I have come to the conclusion that any recommendations about the GOP’s need to soul-search will likely fall on deaf ears. For as soon as I had sent the article in, I heard a barrage of media commentators claiming that the country is still “center-right” based on same-sex marriage bans in three states. I ask this question of the GOP, “What are you doing?” After eight years of dragging your feet, do you want to become even more marginalized as a party? Because championing a law of division, and more importantly, inequality, is the kind of game that has left you in this sorry mess.
Firstly, let’s take an honest look at that “center-right” argument. It very well might be true. However, the post-election analysis has concluded the demographic division between for and against Proposition 8 split largely over age. We may be center-right currently, but ideology is shifting. Moreover, many of those questioned after the vote said they voted for Proposition 8 because they “didn’t want their husband or wife to run off and be with someone of the same sex.” First of all, what does that mindset say about you as a spouse if you fear driving your significant other away? Further, proponents of Proposition 8 and other similar campaigns have to seriously consider who supports them with initiatives. For example, the Mormon Church by and large helped to bankroll the support of Proposition 8. Oh yeah, when I think one man and one woman, I think of the Mormon Church.
We have to consider what we are being told about marriage. The most common argument I have heard is the slippery slope argument stating that if we allow gay marriage, what is to stop civil unions between people and animals. In other words, the opponent of gay marriage wants you to assume that point A, allowing gay marriage, will inevitably lead to point B, allowing marriage between a person and a llama. This would be true if those for gay marriage were advocating that marriage be defined as a union between two loving organisms. Unfortunately for those in the pro-Proposition 8 crowd, proponents of gay marriage are just asking that marriage be defined as something between two consenting adults, and thus, the slippery slope argument falls apart because it fails to link point A and point B.
Another argument, one I hear less often, and possibly the most laughable, is the argument that legalizing gay marriage somehow tears at the fabric of American life. How? I have yet to hear any sort of coherent argument, or numbers, or anything that validates the claim. The argument is usually prefaced by some sort of talk of ruining the American family. At most I get, “Trust me, allowing gay marriage will be bad for the future of the country.” Thanks for that.
As for marriage itself, can we truthfully say that the institution is not about love? Why are those vows about “being there in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad” even in there, then? Are they simply the window dressing for a ceremony? I think we all realize the foundation of a marriage is the commitment of a loving couple, as opposed to some jingoistic contract with their country.
In this world that promises nothing, a society rife with “fly-by-night” relationships, we are going to deny two people who love each other just a chance at a commitment we enjoy? We come into a cold, mean, unforgiving world searching for something consistent, something we can cling to when the breaks don’t go our way. To deny fellow citizens a chance at something we hold dear would be ruthlessly asinine. Can we simultaneously tell someone they cannot be married because they are different while at the same time trumpeting equality? Robert F. Kennedy put it better than me when he said, “But we can perhaps remember — even if only for a time — that those who live with us are our brothers; that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek — as we do — nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.”