We are used to the idea that in American Christians are against gay marriage. The Bible says that homosexuality is an abomination, so they cannot allow the states to make marriage legal between two people of the same sex. (Even if they promise not to have sex?) Fair enough, that's their argument. Even if the passage condemning homosexuality (and sex with animals, which makes me wonder why Christians aren't against men being alone with calves) is right next to passages that command we publicly stone our children when they don't behave.
This argument at least is easy to dismiss for an atheist, and other non-Christians.
But now, as reported today in the New York Times, some random couple have come forth with a different argument against same-sex marriage: It's not natural. (Yeah, I know it's not really a new argument.)
"It takes a man and a woman to create children and thus create a family," Mrs. Galloway, 60, told a legislative panel in Connecticut last year as it was considering a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.
"If you can't have children, you may not marry," seems to be the argument. However, to much amusement of mine, the couple explains how they tried to have children, but were unable. (All right, they don't exactly explain how.)
By protecting heterosexual marriage, what "we're trying to do is protect the foundation of society," Mrs. Galloway, a volunteer worker from Trumbull, Conn., said in a telephone interview on Saturday.
The "foundation of society" hinging on the institution of marriage, I gather. The question then is how same-sex marriages would undermine this foundation.
The notion that gender roles are unimportant in raising children is "bunk", added Mrs. Galloway. "It is not an accident that it takes a man and a woman coming together to create a child," she said.
To create a child, no. But to raise it? In some societies children are raised exclusively by women, in others they are raised solely by men once they reach a certain age. In other words, if a gay couple somehow manages to have a child, raising it should not be an issue?
Both sides are armed with sociological studies: one set showing that children prosper better with a mother and father; the other showing that children of same-sex parents are just as healthy and well-adjusted. Connecticut began allowing gay couples to adopt eight years ago.
In other words, no conclusive evidence either way. And yet,
Mr. Galloway, whose father died when he was 3, said being raised solely by women - his mother and his aunts - hindered his development and altered his sense of self-worth.
How does he know how he was raised hindered his development? Or that it altered anything? How does he know how he would have turned out if his father (or another man) had been around? That he's mildly socially retarded could have any number of causes. Perhaps because he was raised as a Christian? Or because of the trauma of losing a loving parent at a young age?
Mr. Galloway adds:
How can you be a bigot when you're looking out for society as a whole?
Because being a bigot means that you are stubbornly convinced of the correctness of your point of view, and prejudiced against those who oppose you. The NYT article does not tell me enough about him to decide whether he's a bigot or not, but I would suggest he is at least deluding himself if he thinks he is looking out for society as a whole. He has no solid evidence that what he supports will make society better, and there is plenty of reason to believe that he is really just a homophobe. If it wasn't because the couple say they aren't:
While they are Christians, the Galloways say they refuse to use religion to defend their view of marriage because it just muddies things. And they insist they are accepting of everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.
Accepting how? To have sex any way they want, but just not to have papers on each other? If two guys are married, precisely how will that undermine the "foundation of society?" To me, the law is the foundation of society, and that law is not written in stone, but can change when society feels it is time. Many people feel now is time to allow two men or two women to marry, so that they may enjoy the same benefits as married heterosexuals, and show the rest of society that they love each other. Three cheers for the Connecticut Supreme Court for ruling that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.
P.S. While married, I personally don't have the urge to proclaim to anyone else that this is my woman, or whatever. I feel that we are married because we have made an agreement between the two of us to stay together and take care of each other. That's enough for me. But we needed the papers for the benefits, so we married.