CHICAGO, March 27, 2013— “In the pursuit of truth and joy
Boys will be girls and girls will be boys
But sometimes it’s hard to know what to do
When you don’t know who you’re talking to
‘cause there are men who love women who love men
There are women who love women every now and then
There are men who love men because they can’t pretend
They are men who love women who love men” (“Men who Love Women who Love Men”/Steve Goodman)
Yesterday the United States Supreme Court heard arguments over gay marriage in California’s Proposition 8 case. Today they are hearing arguments over the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Rulings are expected in June.
The whole issue of gay marriage is causing a great deal of hatred between foes and angst for those who are not sure. Morals, morality, tradition, religion, and human rights are being thrown in everyone’s faces. Unfortunately too many people are fomenting hatred.
Years ago heterosexuals living together were frowned upon by society. They were “living in sin.” Now it is the norm. It is perfectly acceptable. Even churches do not openly condemn cohabitation though it is still considered immoral and frowned upon.
Adultery is accepted and tolerated. With celebrities it is expected. Colorado just repealed its law on adultery. Will other states follow? Will adultery and adulterers be the new human and civil rights issue of our time?
So-called traditional marriage is supposed to be a promise, “till death do us part.” Yet, divorce is perfectly legal, accepted as the norm in society and only quietly frowned upon as immoral by religions. It is just as easy to get a divorce as it is to get married.
What about swingers with their open marriages? They are even allowed to freely advertise for partners. Where is the moral condemnation and legal retribution? Where is the hatred? Where are the religious traditionalists?
The ultra-traditionalists believe and claim marriage is about procreation and raising families. If couples decide not to procreate, should they be denied the right to marry? If a married couple cannot have children, should their marriage be forcibly dissolved?
What is the legal definition of marriage and who really decides it? Is there a universal definition? One man, one woman? Some cultures allow multiple partner marriages, mostly one man with multiple wives. To them it is perfectly legal and moral. Some cultures accept concubines as perfectly normal. Who are we to disagree?
In some countries homosexuality and even sex outside of marriage is not only illegal but also a capital crime with death as punishment. Other cultures and nations allow the marriage of children to adults. Though we may find these practices immoral and even abhorrent, there is very little flaming rhetorical condemnation of those cultures, nations, or their leaders.
What is marriage? Is it a right, rite or combination of the two? Is marriage a tradition or merely a legal contract or promise between people? Who really decides? States, counties, religions, the federal government, the United Nations, political parties, or voters? All of the above? None of the above?
The marriage issue brings up one of the ugly things about American politics, the rigid ideology of absolutism. Everyone must think alike on one side or the other. This always insures no one is thinking. This is the reason the term “sheeple” was created.
We willingly allow ourselves to be divided into groups who not only think alike but hate alike. That appears to be the whole purpose of liberalism and conservatism, ensuring the right to be led by the nose, allowing others to impose their will upon us and generating hatred.
That whole freedom “thingy” is not all it’s cracked up to be. Critical and free-thinking is lost in America. We are allowing enforced segregated thought.
At the end of the day, does it really matter if Bruce marries Bob, Fred marries Joan and Jane, or Tom marries Wanda and Bill? Stretching things, what if Morey, who used to be Mary, decides to wed Willimena, who used to be William? Or how about this, a straight person marries a gay person of the opposite sex strictly for companionship or to leave the estate to him or her?
If they live happily or unhappily ever after who is harmed?
Freedom is about choices. We may not like it. We have that right. We have the right to disagree and express that disagreement. We do not have the right to deny people their right to choose. Marriage is a legal promise, a contract between consenting adults and it brings with it certain proprietary rights. It is nothing more than that.
Funny thing, gay people never claim so-called traditional marriage is wrong, immoral or evil. Gays are not trying to challenge or deny rights to the marriage(s) of your choice.
Whom you sleep with, spend your life with or leave your estate to is your own business. That is freedom. That is free choice. Only God, if you are a believer, will be the final arbiter. Who are we to judge?
Peter V. Bella is a freelance photojournalist and writer.
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