In an effort to prevent the five or ten private messages I get a week on the issue, I’m writing this blog post. I started to post it on Facebook, but figured it would get enough traffic to be worthy of a post here instead. Besides, now I can just refer people to this URL instead of answering stupid questions repeatedly.
First off, why the hell do so many people each week ask me that question? What makes ANYONE think I’m a reputable source from which to determine your own opinion. Either you want to say “Good, I agree” or you want to be able to say “Tommy hates gays.” Either way, why do people that don’t know me care? I’m not running for political office. I don’t need to campaign either way on gay issues.
Having said that – My view on gay marriage – My view on gay marriage is that I wish people would stop asking me about my view on gay marriage. But since is appears you’re NOT going to stop And if I have one, as long as I’m not tossing it about Facebook and prosthelytizing it, why would you care what I think about it? Since thousands of people DO seem to care, I’ve given it some serious thought before answering. Either way I’m guaranteed to offend someone, so I might as well get it out of the way.
Personally, I’m a Christian, so I’m going to get deep here for a moment. Follow along carefully before you posit your own thoughts.
The act of two people (of any sex) choosing to live together socially, for a variety of reasons, goes back thousands of years. It’s a social construct that has roots WAY back in history and I could list hundreds of anthropological reasons for it. (safety in numbers, splitting tasks, companionship, etc) So, two people choosing to live together and consider themselves mates is a theme as old as the hills. Let’s agree on that much. That act or choice of two people sticking together for these reasons has no specific roots in the the bible, so let’s leave that out of it for the purposes of this conversation. Cohabitating or mating for life is an act of nature. People do it. Gibbons monkeys do it. Swans do it. So do vultures, angelfish, wolves, albatrosses, termites, voles, doves, some forms of worms, and even bald eagles. Many animals pick a mate and stick with them for reasons of their own, to share a dwelling, split up tasks, and to provide companionship, raise yound, defend one another, make life more interesting, etc. Can we agree on that much?
The WORD marriage comes from an old French word, “marier” or to be wed. It was adopted into the English translation of the bible in 1611 though the word itself predates the 1611 translation by 300 years. Variations of the word, in reference to a man and woman, occurs 19 times in the bible. The word married appears 30 times. The word marrying occurs twice. Marry appears 22 times, and the verb marrieth appears 4 times.
Yes, the bible considers the “WORD” marriage to be between a man and a woman.
In fact the most base definition of the word is “The formal union of a man and a woman.” The bible, for the most part, has been an integral part of civilization for many cultures for long enough in human history to be considered a critical source of guidance for many hundreds of millions of people throughout history, myself included.
To jump forward to modern day, from what I know from news media and having quite a large number of gay friends myself, what gay people seek is recognition of their status for social, legal, medical, religious, and other reasons. They want the same benefits that “married” people have. They want to be able to adopt kids. They want partner benefits from insurance, and after-death issues. They want partner benefits or the decision to make medical decisions for a partner who is on life support. Quite honestly they also probably want a recognized social term that recognizes the union of two people of the same sex.
Fine…. how about just pick a word that doesn’t offend all the people that have viewed it as a man and woman for hundreds of years? The word “marriage” and “spouse” are both defined, and have been for almost a thousand years, as a social construct existing between a man and a woman.
Example (and yes, this is extreme on purpose, but it will maybe flip the tables a little bit). Couples that are gay are defined by that term to many. Ok fine. Well, if we started applying the word “gay” to sexual intercourse between a human and an animal, EVERY gay person would flip out! (as they should,right? That term is currently called beastiality by the way, and yes, intercourse or mating between a human and a non-human is even legal in some countries.) Gay people across the world would feel the sanctity of their status was being completely misrepresented and applied to something completely not related to what they intended when the word was adopted, and to something that MOST of us consider down right abhorrent, right?
I believe that many heterosexual people feel the same way. They feel that the word “married” is between a man and a woman. Ok..let the straight folks have their word. Pick another. Call it “hitched” or “Tied” or come up something entirely new altogether that represents the concept. Hell, call it Swiss! lol (Sleeping with in same sex) lol. It doesn’t matter what they call it. (Come to think of it, that’s funny.. Hey are you married? No, we’re swiss. *puzzled expression follows*)
I personally think most straight people fight the issue of gay marriage because they believe same-sex relations isn’t what the word itself means, and they’d be right, according to the dictionary and human history.
If gay couples petitioned for rights under a term or word hat DID NOT offend so many people heterosexual people, they’d PROBABLY have a greater chance of the non-gay community signing off on the deal in Washington.
Personally, I have no opinion either way. I consider marriage to be between a man and a woman, but then I also think bacon should be a flavor of ice cream offered at Baskin Robbins. I have MANY gay friends and their friendship means the world to me, so I’ve avoided this conversation online for many years because there is no right answer. Why would I want to offend the people I love and consider friends just to answer to a few of you I don’t know and could care less about? And why does anyone want to know my opinion on it anyway? My gay friends don’t care what I think about it. They’re gay. I’m straight. Some have long hair. I have short hair (and grey -_- ). They don’t look down on me for my hair style. It’s just not an issue. The point is, none of us care one whit about the other’s sexual preference – except to the extent that it makes for some REALLY interesting conversations on my back patio sometimes!!
So, here’s my advice on the issue – and you can take it for what it’s worth – stop trying to change the historical meaning of a word that has appeared in dictionaries for almost 1,000 years. Rather than change the dictionary, just pick a new word.
Those that want to advocate recognition of a social status reflecting the same social, medical, and other benefits afforded “married” couples should have a national campaign..seriously.. a HUGE one… and I mean FRICKIN HUGE! Crowd source the idea amongst the millions of gay people world-wide. No straight people get a vote… Let Ellen run the media campaign! Run a year long campaign and come up with a new WORD for the union you seek. After all, in human history, it’s a relatively new social construct you’re wanting to create – the formal recognition of two men or two women to have all the same benefits and entitlements of couples that are “married.”
And while we’re at it, I swear to GOD I’ll banhammer the first idiot that says “then what’s your view abortion or women’s rights?” I’ll answer that one too – real simply. I don’t have a vagina… so I shouldn’t be allowed to legislate one. Fair enough?
I’ve said my peace on the matter. What I do NOT want, is 50 million Facebook message dumped in my inbox telling me that either I’m awesome or that I’m going to Hell. I don’t really care what your opinion on. My opinion on gay issues of all sorts extends no farther than how it affects the friends I have that are gay. Gay or straight, tall or short, their friendships mean more to me than the inbox replies from a bunch of people I don’t know.
If you have a comment on the issue, that’s what the comment box below is for. Use it.
Have a good day y’all!