Saturday, June 21, 2014

We Really Need this Decided.

Two men who live in Texas fell in love.  They wanted to marry there but couldn't as the law prohibited it.  So they traveled to Washington DC and married, returning home to celebrate with family and friends.  They are legally married and have the documents and all to prove it.  So, like many young married couples they wanted to have a family.  So they used modern science and the help of a surrogate to have two babies.  The process sounds more complicated than it is.  Each of these men contributed sperm, using donor eggs two zygotes were formed, one from each male contributor.  They were then implanted in a surrogate who carried the babies to term.  The surrogate, from my understanding, is not the genetic parent of either child.  So the babies are born and while it is common for married couples to have both their names on the birth certificate and be able to simply adopt a spouses biological child that was blocked by a judge in their home state of Texas.  The birth mother's name is on the birth certificate and the two men have their children but no legal documentation of it.  Simply because they are gay.

What happened during the time the two babies were bring brought into this world, the federal court deemed the Texas law banning gay marriage as unconstitutional.  An immediate stay means Texas still doesn't perform gay marriages nor recognizes them from other states until this winds its way through the courts.  Right wing judges, like in this case, are trying to avoid setting an precedent in the hopes that Texas can remain free of gay marriage.  So two men, married legally and their two children suffer.

What is wrong here?  It is clear that marriage will not be limited to a man and woman in the near future.  Both societal pressure and legal rulings will make it certain that gay couples will be able to be married and recognized for it throughout the union.  While marriage is a state issue, state laws can't trump the US Constitution and there are many federal judges who are seeing that these laws are in violation of rights there in.

I understand there will be objections.  First from religious people who deem homosexuality a sin.  While various interpretations of the scriptures used have modified the absolutist position of the holy texts used, there is certainly an argument that it is a sin and those religions should be allowed to have and even share those beliefs.  But not to the point where they force those beliefs on others.  No one should or is suggesting that the government should force churches to marry and bless unions of any kind that they don't approve of in doctrine.  I personally would fight for any faith tradition that is being attacked by the government.  But those religious doctrine should not stop the government or even other faiths from blessing marriages between two people of the same sex.  A good analogy is that for my people pork is considered forbidden.  It violates Biblical laws of Kashrut.  It is not ambiguous in the Bible (I would argue that prohibition of homosexuality is in the Hebrew Bible but that is a different post). But Jews aren't running around trying to close BBQ places and Butcher Shops.  In fact there is a clear distinction that these rules of eating apply to us, not someone not of the faith or culture.  That is true of many religious laws that Jews follow.  Why should a minority of people who find homosexuality a sin be allowed to use the government to enforce them on others.

Now some argue that with the opening of society to gay marriage they will be forced to participate if they are in a wedding related business and of course they cite examples of bakers who discriminated against a gay couple and others.  But here is the thing.  Your faith does not allow you to trump local and federal laws.  Time and again laws have been put in place that protect the rights of the minority.  If you are in a business that your personal beliefs might be violated by anti-discrimination laws then you can choose to not be open to the public or find another business.  This is true if your beliefs don't allow to be comfortable with gay people marrying each other or races mixing or people who carry guns.  Local laws may require any business open to the public to serve all people within reason.  If you choose to have a business that is open to the public you should figure you are going to serve people who violate your faith's tenets.  People like the bakers often cited didn't seem to have a problem with supplying cakes for second marriages and marriages of people who lived together first.  This seemed to be a specific attack on a gay couple.  That is morally wrong and where they lived it was legally wrong. Though let's be clear it was not criminal.  Damages had to be sought in a civil court system.  Recently there was a bit of thing here in Indy were a popular summer spot was hosting a party and a security guard told a person wanting to join the there were too many black people inside so he was stopping more from entering.  This was seen as universally wrong by people who commented on this story to me.  Why should that same feeling not extend to gay couples who want a cake or other service?

Now the other major factor when it comes to gay marriage is the so-called "ick" factor.  This is where people don't want their government to condone it because they don't like the thought of it, often citing their own children.  Some how a gay couple walking hand-in-hand in public or getting married forces some people to talk about sex to their two-year old but a straight couple not so much.  That seems to be the argument because if government endorses gay marriage then kids will see more gay people openly. I don't understand this argument at all.  Plenty of people think tattoos on women are a sign of lower class.  There is an "ick" factor for them.  You can just check out comments on some Twitter or Facebook feeds.  I have two lovely friends who are sharing their summer bodies on Facebook, and well their ink is not normally as on display in their walking around world.  Some have commented that they think it looks trashy.  (I find it as an amazing form of art).  But in no way is there a movement to outlaw women getting tattoos.  Why?  Because it would be seen as mind-numbingly stupid.  Women have the right to get said tattoos even if you don't like it.  And yes you may have to explain to your child at the beach why that women has writing on her side going into her bathing suit or what that large eagle is doing on another's thigh.  But that is part of parenting.  The world will always be a dynamic place and you should face up to it and be prepared for it.  Two married gay people or tattooed women can't be harder to explain than why someone would kidnap 300 girls in Africa, 3 teens in Israel, or fly planes into large buildings.  I think this is a useless argument and one that should be ridiculed often.

Gay people, like straight people, like Bi people like Asexual people love.  Sometimes they fall in love and sometimes they want to build a life together.  The government shouldn't stand in the way of that.  That Texas judge is not supporting a position that makes sense and will likely be laughed at by the next generation.  I think it is time to no longer be silent.  I think we should force the hand of our representatives and others to do what is right.  Let's have a nation wide dedicated effort to allow those who want to build a family together not be barred from it by the sex of their partner.  This is real for many people and it is something that is just about what is right.  

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