Let me start off by saying I respect your opinions and your right to have them, so I hope everyone does the mature thing and respects my opinions as well as my right to have opinions. Also, this is a long ranting post that you're not obligated to read, but if you feel the need to comment, educate yourself and read the whole post. Many thanks!! :)
Now, there are a couple of issues right now that really irk me, and our government is seriously having a hard time deciding on them. I don't normally care about politics, because in the end, most politicians will do the bidding of whoever lines their pockets best. But there are two issues hitting close to home for me, and I need to get this off my chest.
The first issue is equal rights for same sex couples. "But Ashley, you're married to a man, aren't you?" Yes. But that doesn't mean squat when it comes to rights. The issue that's up for debate isn't whether or not we should force people to like same sex marriages. You don't have to like it. You don't have to like my marriage. Hell, you don't have to like your OWN marriage. But you expect people to respect your marriage, same as I do. I expect you to acknowledge that I am married and allow me the rights afforded to me by the Constitution. The biggest conflict on this issue is that in the bible, a marriage is defined by a woman and a man. I won't debate religion with you, I haven't the energy to take that on right now. But I will just throw out there that the bible was written a rather lengthy time after the events themselves are purported to have happened, and until the written word was developed, the stories were passed down by word of mouth, and much of what actually transpired may have been lost and/or distorted in translation.
But that really isn't the point. The point is religion has no place in this discussion of constitutional rights, courtesy of the separation of church and state. There is no shortage of religions in the US, and they don't all agree with the Christian theory of one woman/one man, so this debate shouldn't even exist with a topic like constitutional rights. Nowhere in the constitution does it say marriage is defined only by the Christian religion, or that it's only one man and one woman. I'm not saying the Christian religion is right or wrong. I'm saying this doesn't even need to be debated.
But IF you're going to debate it, let's take a look at some of the reasons religious groups are objecting to equal rights.
1. The bible says marriage is between a man and a woman. Well, that may be true, but the definition of marriage has already changed enough with the ever-changing society that I can see no harm same sex marriage can do. If we stick with the true definition of marriage as outlined in the bible, any woman who is not a virgin on her wedding night would be stoned to death. In that case, I should be dead, as should all of my friends, nearly my whole family, and about half the female population. There's no real way to determine statistics here, but let's just say the female population would be decimated if we rounded up every female that was not a virgin on her wedding day or who is still unmarried and not a virgin, and stoned them to death, which is what the bible calls for. Is that what these people think should happen too? I'm not really trying to be a smartass, it kind of comes naturally, but really let that sink in. If we abide by everything the bible taught in ye olden days, how many of us all would be persecuted for the countless sins we've committed? So, how many deaths at the hands of religion are we talking here? Does it become okay to kill someone because they're not a virgin? Perhaps this argument should be tossed.
2. Same sex marriage destroys the sanctity of marriage. I'm really not going to waste a lot of time or energy on this. I'm just going to ask how much more can we really destroy the "sanctity" of marriage when we have people like Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian, Charlie Sheen, Dennis Rodman, and countless others who are already ruining the sanctity of marriage? How can homosexual people really do worse than that? When approximately 50% of all marriages end in divorce? Do you hear that? About HALF of all heterosexual marriages fail. They break the contract that binds them "till death do us part." How's that for sanctity of marriage?
3. Marriages are performed in a church by a religious officiant, and are a contract between the couple and God. No. Marriages are a contract between the couple and the STATE, and can be performed in nearly any venue by a number of non-religious officiants, including the judge. In fact, I got married in a courthouse by the judge. Wanna tell me my marriage doesn't count?
4. There's not enough research on how it will affect the development of children if raised by a same sex couple. Not enough research? Well, let me start by saying I spent the first ten years of my life being raised by my grandmother and great-grandmother, and my aunt was an ever-present entity in my life. I was raised in a home full of women for more than half of my childhood, and I was happy. I turned out fine. In fact, it was when I was in a home with an unhappy marriage that I struggled, and guess what? It was a heterosexual couple. Oh, and I should mention, they're currently going through a divorce. Yep, its SO dangerous to let a kid be raised by two women or two men. So incredibly dangerous. I mean, look at me...
5. Procreation will drop and the human race will dwindle in numbers. Not quite. Have you looked at the number of people alive in the world? Do you really think that same sex couples can't or won't have artificial insemination or surrogate parents? If the inability to bear children is reason enough to deny the right to marry, then I suppose this is the third or fourth time my own marriage can be called into question. And let's look at all the overpopulated group homes and the number of children in foster care. Heterosexual couples don't exactly have the greatest success rate with procreating responsibly. At least same sex couples will have a child they WANT and that will work hard to raise. They don't just pop them out because they can't keep their legs closed or wrap their member, then give them up or lose them because they can't care for them. Yep. Welfare is going broke paying out the wazoo for all the children who are in foster care or are wards of the state, the population is out of control already, and same sex marriage is going to just demolish the human race. Sometimes I wonder if people ever actually LISTEN to themselves talk.
6. It's a slippery slope my friend-allowing same sex marriage will only encourage more people to be homosexual, and eventually can lead to the legalization of beastiality and incest and all kinds of other groups coming out demanding rights...where will it end? As for encouraging homosexuality, there are already same sex couples that are either married, married but not recognized, or just living together as partners. They are not going to change that by denying them the right to marry. It would be the same as if suddenly we didn't acknowledge heterosexual marriage. The same number of people would be heterosexual, they wouldn't just stop being straight just because the court said they can't get married. They'd still have sex with their chosen partner regardless of your beliefs! This is just a silly argument. Now the part about it leading to other groups demanding rights, that's something we can't even pretend to predict. But we're not talking about marrying two separate species, we're talking about humans. Same sex couples are in a relationship with other humans. This is in no way related to marrying a llama or a goat or a chicken. As for incest, that hurts one or more people. A man and a man or a woman and a woman getting married would only hurt the ego of people who are against it. Oh, and as for people who demand rights for polygamy, there are some religions that truly believe polygamy is okay. If someone believes their deity is okay with them being married to seven different people, then that's their religious beliefs. But again, separation of church and state. We're still talking about the human rights of same sex couples. Not whether or not it's okay to have sex with your brother or a goat. That's not up for debate.
I didn't hit on every point that's being argued, because let's face it, if you've read this far, you're probably getting bored or you want to kick me in the face. But there's a very real reason that I'm posting this. I have friends and members of my family who are homosexual and bisexual, and you know what sets them apart from me when it comes to relationships? I'm allowed to marry my husband (although, that has come into question a few times judging by the arguments against same sex marriage) and they aren't. But I want to point out one very important detail. This isn't about whether or not you like their sexual orientation. This is about denying human beings the basic rights afforded to one group but not to another. We're not standing together for equal rights because we just want to see everyone marry whoever they want. Sure, it'd be nice. But it's because if one of my homosexual friends or family members' partners die, they don't get treated like spouses. Custody of their children come into question, possession of funds and property are denied. Health insurance and social security are denied, and extra taxes may be assessed. All because some people don't like homosexual people.
I know not all Christians think this way, and I'm truly very sorry if you're Christian and aren't one of those who oppose to all humans having human rights. But if I offended you, think about how offended I am that the people I care about deeply are being denied basic human rights. The people I love are being told that due to religious reasons, they're not allowed to be happy and have the same rights as heterosexual people, even though what they're seeking isn't special treatment or even for you to approve of their love. They just want what is their constitutional right, having nothing to do with religion.
I'm a straight woman, married to a man, and I stand up for equal rights for same sex couples.