Only months after being granted the right to marry, homosexuals in Maine are in real danger of losing this liberty before they even had a chance to enjoy it as a vote on whether to repeal the young law allowing gay marriage (which originally would take effect in September) is schedule to take place in less than a week.
Proponents of both sides of the argument – Stand for Marriage Maine and Protect Maine Equality – are working at full force to sway the public to their side, and with good reason. The result of this vote affects not only Maine, the only state that has a same-sex marriage question on the ballot, but the entire country as supporters of gay marriage hope for a ballot victory and opponents of gay marriage hope for another nail in the coffin of equal rights for homosexuals: every time the same-sex question has been brought before state voters, the results have supported a ban.
Same-sex marriage is one of the most divisive topics at large today. It seems that few people venture into any sort of gray area about whether homosexuals should be afforded this right – you’re either for it or against it. I personally fall into the former category as I believe in liberty and freedom for all even if I disagree with them. I’m of the mindset that everyone has a right to their own beliefs and views but no right to impose those beliefs and views on other people.
I personally am disgusted with the idea of two men engaging in sexual acts (no offense intended to my gay friends). I’m also disgusted with the idea of eating a frog or smoking a cigarette but I similarly would not begrudge another person’s right to do these things (so long as doing so brings no harm to someone else).
A lot of opponents of same-sex marriage cite morality as a core reason why they feel the way they do. Apparently, these people lack any true understanding of the concept of morality, which is a code of conduct or belief that is arbitrarily and subjectively invented and maintained by society, religion or individual conscience. There are few hard “universal” morals, all of which are based on extreme acts of hostility against your fellow human being.
There are many people who feel that consuming alcohol, watching pornography, gambling, and pre-marital sex are immoral. Does this mean that we, as a society, should make it illegal for anyone to engage in these activities? Of course not, but people are more willing to attack the concept of same-sex marriage because it stems not from an affront to one’s morality but from a personal disgust by certain sexual activities in which homosexuals engage – when one feels such seething hatred towards something, it’s easy to rationalize that everyone must or should feel the same way .
Others claim that allowing same-sex marriages will harm children and destroy the concept of the family. Have these people taken a look at the divorce rate in this country, which is estimated at about 40%? Clearly, the end of a marriage does more harm to children and the concept of a family than the beginning of one, regardless of the genders of the two people involved.
Recent history has shown that heterosexuals in the United States are quite apt to fail at marriage yet have few legal requirements to enter one. Possibly, many people take the right to marry for granted, something that homosexuals, who even now have to fight with every ounce of their being just for a glimmer of hope of obtaining this right, are much less likely to do.
And with few exceptions, the people getting divorces are not thinking so much about their children as they are about themselves. “I can’t stand living with her.” “She doesn’t respect me.” “I’m no longer happy with him.” “I shouldn’t have to put up with this.” Does fear that homosexuals may prove to succeed where they have failed factor into this at all? One has to wonder…
One scare tactic that opponents of gay marriage use (with great effectiveness as seen by the success of California Proposition 8) is that public schools may teach children about it should it be legalized, despite assurances from government officials that this would not be an educational requirement.
The American public’s unnatural and illogical apprehension about anything related to sex aside, I find this excuse to be hilarious in its inadequacy. Is it any easier for parents fearful that teachers or *gasp* they themselves will have to answer questions about human sexuality to broach the subject of heterosexual acts than homosexual acts?
Does anyone really think it would be easier to tell their 10-year-old about a man inserting his penis into a woman’s vagina? More importantly, does anyone really think that the child will react with any more disgust or hilarity (probably both knowing most kids) to one scenario or the other? In the end, it’s all just peepers, wee wees, butts, gineys, etc. – to a kid raised in the typical American household, anything “down there” is bad until you’ve escaped the grasp of your parents, domineering in their attempt to stave off nervousness.
Other opponents of same-sex marriage cite religious beliefs (which may or may not tie into questions of morality) as the basis of their stance. I won’t get into my feelings about organized religion (that’s another divisive topic for another day), but will simply say that a) not everyone follows the same religion; b) there have been religions and societies that have sanctioned same-sex marriages and unions; and c) followers of any one religion have no right to expect followers of other religions (or people who don’t follow any religion at all) to adhere to their belief system.
The more zealous of religious people have historically tried to enforce conformity upon others, and it sets a dangerous precedent when such people are allowed to do so in today’s society. I find it ironic that people living in a country founded on the concept of diversity and tolerance and who frequently proclaim it to be the greatest in the world continue to seek to undermine those principals in a never-ending effort to deny the very same rights they and their ancestors have enjoyed for centuries.
These are sad and disappointing times indeed.
Source: New York Times