Marriage Equality and the Power of Words

I had some thoughts while I was vacuuming the house today, an activity that usually stimulates extreme mind wandering (once I had a whole thing about being a crew member on the Enterprise NCC-1701).

Today, my thoughts were less pleasant.  This morning, I was reading online about the pending Supreme Court actions, one of which may hopefully be to strike DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) off the books.

I tried to imagine how we got to the point where we let such a blatantly unconstitutional law become a thing. No matter how I tried to justify it, to see the other side, it just completely baffled me.

Not unlike my face at that moment.

Not unlike my face at that moment.

Image:  stockimage/

It bothered me so much that I sent the Supreme Court a message on their website—which they probably won’t see, but it made me feel better.  How could my words persuade them?  What power do they have?

What would I say if any of my elderly or younger relatives asked me to explain this to them?  What words would I choose?  Maybe it would go something like this:

You see, gay people exist.  It’s nature.  Has to be, because it shows up in animals.  To nature, we’re not that special; we’re just big, bald primates.  Other animals (sharks, bears, worms, etc.) can eat us.  Some religious people (not all) think that gay people should not exist, that they’re choosing to be sinners and should not be allowed to get married.  They think being gay is against God.

Regardless of how you feel about God, Jesus, Buddha, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster, DOMA is unconstitutional.  The reasons are very simple.

  1.  The U.S. Constitution says that Congress cannot enact a law that is based on one religion.  Doesn’t matter what the majority religion is; we all have the right to worship as we please.  To push a law through that is based on religion steps on the rights of free worship.  Why?  Because in a society where we are all free to worship as we please, many people will not believe what the law says.
  2. The ONLY objection to marriage equality is a religious one.  DOMA is based on a Christian belief—that of marriage being solely between a man and a woman.  Problem with their belief is, it’s not entirely historically accurate, nor does it apply to every citizen of the U.S.  Plenty of citizens are not Christian.  Plenty of Christians do not believe this.
  3. Therefore, following the logic of the first point, DOMA is unconstitutional.
  4. Marriage equality has nothing to do with church anyway.  It’s about going to the courthouse and getting a marriage license.  You don’t have to belong to any religion to do that.  You don’t have to set foot in a church either; but if you want to be legally married, you DO have to get a marriage license.

If you are not legally married, you do not have the legal rights that a married couple has—property, inheritance rights, etc.  You are not considered family and cannot visit a critically-ill or dying partner in many hospitals.  This can be true whether you are gay, or straight and living with your partner.

What about children? Well, plenty of people have babies without benefit of marriage, and plenty of married heterosexuals are either unable to have kids, or choose not to.

All gay people want is the right to go to the courthouse, like any other adult, taxpaying, U.S. citizen, and get a marriage license with the person they love.  That’s it.  No one cares what religion anyone belongs to.

PatioCat How come can get married

Photograph by Elizabeth West

PatioCat has a point here.  Hypothetical situation time:  let’s say I decided to become a Satanist.

I’m now worshiping Satan.  I go to Black Mass regularly.  Hey, I’m saying “Hail Satan.”  The Devil.  The Bad Guy.  Fire and brimstone, baby.

While I’m at my little Ritual of Not-God, I meet a man—let’s call him Anton.  We date for a while and then decide we want to get married.  Yippee.

Let’s now visit my very real high school friend (I’ll call her Zoe).  Zoe is a Christian.  She plays the piano (beautifully!) at her church.  Zoe is gay, and she has a partner I’ll call Bella.  They have been together for 17-odd years or so and have legally adopted eight (or maybe it’s nine—I’m not sure) special needs and hard-to-place kids. They are the epitome of what it means to be Christian—they care for others, they give back to their church and community, they love animals, and they are extremely nice people.

Now why is it okay for Anton and me to go to the courthouse and get a marriage license if we don’t even worship God, but it’s not okay for Zoe and Bella, merely because they aren’t heterosexual?

That makes absolutely no sense.  Why is this so stupid?  Because it’s wrong to use your personal beliefs—which are, as the name implies, personal—to control somebody else’s life?

Even a cat can see that.  I sincerely hope the Supreme Court can, as well as the rest of the people in this country.  DOMA has to go.  I had to write this post today, for my friends and loved ones who are affected by this backward, unlawful edict.

We should all use the power of our words to poke holes in fallacies, to educate and enlighten.  We need to do this, not only to help our gay fellows gain the rights they should have, but to keep our own freedoms strong.

Don’t be afraid of knowledge.  It is power:  not to control, but to stop someone else’s ignorance and bigotry from controlling you.  You may think you’re right, but you may actually be wrong.  And that’s okay—it leaves you free to learn.  That’s why God gave us brains, isn’t it?

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