Tuesday, June 28, 2011

New York, New York

I had thought of interrupting my weekend to post about the New York legislature's historic passage of same-sex marriage, but I figured it could wait.

I've said before that I haven't yet heard an argument against marriage equality for homosexuals that isn't at least implicitly religious.  What other reason is there to care?  Apart from the obvious and sensible cultural prohibitions against rape, incest, and child molestation (which have nothing whatsoever to do with religion), there's really not much reason to care at all about anyone's sexual proclivities.  There are few things more offensive and laughable than the absurd notion that extending a social institution like marriage to gays and lesbians is some sort of a threat to the institution.  How?  What difference did it make to my marriage that a few million more people can get married today than could last week?

More to the point, and I think this is why a few brave Republicans in the New York legislature came around on this issue, letting gays and lesbians enter the institution of marriage is, ultimately, a conservative position.  Rather than wanting to tear down the institution (the radical position), homosexuals are simply asking to join the rest of us in having access to the estate of marriage.  Conservatives should be applauding that.  These people want to join in an institution that promotes societal values of love, care, and loyalty.

At the same time, I suspect that that is precisely why some on the political Right oppose allowing gays and lesbians to marry.  Think about it.  Much of your homophobia in society is based on some very powerful stereotypes.  Namely, that all gay men are pedophiles (read the arguments the Boy Scouts made in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale and you'll see what I mean - the BSA essentially argues that gays shouldn't be allowed in because they all want to rape young boys) and that homosexuals in general are more promiscuous than heterosexuals.  The first of these is a category error.  The second is an outright falsehood created by idiots.  Allowing homosexuals to marry each other destroys both of these stereotypes.  Child rapists aren't interested in getting married, nor are people who just want to have a lot of casual sex with many different partners.  Instead, we're all going to find out that gays and lesbians are a lot like heterosexuals: Some are interested in monogamy, some aren't.  And homosexual rape has a long, long way to go before it's anywhere near as prevalent as heterosexual rape (or rape condoned by the very same religious institutions opposing equality for homosexuals, i.e. the Catholic Church).  Once you destroy those myths about gays and lesbians, all you have left is the "ew" factor.  Some people don't like to think about the way homosexuals have sex.  Then again, those same people would probably be appalled at the way some straight people have sex.  But in any case, it isn't the role of the government to regulate what two (or more) consenting adults do in private.  The government's reach in that sphere extends only so far as these three questions: 1) Is it incest?  2) Are all involved adults legally able to give consent?  3) Has such consent been given?  That's it.

New York, at least, seems to have gotten that message.  And so, in honor of New York's historic achievement, I give you Roy Zimmerman performing "Defenders of Marriage."  Enjoy.

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