There’s a classic Seinfeld episode where the running joke is to say: “not that there’s anything wrong with that” anytime the concept of being gay is brought up. I was raised to believe that this is true. I have gay relatives and was taught from an early age that there’s nothing wrong with that. About 10 years ago I decided to speak out when I was on the radio and start defending “gay marriage” or “marriage equality” as it should be called since marriage is not gay or straight. I’m not gay myself (not that there’s anything wrong with that), I’m married to a woman and we have 2 kids, but I’ve always seen this as a civil rights issue that affects real life humans and I’m not ok with being silent on the topic. I’ve been read the riot act multiple times from listeners for having the audacity to defend the LGBT community. I’ve had people threaten my advertisers, threaten my job, and threaten me personally. But I refuse to back down despite years of abuse from narrow-minded people. It has gotten better as public perception has shifted on the topic to an approval rating of now over 50%, but even still, the hate keeps coming. Let’s look at some of the common arguments I hear against marriage equality and how illogical they are….
“Marriage comes from religion and the bible says it’s wrong”
Just to be clear, which “religion” are you referring too? Are you really so arrogant as to assume “your” religion is the correct one? What if another religion disagrees? This is why we have separation of Church & State, so that your religion doesn’t infringe on anyone else’s rights. Marriage is like Christmas… to some people Christmas is a religious holiday about the birth of Christ. To others it’s a holiday about a chubby guy in a red suit delivering presents to kids and has nothing to do with religion. Does that mean we should ban non-Christians from celebrating Christmas? But if you’re going to use religion as your guide, I should point out that there’s a loophole for all gay Catholics… a wedding is a singular act. You get married once. So if it’s a sin, just do it and then repent for it. God will have to forgive you. At that point it would be a sin to get divorced so the church has to be ok with it
“Republicans will never allow it to be law, so it’s a moot point”
I’m happy to say that there is a growing chorus of Republicans who are pro-marriage equality, but the majority is sadly still against it. This makes them total hypocrites. Republicans are supposed to be for smaller government and individual rights. That flies in the face of telling someone who they can marry and what they can do behind closed doors. Conservatives will fight to keep big government out of your gun collection, but not out of your bedroom. Republicans are also supposed to be fans of big business, but recently, nearly 300 businesses like Apple, Starbucks, Johnson & Johnson, and Citigroup filed a brief against D.O.M.A. They argued that it costs them “significant” amounts of money to maintain separate HR records and procedures for gay & straight employees. They claim to live in constant fear of legal retribution if they make a mistake. So if businesses want people to be treated as equals, why don’t all Republicans?
“Marriage is for making babies”
Granted, I’m married and have made a couple of babies, but that’s not why I got married. I meet a wonderful woman who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Marriage is part of not only the “American dream”, but of the “human” dream that is shared by people all over the world. Having kids was a bonus, not a necessity. I know plenty of people who are married and are not willing or able to have kids. Who the hell are you to say that their marriage is invalid? Marriage is a union between 2 people, not a mandate to start producing offspring. Not to mention that fact that overpopulation is becoming a serious problem on this planet, so if anyone wants to volunteer to not make more people, that should be fine with all of us. Then of course there’s the fact that gay couples can have kids through in vitro fertilization or adoption, so shouldn’t that make them eligible to wed by this backwards logic?
“Being gay is not natural, it’s a choice”
If being gay is a choice, prove it to me… choose to be gay. I’ve challenged thousands of people to do this and nobody has ever taken me up on it. That’s because you can’t choose to be gay. Your sexuality is hardwired into your brain and is determined before you ever know it. I don’t recall a moment in my life when I debated the pros & cons of men vs. women, then flipped a coin and decided to like women. I can remember the first day of Kindergarten when I saw a girl named “Amy”. I was mesmerized by her. I didn’t understand or know what those feeling were at the time, but looking back, I realize she was the first girl I was attracted too. I see it in my 7 year old daughter right now. She’ll be watching a TV show and say “wow, that guy is so handsome!” She doesn’t understand those feeling either, she just naturally feels that way because that’s how she was made. If you need further proof that it’s nature and not nurture, just look to the animal kingdom. There are several documented cases of homosexual behavior in animals. I’m pretty sure they’re not part of any evil gay agenda.
“It was my right to vote for Prop 8 and the courts shouldn’t overturn the will of the people!”
The system in our country allows people to collect signatures for a ballot proposition, and if they get enough, it will go on the ballot. If the majority votes for it, it becomes law. But that same system allows for other people to then challenge the legality of that law. You can’t hold it up as a reason to discriminate when you ignore the other side of it (the checks & balances of it all). But then again, conservatives love to cherry-pick the facts to fit their agenda.
“We can’t change the old traditions of marriage”
Marriage has evolved several times before and the world keeps spinning. There was a time when wives were considered the property of their husbands. Try including that in your wedding vows nowadays and see what happens. Interracial marriage and divorce used to be illegal as well. Civilized societies evolve and there will always be a vocal minority that opposes it. They should be ignored.
“Gay marriage leads to bestiality and marrying 10 people at once”
It’s hard to logically argue with anyone who would say this, but let’s give it a try… Homosexuality is not bestiality or pedophilia. Animals have no legal standing and cannot get married or have you arrested for eating at McDonalds. Nobody is suggesting otherwise. As for gay marriage leading to marrying 10 people at once, that would be illegal and nobody is suggesting that we change that either. I’m not saying you can’t make any rules about marriage, but I think any rational person can agree that marriage is a union between 2 people. Anything else would defy the logic of getting married and would cause countless legal issues. “Marrying” 10 people is dating, not marriage. We can draw a line in the sand at marrying 5 horses, but not based on the sexuality of an adult human.
“I’m not a bigot, but I’m against gay marriage”
There’s no question that marriage equality is a “generational” issue. The further north of 40 you are, the more likely you are to be against it. Some of those people are hate-filled bigots and that’s why they discriminate against gays. But, the majority is not like that at all. They just simply “don’t get” gay marriage, it doesn’t compute with them. It’s like trying to convince them that it’s a really good idea to chew gum and eat peanuts at the same time. Their lack of understanding does not make them bad people, but it does make them prejudiced. The definition of “prejudice” is to pre-judge someone and that’s exactly what they do every time they say that a person shouldn’t be able to get married because they’re gay.
“The 60’s vs The 80’s”
I recently heard an argument against gay marriage for the first time. A listener to my radio show called me (you can hear it on the podcast page) and said that the only reason gay marriage was “popular” now is because the kids of the 60’s (he specifically mentioned Nancy Pelosi) are in control right now. He warned that public opinion would shift back to being against gay marriage once the kids of the “Reagan era” were in charge. That’s an interesting argument, but it couldn’t be more wrong. Polls show that the further south of 40 you are, the more likely you are to be pro-marriage equality. A recent poll of “millennials” (people born after 1980) shows support at an all-time high hitting a 70% approval rating. I’m part of “generation X” (born from ‘65 – ‘80) and I don’t know any peers who are against it. If they are, they know to keep that to themselves as it would not go over well in a group setting.
“Civil Unions are good enough, they don’t need marriage”
There was a time in our nations’ history when we considered African-Americans to be “3/5ths of a person” meaning they didn’t get equal representation, in fact, it was in our Constitution! Turns out, that was highly offensive and was rendered moot by the 13th amendment. But “Civil Unions” are 3/5ths of a marriage. Who are we to tell gay people that they’re human enough to get the legal protections of marriage, but we’re not going to let them call it marriage. Our world puts marriage on a pedestal, it’s something we’re all taught to hope for in life. But we’re telling the LGBT community to sit at the back of the marriage bus because they’re not equal to the rest of us.
“We need to preserve the sanctity of marriage”
If you want to preserve the “sanctity” of marriage, you should ban all celebrities from getting married. They seem to specialize in quickie marriages & divorces. But the rest of us don’t have anything to brag about either. The current divorce rate in this country is hovering around 50%. When half of marriages fail, how can we claim the moral high ground? There is no “sanctity” to preserve anymore.
“Gay marriage makes my marriage less special”
Marriage is a commitment between 2 people. If you allow that bond to be affected by public perception or what your neighbors are doing, your marriage is in serious trouble and gay people are the least of your worries. Saying that your marriage is “less special” because the gay guys next door get to do it too, is like saying that the air we breathe is “less special” because gay people get it too. If you’re not homosexual, then gay marriage has NO effect on you.
“Gay parents will raise gay kids”
By that logic, heterosexual parents would only raise heterosexual kids. So where do gay kids come from? There must be a gay stork that I’m not aware of. No empirical data exists to show that gay parents are less qualified then straight parents. Gay parents are just parents; they’re subject to the same strengths and weaknesses as everyone else. Although, I do know some gay parents who seem to be more appreciative of being parents since they had to fight for that right. Conversely, I know some heterosexual parents who got pregnant by mistake and don’t seem to appreciate their kids at all.
“You need two parents, 1 mom & 1 dad, to raise a good kid”
First of all, this concept must be really offensive to any single parents out there. But research does show that kids benefit from having two parents in the house. Which makes sense if you know anything about being a parent, it’s really not a job that one person should try to do alone. With two parents to help, the stress level in the house is lower and everyone wins. Plus they benefit from having two role models. Kids need happy parents; it doesn’t matter if it’s Adam & Eve or Adam & Steve or Addison & Eve.
The Constitution of the United States of America guarantees equal protection under the law… even if you’re gay. There will be a day when my grandkids will read about the marriage equality fight in their history books. I can imagine them being baffled by the concept of discriminating against gay people in the 21st century. When they ask me which side of history I was on, I’ll be proud to say that I was on the right side and supported equal rights for all. Will you be able to say the same?