Whew. Heady stuff. But I couldn’t get the subject of gay marriage out of my mind while receiving acupuncture treatment today. Weird, I know. But acupuncture gives you 15-30 minutes of uninterrupted thinking time, and I really got to thinking.
In the interest of full disclosure, I happen to be very liberal when it comes to social issues. I firmly believe in the section of the Constitution that guarantees life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to all human beings in our country, so I very easily reconcile support for gay marriage. But not everyone arrives at that belief so easily.
Before I go any further, let me say that I don’t believe this to be a political debate. There is nothing political about ethics beliefs. And the great thing about ethics is that you can believe in your own set of ethics and nobody can make you believe otherwise. Believing that two homosexual individuals shouldn’t be able to get married (or get a civil union, or anything else of the like) is neither right nor wrong; rather, it is a belief of ethics. It may be a belief I disagree with, but my belief is no better nor worse than the opposite. I think it’s important to try and think and to argue on this level.
Where we run into problems is when we legislate based on ethics (or even worse, on religious beliefs). The arguments against gay marriage is that it is unnatural, that “God” didn’t intend for it, the Bible argues against it, and that it leads to decay of society. You of course have to put aside any religious arguments, since the Constitution explicitly calls for separation of church and state. The decay of society argument has of course never been proven by any individual or institution; neither has the opposite of course. I would doubt anything could ever be proven on either side of the argument.
It’s the “unnatural” argument that hits me the hardest. Those of us in the infertility community support each other every day in our quest to do what comes so natural to so many other couples…but there are many others in certain groups and religions that find what we are doing to be “unnatural” and “wrong”:
How do we define “unnatural?” Who gets to decide what qualifies? I guess the hard-line Catholics would say God does…but not everyone believes in THAT god. We don’t make laws based on God’s word….that’s a great way to end up with Christianity’s answer to Shar’ia.
I live in Minnesota, where we are the latest state to have to answer this question. In November 2012, we will be asked on our ballot whether or not we support the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. I can’t help but wonder how it would feel to see a constitutional amendment proposed to ban attempts at pregnancy from any other means than sexual intercourse. How would that make me feel? How would that make our community feel? People feeling so strongly against what we are trying to do (which is bring more love into this world) that they want to make it illegal? And perhaps that is next; if gay marriage is outlawed completely, perhaps they’ll seek a way to make sure they can’t have kids. Perhaps heterosexual couples would be affected first-hand at that point. I know I’m reaching, but I can’t help but wonder…
Ethics are important. And ethics can differ from one person to another. Discussions and arguments on ethics can be lively, educational, informative, and, well, fun. But once we start legislating on ethics in order to make sure a certain group of people can’t pursue that happiness that the rest of us take for granted, that simply can’t be supported. And quite frankly, it hits way too close to home.