Saturday, April 4, 2009

This should be read in every church in America tomorrow morning.

The "this" in this case is the text of the Iowa Supreme Court ruling that overturned the state's prohibition against same sex marriage.  So of course  it wont be read in church tomorrow.  In fact it most likely wont be read ever by any of the same people who'll be in church denouncing the decision tomorrow and that's to their everlasting shame.

Of all the state decisions handed down this one is far and away the most direct and clearly reasoned.  Must be something about the Midwest.  As Prop 8 has painfully demonstrated however one shouldn't presume that these decisions actually "legalize" gay marriage in their states.  In fact I'd be surprised if this stands up to what will surely be several attempts to subsequently amend Iowa's constitution.  But this is yet another hammer and chisel chip, chip, chipping away at what passes for the intellectual basis for SSM prohibition. 

Admittedly the whole issue seems so desperately obvious to me that I have difficulty seriously considering any opposition to SSM and frankly not much of it warrants serious consideration.
The strongest (relative term) arguments that opponents make are of course that while allowing SSM may not have any obvious short term downsides we're talking about a fundamental underpinning of society and we best not mess with such things lightly.  We don't know what the future holds and by allowing SSM in the name of equal protection today we may be buying sack loads of unanticipated trouble down the road  Couple that with the issue of child  rearing and its easy to get a bunch of people good and pissed off.

Its considerably more difficult to get people to stop and think about what they're saying.

The "trads"  or traditionalists (who apparently are calling themselves "trads" so as to appear more.... zippy) are I believe largely serious in their concerns and that's fine.  However what is entirely lacking is a legitimate reason for their concerns to become yours and mine through law.   You don't have to listen to their arguments for very long before someone will bring up polygamy, bestiality, incest and god knows what else all resulting from allowing SSM.  
One can only get to this place to my mind by deeply fearing people, freedom, and change.  In that order. And if we're going to be honest that's exactly what conservatives fear in all social issues.   Conservatives default to the belief that what can be known about humankind is already known and life is essentially the business of not letting our baser instincts run amok and bring civilization down around our heads.

Clearly history tells a different story.  If it didn't we'd all either own or be a slave and women would be for the most part illiterate chattel.  Every time, every single fucking time in history we have stopped thinking of one group as "the other" or lessor somehow and allowed them a full stake in society it  has only been to the good and strengthened society as a whole. I think we're made of sterner stuff than my conservative friends do.  And honestly, what does it say about a world view whose adherents seem to feel that the only thing standing between us and dog fucking on a massive public scale are laws against same sex marriage?  It takes a very particular kind of disdain for one's fellow man (and self) to believe that civilized behavior is so tenuously situated.

As for the child rearing issue.... well.... this is where I start to get pissed off at these people.  If the state is going to prohibit SSM on the assertion that it has an interest in children being raised in  two parent male-female marriages then it ought to assert that interest in cases of divorce and make it illegal as well.  It ought then also assert that a single parent under ANY circumstance is similarly  harmful and  dissolve parental rights on that basis alone.   Likewise single foster or adoptive parents ought to be disallowed out of hand.  Its too silly to suggest, but this is exactly the argument they make and the fact that the state asserts one right in the case of homosexual parents but does not assert the same right in the same circumstance involving hetero parents so clearly violates equal protection that I can hardly believe it.   

The final canard they'll throw out is that if same sex marriage is allowed that this will impede the expression of religious freedom somehow.  Perhaps opposing SSM will be a "hate crime" or some such other nonsense.   The truth is that Catholics, Mormons, and Jews all have singular traditions concerning the recognition of marriage and divorce that have no basis in civil law at all and they've been troubled for it not one wit.

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