’s my blog. I apologize for any hurt feelings this may cause), I’m in favor of equal rights for all. I believe in liberty.

For Reasons of Liberty:

Now, there are a lot of people, much smarter than I, who have done a lot of thinking about this stuff. Sadly, a lot of them (at least the ones I know of) are also a lot deader than I am, so I’ll just take this opportunity to share some of their thoughts with you:

John Stuart Mill, in On Liberty, said this (among other liberty-related stuff):

“the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others . . . Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”

In other words, no harm, no foul – if it doesn’t hurt anybody else, it’s none of your business. Mill goes on to state expressly that this applies only to people, “in the maturity of their faculties,” i.e. adults who are capable of taking care of themselves. (it is a great book, full of a lot of pretty important thoughts on liberty, and what it means. I highly recommend it. You can probably find it online for free).

The preamble to the U.S. Constitution states:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

The parts about establishing justice, securing the blessings of Liberty, and providing for the common defense can be applied directly to this issue.

Justice

Being LGBT or Q is not illegal. It follows then, that in the interests of justice, they are entitled to the same civil rights as I am. Instead, states and the federal government are introducing more and more legislation designed to specifically allow discrimination against them, mostly under the guise of protecting my religious freedom which frankly, needs no defense. The Constitution is all the protection I need.

Honestly, I really feel that if your relationship with God is so tenuous that it can be irreparably harmed by baking a wedding cake or arranging some flowers for two dudes’ wedding, then you’ve probably got bigger issues that you should be working on.

Here are a couple of articles for your consideration: Washington Post and LA Times. I want to point out that the LA Times piece is from the Opinion section, and should be considered as opinion, not fact, but it is still worthy of consideration.

Liberty

It seems to me that to encroach on any citizen’s or demographic’s liberties opens the door to encroaching on the liberty of all. After all, if we can deny rights and protection to LGBT&Q folks, then that just creates a road map for how to deny them to my group or yours should they ever become unpopular.

Defence

I believe that to deny gay folks (or anyone else, for that matter) their liberty harms not only them, but our country. A few years back, when they made it legal for gay folks to serve in the military, there were a lot of people who were convinced that it would destroy our war-fighting ability. Clearly, it hasn’t. Back in my day, of course, it was illegal for gay people to serve, and then we were subjected to the namby-pamby hypocrisy of Bill Clinton’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which basically said that gays could serve, as long as nobody knew they were gay.

The reasoning behind all that was that they were a security risk; if enemy agents found someone gay in the military, they could use that information to blackmail the gay service member into betraying classified information, or other treasonous acts. Not until 2010 did we face the fact that, if we removed the ban, we also removed the possibility of our enemies using that as leverage. By removing that ban, we actually made our country safer.

Of course, I can already hear the cries of “think of the children! We’ve got to protect the children!” I agree, we need to protect children; just not from gay folks. We need to protect them from pedophiles – there’s a difference, and here’s a link to a very informative paper on the subject: Facts About Homosexuality and Child Molestation. In case you didn’t take the time to read it, it basically cites a whole lot of studies which found no link between homosexuality and molesting children. The overwhelming majority of child molesters are just that – child molesters, with no sexual interest in adults of either sex.

For Reasons of Humanity:

To deny gay folks equal rights is to deny them their humanity; it tells them that they are less than fully human. Think about the damage that does to a person. To be told that your life is worth less than others, every day, in hundreds, if not thousands, of ways, both direct and indirect. That’s what happens every time a gay person’s partner is denied access to their hospital room because they’re “not family.” When they are rejected by society, by their own family. when they’re openly mocked, and all too frequently humiliated, beaten, and even killed. In fact, gay folks are way more likely to be the victims of hate crimes. Here’s a very informative NY Times article with links to FBI and Justice Departments stats and reports.

When they’re denied the right to marry, they are denied the same rights as straight folks, which seems even more ridiculous in these days of disposable marriages.

I had a good friend, who disagrees with me on a lot of these issues, ask me, “Why do they have to call it marriage?” The answer is simple; for the same reason that “Separate but Equal” didn’t work out for black folks.

I’ve never understood the idea that the existence of gay marriage somehow invalidates my own; the only people who can invalidate my marriage are me, and my wife, the long-suffering and wonderfully forgiving Jess. Two dudes or two chicks being married has no more effect on my marriage than two Muslims, or two Hindus, or two Catholics, or two Atheists, for that matter.

That same friend, who is a much better Christian, and human being, than me, brought up the biblical “marriage is between one man and one woman” argument. I countered that marriage in the bible often is one man and one woman, but it is also one man and two women (Jacob, Leah, & Rachel), one man and many women (Solomon), and apparently allowances were made for one man and one woman + one didn’t-have-any-choice-in-the-matter slave girl (Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar), just to name a few popular biblical variations on marriage. For that matter, were Adam and Eve even technically married?

I also don’t buy that whole “pastors will be forced to perform gay marriages against their will!” argument. Neither does Travis Weber, Director of the Center for Religious Liberty, a part of the Family Research Council, as conservative a bunch as you’re likely to find. He explains it much better than I could in this article, going into a lot of detail on the Constitutional protections for the clergy. He does, of course, only say that it’s not likely, and that it will probably be challenged in the courts, but what isn’t?

For Reasons of Religion:

I am a Christian. Now I know that there’s a lot of stuff in there that pretty clearly says don’t do gay stuff (at least as far as men are concerned. Oddly enough, women seem to have received a pass on this, perhaps to make up for all the other stuff they weren’t allowed to do), especially in Leviticus. However, there’s a lot of stuff in Leviticus that we no longer worry about. Things like: eating shellfish (Lev. 11:10-12), eating pork (Lev. 11:7,8), eating rabbit (Lev. 11:6), a whole chapter on female purification after childbirth (Lev. 12), and mistreating aliens (Lev. 19:33, 34) (of course, that’s a whole other post – bet you can’t wait), and a whole bunch of other stuff.

Now, I’m not being facetious (at least not too facetious), and I don’t want to turn this into a whole religious argument. Anyone who’s read any of my stuff can tell you that I’m not much of a theologian.

What I think, as a Christian, is that it is our duty to spread the word to everyone that God loves them, and spread the good news of his Grace and forgiveness. Jesus said that the greatest commandment was to love God, and that the second greatest was to love one another. I’m pretty sure he meant that to be pretty much all-inclusive.

As far as is it possible for gay folks to be Christian, I believe it is. I know that in my little country church, there is gluttony, gossip, trouble-making, foul-mouthed taking-of-the-Lord’s-name-in-vain, pridefulness, lack of forgiveness, pettiness, anger, sloth, smoking, and drinking, pretty much the whole gamut of sin, and that’s just me. If the body is supposed to be a temple, then mine is the temple of doom. That’s why I’m there; I need Jesus. They might too, and, if I behave toward them, or treat them, in a way that pushes them farther from Jesus, then I’m gonna have to answer for that, and I’ve already got enough to answer for.

Anyway, that’s what I think, and I also think I’ve beaten this dead horse enough for now. I welcome your opinions and comments on this, even if you don’t agree with me. Like I said, I don’t expect you to.

Thanks for reading anyway!

12 thoughts on “What I Think: About LGBT&Q Rights and Marriage Equality

  1. Reply Zhitomir Mar 3,2017 7:26 pm

    Frankly, I was not sure where you were heading in the beginning. But in the end you sounded just like a “liberal Christian” – tolerance for all. Which I disagree with…

    But I agree with a lot of what you said, like, yes, the cake and flowers could be made for the wedding for someone who does not share your believes. Christians do make flowers and cakes for weddings of atheists, that blasphemy Holly Spirit. Why don’t we reject them as well? I provide medical care to people of all kind of believes/practices and it would not cross my mind not to do that just because you are a drug addict and that is against my convictions.

    What I disagree with is that gay people had to press for legal marriages. Why did it matter for them that much? As far as I know they had pretty much all the rights of a married couple. On another hand, we have majority people – man and woman (well, I don’t know the statistics but I see it all around me) that live together without marriage. They actually don’t want to be married!

    And just because we don’t follow some of the commands of the Bible anymore does not mean we have to follow some of the forbidden stuff.

    Well, let people get married donkeys, horses, and children (I know, how awful, right??!!).
    But that is how society in general used to looked at gay people and their marriages.

    And it could happen if there will be enough people to say I was born that way, I cannot live any other way…. and society will slowly change…

    Do you see where we can come as a society without moral basis (God).

  2. Reply moonandjess@frontier.com Mar 3,2017 7:53 pm

    As far as gay couples having the same rights as married couples – they did not. Their partners were frequently not included in workplace-provided health insurance (like my wife and yours), because they were not married. Likewise, when one is hospitalized with limited visitation, their partners were often denied entry because, again they were not married. The same reasoning has been used to prevent inheritance by same-sex partners, along with a bunch of other stuff.

    As far as letting people marry donkeys, horses, and children, honestly, that is just ridiculous. From a legal standpoint, marriage is a contract, and a contract is only valid between two legal adults. Donkeys, horses, and, as far as I know every other kind of livestock, are incapable of entering into a legal contract, as are children.

    As far as the slippery slope argument goes, that’s the same argument they used to keep blacks, women, and other minorities down, and to keep gays either out of the military, or in the closet, and, in both situations, it has proven a false argument.

    How does forcing people to lie in order to be an accepted part of society have any sort of claim to a moral basis? God tells us to love each other. Judgment is His job, not ours.

    Also, for the record, I don’t believe in “tolerance.” I believe in acceptance. God created all of us, and I’m no better than anyone else. It is not my place to “tolerate” anyone. It is my job to love them.

    • Reply Zhitomir Mar 4,2017 6:58 am

      Marriage to a donkey is ridiculous now. Like I said, if there are enough opinions about it – it will be accepted by society, especially permissible society like americans now.

      I grew up in a very restricted/atheistic society where I didn’t hear about gay people till I became a grown up.
      When I was a teenager, growing up without a father figure in my life, I remember thinking that I wanted to be a boy (I’m a girl), I thought, I will be tough, I will be protecting fragile girls. I found it was very disgusting to dress up as a girly girl.

      But it was just a phase. I don’t even remember how it left me. I got interested in boys very quickly and now married to a wonderful man.

      Now, I always wonder, if I would have grown in a permissible society, what would happen to me? I would see/read/hear that it is OK for a girl to become a boy if you feel like it.

      I think I’d be messed up for the rest of my life…

      Now, do you realize that my comments not yours would be “hated” because now we live in reverse discrimination…

  3. Reply moonandjess@frontier.com Mar 4,2017 10:02 pm

    I’ve got to say, you seem to have a really low opinion of your fellow man if you think that there could ever become a majority in this country that thinks marriage to a donkey would be okay.

    I think it’s great that you found a wonderful man to marry. I just think that gay folks should have that same option.

    Let me ask you this – who should get to make up the rules about who can do what, who gets what rights, and who doesn’t?

    Do you really want to live in a society that decides who is fully human, and who is less than human based on their sexuality or religious standing, or maybe the color of their skin? Because all of those things have happened.

    The vast majority of people in our society claim to be members of one religion or another. Since that’s a majority, would they be right in stripping away the civil rights of Atheists? And then, since roughly 83% of Americans claim to be Christians, would they then be justified in stripping away the civil rights of members of all other religions, so that we would have, at last, one unifying moral code (the Bible).

    I don’t think so. I think you’ve got to let people be themselves. You can’t tell them who to worship, or who to love.

    Do we need to protect the helpless from predators? Absolutely. But we also have an obligation to differentiate between actual predators and those who we might personally think have “icky” tendencies.

  4. Reply Zhitomir Mar 6,2017 6:44 pm

    You are right. Let people be themselves. Let there be marriages with multiple wives (fundamental Mormons would be very happy), let the marriages with multiple partners (whatever number of husband/wives be – as long as they have a consensus).

    And how dare we to think that suicide should be prevented, if people should decide for themselves. How dare is society to tell them they cannot do that!

    And how dare we to make rules about abortion!!! It’s “My body, and I decide how to treat it”!!!!

    Back to gay people. If they were born that way, if they had some kind of abnormal development that made you look like a man and “inside” of a woman (which is a very small number), it’s one thing. But if you, in your mind, decided that you are attracted to the same sex, that is different. I know many friends and friends’ children that were attracted to the opposite sex and then decided they were attracted to the same sex, then were back from where they began….

    And I’m not against giving civil right to gay people. If they don’t have an access to a hospital with a sick “partner” or don’t have right for the inheritance, let’s change the law that allows boyfriend/girlfriends to do so. But allowing marriages between gay people will not solve that problem.

    “Let’s get married so I can visit you when you will be sick in a hospital.” Hmm, It’s a strange reason to get married.

  5. Reply moonandjess@frontier.com Mar 6,2017 9:57 pm

    Okay, first of all, I’m not going to get into an argument against every hair-brained reactionary, issue-obscuring argument about why we shouldn’t allow gay marriage. I’m sure there are any number of right-wing God, Guns,& Country websites you can find to tell you you’re absolutely right.

    Also, this has absolutely nothing to do with abortion – hold your horses, I’ll get around to writing about that soon.

    How will allowing gay marriage NOT solve the issues of inheritance/hospital visitation, etc?

    Finally, I’m not suggesting that people would get married just to be able to visit in the hospital. That is patently ridiculous. You seem to be grasping at straws.

    Perhaps it would be better to just call it a day on this conversation, since you aren’t going to convince me, and I’m not even trying to convince you. To continue on in this vein would seem just counterproductive and pointless.

    Have a good day, and thanks for reading.

    P.S. Feel free to consider this a victory for yourself. Congratulations.

  6. Reply Ellen Mar 15,2017 12:25 am

    whew, wow the above made my head hurt! Anyway, I like what you wrote and you made me laugh, once again, because you are a funny guy (in the last paragraph “temple of doom”), again issues that are hard sometimes to know what to say or believe? At least for me but maybe not for you as you did a great job of explaining why you believe what you believe and I enjoy reading it. I’m like a lab that doesn’t like confrontation at all. One reason why I left a church I was going to, I honestly couldn’t decide how I felt on the issue of letting gays serve at the church and I didn’t want to have to, so I left.

    But I agree with you about acceptance and loving people as that is what God does for us and man that has been a message that I’ve been hearing all around me through people who have passed on, movies, music, books etc. I just saw the movie The Shack and loved it and of course, your brother Rich, would be a part of that movie because it’s about how much God loves his children and maybe it’s as simple as that? I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie, but at the end they sing “Our God is An Awesome God”, i thought that was so cool.

    Take care and keep writing as I am one of “those who don’t actually know me, but may want to know what I think”.

    • Reply moonandjess@frontier.com Mar 15,2017 8:10 pm

      Well, I’m glad I made you laugh anyway, and I hope I got you to think at least a little bit. Thinking about stuff like this can be kinda unsettling, because when we start asking ourselves “Why do I think this?”, it can lead to some uncomfortable moments. I contend, however, that it is precisely those moments of self-examination that help us change from the people we were raised to be, into the people we were meant to be. Anyway, glad you liked the post, and thanks for reading! Take care.

  7. Reply Zhitomir Mar 15,2017 4:45 am

    Moonandjess,
    I’m sorry I hurt your feelings. My comments were rushed and harsh.
    Yes, I should not have even commented on something where you were not looking for comments/rebuttal. You were just stating your views. I apologize for butting in with my crude thoughts…
    I don’t “accept” the victory because I have not “won” it and because I was not even seeking it 🙂

    • Reply moonandjess@frontier.com Mar 15,2017 8:07 pm

      Zhitomir, no worries, my feelings were not hurt, it just seemed like we were both just heading down that self-destructive path that does no one any good. Also, I welcome comments, whether they agree with me or not – they tell me that someone is at least reading and thinking about what I had to say.

      Anyway, there’s no need for apologies – you didn’t do anything wrong, it just seemed like we were starting to repeat ourselves. I appreciate your willingness to stand up for what you believe in, and do it civilly and respectfully. That’s a rarity these days.

      Also, I kinda believe I owe you an apology. After reading my last response to you, I feel like I got kinda unnecessarily snarky and mean-spirited with you. I apologize.

      I hope you will continue to read my blog, and continue to comment, whether you agree with me or not. As far as I’m concerned, we’re cool.

  8. Reply Ellen Mar 16,2017 3:46 am

    MoonandJess,
    I like what you said about self examination because if we don’t look inside of ourselves first we will always judge and be pointing the finger at everyone else. I’ve been on a personal journey of discovering who I really am, not who I was raised to be. I started kind of late in life and I think it will take me the rest of my life, but with God there is no time deadline to become the person or people he has made us to be.

    thanks again and yes these issues are unsettling to think about because self examination is a scary thing and why most people don’t do it.

    you and Jess take care too,

    • Reply moonandjess@frontier.com Mar 22,2017 7:08 pm

      Ellen,
      Thanks, I appreciate the kind words. I really started this whole self-examination thing a few years after I retired from the Air Force. Going to college kind of kicked it into high gear. It’s been really uncomfortable at times, but I think it’s worth it, and I think I’m a better human being as a result. Thanks again for reading!

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