I have a friend who often wonders why people care about the personal lives of other people. Why does anyone care whether somebody chooses to be single or married, have children or not, wants to sleep with this one or that one? Yet, it is undeniable that some people do care. Perhaps it is nothing more than powerless people attempting to force their lives on others in some vain attempt to feel superior, because their choices are “right” and that makes them feel better about themselves.
Some small few no doubt have deeply seeded religious notions (however wrong I may adjudge them) that urges them to compel others to live as they do, while paying lip service to a “religious freedom” that they conveniently reserve only for themselves. A great many more use religion as a shield to their own perhaps unconscious fears that they have certain stirrings which occur when the subject comes up, stirrings contrary to their definition of fitting into their particular group.
As polling suggests, the country continues to move more and more strongly in the direction of marriage equality. And the small, but adamant religious right, continues to voice its disapproval. But if it were this alone, we could all be content to “let the hater’s hate” with their pretense of “hating the sin, while loving the sinner.” Life always contains such out of the mainstream extremes so it seems.
But it is of course not “this alone.” This vocal and increasingly violent speaking segment continues to come up with innovative ways of making their animus known and felt. In reddish states across the nation (some six at the present with another half-dozen who have recently turned down such legislation), Republicans attempt to legislate bigotry in the face of a growing certainty that marriage equality will soon be the law of the land.
Republicans in general and those who appear to be running for President, reel like drunken sailors attempting to negotiate a rational path that both satisfies the “law or the one anticipated” and their growingly hostile base which insists on purity on this issue as on others. Of course there ends up being nothing rational at all in their stance.
Bush, Rubio, and Cruz are more than vocal in their support of the new mantra, that somehow there must be laws to protect the “religious” rights of people not to engage with gay people in their businesses if they don’t want to. There is no doubt that Huck, and Christie and Paul, and certainly Carson and Jindal agree as well. The fact that the argument is farcical is of no import. It “sounds” good, and that is always enough for the Right to pursue against a populace usually too busy with daily life to seriously disassemble the argument.
It’s all about religious freedom and not discriminating against Christians they intone. But is it?
As Jon Stewart pointed out, the florist who can’t bring themselves to sell flowers to a gay couple for their wedding, doesn’t even ask the trice about-to-be married man or woman, whom arguably Jesus would call adulterers. It doesn’t inquire into the criminal background of the pedophile, or the swindler before selling them a bouquet for their home. It doesn’t inquire of the drug dealer, murderer, before selling them the “wedding special.” All these instances are surely as egregious to God as the couple who has the temerity to love without benefit of the “right” plumbing arrangements.
These pieces of legislation are simply ruses to make you and I abide by somebody else’s personal preferences or to guard against their personal fears. Naming it “God’s will” doesn’t change a thing.
People talk about “deeply held religious beliefs” on the part of the florist or photographer. How is one to make that determination? By asking? By church attendance? By tithing amounts?
People talk about “next church’s will be forced to perform marriages against their tenets.” Really? Who has ever asked for that? There is no law in this country that attempts to interfere directly in church operations. Is anyone stopping the Westboro Baptist church from preaching hate every Sunday? Has anyone suggested that we should?
People talk about forcing people to serve others against their religious views. Well, yes, they are being told that. They are serviced, those businesses, by fire and police, they pay taxes, they receive water and electricity, the meet building codes, and sanitation requirements. They are in a fact engaged in a public endeavor, using city and state services. They are in a phrase, engaged in commerce, a public event. As such, this is simply one more general requirement of engaging in a public business–NOT DISCRIMINATING AGAINST PEOPLE BECAUSE THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT THEM YOU DON’T PERSONALLY LIKE. Live with it, or get out of public sector business.
People like Rubio and Bush and Cruz attempt to draw some lines, such as “well we don’t mean they can’t be served in a restaurant.” Why not? How is that different from a florist? Which businesses are magically exempt? Will Hobby Lobby and it’s fakery about being offended by contraceptive care when it buys most of its inventory from abortion friendly China get the exemption?
People say that being gay is a choice. The question always becomes, so when did you “decide” to be straight? But putting aside the “gotcha”, why do religionists insist upon this “choice” thing? The weight of the evidence is that there is a genetic component which probably is in some way triggered by one’s environment. Or perhaps it is all genetic. Whatever it is it is not a choice, for even in today’s liberalizing environment, who would choose gayness with all its inherent problems? Surely more gays today are happy with their gayness, but at the point of decision would they have chosen this fight? Precious few of us desire to be martyrs.
The reason the religionists need gayness to be a choice is that is simply solves a lot of theological problems for them, and thinking makes religionists heads hurt. If it’s not a choice, then God made gays that way and it must be good if you read Genesis literally. So explain why God makes gay people and then demands of them to ignore the most basic of human needs and desires–sex? They can’t of course, so therefore, it must be a choice. It keeps the theology tidy.
And of course, if Gay is not a choice, there goes the argument that “gays are out recruiting your children” argument. It makes as much sense as saying that people who love surfing go out recruiting your children to be surfers.
This is just painful to write. Because as I type away, laying out the arguments, I try to imagine what it must feel like to be the subject of such an essay. People talk about gays and blacks and browns and women, and all minorities fighting for equality as if they were subjects on a chessboard. I say “the gays” or “women believe” as if they were some homogeneous pat of butter to be added or subtracted to the mix of human stew.
This sort of thing needs to stop being discussed because we need to stop putting people in these awful categories of “people like me” and “people not like me.” It’s all artificial, all just a disguise for our own hates and fears, and confusion.
People are people. Love is love. Let people work out for themselves whom they love. Let them live as they choose with whom they love. Let them arrange their love in whatever form works for them, and mind your own freakin’ business. Nobody wants to watch you groping and rolling in your bed with your love.
Don’t get me started on “then somebody will want to marry a horse,” crap. Just don’t.
As my husband says, the doorbell has still not wrung with my government-issued gay husband that I have to marry. Isn’t that enough for you bigots?