The following post was originally sent out on the gay politics yahoo list by an HR consultant in San Francisco. It is used here with permission. You can reach the author directly at this email address: email@example.com
What the "Attack on Marriage" Really Means
The press release posted on the website for James Dobson's Focus On the Family screamed it's headline, "Focus on the Family Denounces Attack on Marriage". I had to shake my head. Always when the subject of equal rights for gay and lesbian couples is part of our national discourse conservative evangelicals always claim it is an "attack" on marriage and the family. So I decided to look up the word `attack' in the dictionary. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines it as:
Etymology: Middle French attaquer, from (assumed) Old Italian estaccare to attach, from stacca stake, of Germanic origin; akin to Old English staca transitive senses
1 : to set upon or work against forcefully
2 : to assail with unfriendly or bitter words
3 : to begin to affect or to act on injuriously
4 : to set to work on
5 : to threaten (a piece in chess) with immediate capture intransitive senses : to make an attack
6: the act or action of setting upon with force or violence
Hmmm… to set upon or work against forcefully huh? Ok, so if we take the argument of Dobson and company seriously, to give gay couples the same rights as straight couples, not more rights, not any new rights that straight couples do not currently have, but only the exact same rights, would injure, damage and potentially even destroy heterosexual marriages and families.
Wow. I guess I only have one question then. How? Would gay marriage mean that straight couples would lose any of the 1,100 federal benefits and protections that they currently have? Would legal gay marriage mean straight couples couldn't file joint tax returns, have, adopt or raise children, pass on social security survivor benefits, or make medical decisions for each
other? Would the legalization of marriage for gays and lesbians mean that straight people could no longer marry and those who were married had to get divorced? Would the marriages or families of any heterosexual change in any way?
The answer of course is no it wouldn't. When faced with these facts , fundamentalist Christians generally fire back with three arguments. The first, is the claim that God says being gay is
sinful because the bible says so. This might make sense if the United States was a theocracy where church ruled the state. Then divorce would be a criminal offense. The fifty percent of
heterosexual couples that avail themselves of divorce I am sure are thankful this is not the case.
The second argument is even more fun. Allowing gay marriage will lead to polygamy, bestiality, pedophile marriages, and who knows what else. Yet civil marriage is and has only ever been
about two and ONLY two consenting adults of no direct family relation. Find me the person who truly wants to marry their dog, and for that matter, find me a dog who is over 18 years old, can
read and then sign a marriage application and can then say the words "I do". Then this argument might be worth taking seriously.
The third argument used against gay marriage is actually a bit more honest on their part. Conservative evangelicals say that gay marriage cheapens or lessens the value of the institution of marriage in the eyes of society. But since none of the marriage rights or benefits that straight couples have would change if gays were able to marry, what opponents of gay marriage are really saying is that letting gay couples marry cheapens their straight marriages in their eyes. Letting gays and lesbians get married means they now have a right that only heterosexuals had. And that makes them mad. It's not just that Dobson and the like want to prevent gays and lesbians from having equal rights, they want make sure that gays and lesbians have as few rights as possible, if any at all. They see equal rights for everyone as an attack on them.
That's interesting. Even though James Dobson's marriage clearly would not change in ANY way, he firmly believes that his marriage would lose value, status and might even come to an end, if gay couples were able to marry. It suddenly occurred to me there is another word for someone who is irrationally fixed on the artificial preservation of inequality that they feel is in their favor. Merriam-Webster's dictionary has the same word for it.
Etymology: Middle French, hypocrite, bigot
1: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices
This small group of even smaller minds, who out of fear of losing what they feel is their superiority, want to take their religious beliefs and codify them into civil law, then force them on the rest of us.
They are bigots. And it is long past time we said so.
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