Gay Marriage: My Musings
Last week, the Supreme Court ruled that states could not prohibit gay marriage. It was a monumental ruling over an issue that has deeply divided the nation, an issue that has rivaled other significant issues such as gun control, abortion, and healthcare.
(Sidebar: I rarely write about my views on politics or current events. Generally, it is due to a lack of time to write about the issue in a way that fully represents the nuances of my thoughts and questions about each issue, and I’d rather not say anything that may misconstrue the viewpoints of any involved parties. I’ll do my best to write a thoughtful piece here despite my lack of practice.)
What is my viewpoint on gay marriage?
When discussing the viewpoints on social issues such as gay marriage, it is extremely important to make the distinction between what is belief and what is legal. This seems to be an important distinction that we as a society often get confused with. Our internal beliefs should not always become law, and what is law should not force us to believe anything (or can even force us to believe something).
So here it is: I believe that gay marriage should be legal and those partaking in same sex marriages should be awarded the full set of protections that all Americans should (and is a big SHOULD) fundamental share; and my personal beliefs around gay marriage should not impact whether or not it becomes a law. Full disclosure though, I support the institution of gay marriage (or perhaps better stated, I don’t oppose it).
At the very core of it, it is my understanding that the law is first meant to establish borders around the actions of any fringe members that may intend or place others into danger. For example, it is against the law to murder, assault, rob, or drive drunk. Without these laws, there would not be any protections for the common individual. Secondly, law is meant to equalize the individuals’ rights whenever necessary. For example, the Civil Rights Act legislated that all individuals must receive the same exact treatment as there were no defendable reasons to not provide same exact treatment. Within these contexts, there is no reason why gay marriage should be legislated against since it does not hurt anyone (and any argument for that is a load of indefensible BS). As far as it being a states’ rights issue, I believe that in order to “form a more perfect Union”, there are actions that must be taken by the federal government to preserve the civil liberties for ALL of its constituents, not just those that happen to reside in a particular state. Issues regarding funding allocation, necessary investments, etc. are issues that only states may feasibly decide and that would only impact its own constituents. Civil liberties is not one of them.
That being said, I still understand why people oppose it.
I know what you’re thinking, “WHAT THE F***?! HOW CAN YOU BEGIN TO SUPPORT THESE PEOPLE?!”
Although I don’t share their views and don’t support their attempt to prevent marriage equality, I can understand their viewpoint or at least why they continue to fight for their views.
The individuals that argue against gay marriage often argue on the basis of religion or other preconceived notions of what is right and wrong. Rather than pointing out the flaws to this argument, I begin with the notion, “I understand you.”
These individuals that have these views have often been shaped by years of exposure to a specific religious doctrine or simply a secular portrayal of right and wrong (very few movies display homosexuality in a an extremely positive light). Now, imagine removing all of these experiences and cemented ideas of what is expected and allowed. For some of these individuals who have spent 40 or 50 years growing up with a particular belief system, this is an extremely difficult thing to do for them. Admitting that for the last 40 or 50 years you’ve been led down a path that will no longer exist is an extremely difficult task to do.
This may be a stretch, but I’d compare it to your knowledge that touching a hot stove is a horrible idea. Try changing that cemented thought and convincing yourself that the hot stove is fine to touch. You refuse and you fight that notion by saying “No, it’s definitely hot, I’ve seen it hurt someone before”. You almost can’t do that, and I think it would be equally as hard to admit that these individuals have followed a doctrine that is in fact imperfect, especially since faith in the religion is based on the belief that the doctrine is in fact perfect.
What this means:
Change is not easy, and it comes with uphill battles with significant portions of the population. But if we don’t understand those that oppose us or even seek to, how do we bring them to understand our views? How do we show them that although our views may be foreign, they are not dangerous? We cannot show them if we fail to illustrate how our views are not so different and all and that their desires are almost identical to our desires.
More broadly, my point is this: those with the most educational experience, those with the most “intelligence” must recognize that intelligence is not a blatant certificate to spit your thoughts. Instead, intelligence should empower you to be able to play out multiple conversations and viewpoints because you have encountered a wide breadth of mental models and have factual background on all views. With those viewpoints, you are finally able to empathetically drive change by bringing about change and communicating change in a form that does not alienate others but convinces them that you are above all, looking out for their interests as well.
Disclaimer: My views are a work in progress. But I’d rather risk being vulnerable and baring my thought process than to hold it all in. I hope this might spur some thought.