Every now and then someone asks me what I think about gay marriages. The question often implies that this is a complex, difficult and highly sensitive issue. Actually, I think it is a non-issue that has been made to seem like a terribly important issue by clever people and by misguided (I hope) religious folks. The clever people – political conservatives – have exploited the issue to divert attention from real issues – war, nuclear proliferation, poverty, class divisiveness, health, economics, and the like. By getting people all riled up about gays, the power structure can more easily ignore debate about profoundly crucial issues. Poverty, for example, destroys lives, denies innocent children opportunity, health, safety and decent living conditions. Yet our Congress virtually ignores this while debating whether two people who love each other should marry or not. The idiocy of this would almost be laughable if it weren’t so tragic.
The other group – the religious folks who are all agitated about gay marriage – is also being led astray by their pastors and vestries and church administrators. The New Testament is clear in its focus upon the imperatives of caring for the poor and the sick. Yet across the country religious leaders, like Congress, shortchange social injustice in their efforts to support legislating an additional social injustice.
So we hear about the danger gay marriage poses to “the sanctity of heterosexual marriage.” However, I, for one, fail to understand how two men or two women living together in marriage has anything to do with my marriage to my wife. How a homosexual couple live in their privacy does not, in any way that I can fathom, impinge upon the nature of my relationship with my partner, my wife.
It seems to me that allowing people to live their private lives as they choose is what ought to be sanctified. “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and the freedom to choose one’s own path, particularly – and here is the crucial point, – particularly when my path does not prevent you from going down your path.
Furthermore, marriage is a civil institution. Churches can choose to bless it or not, but to deny its legal blessings to one group of people should not be of concern to churches. The separation of church and state ought to apply to marriage as well as education and politics.
Finally, I cannot understand why so many people feel so compelled to interfere with other people’s lives. No one is requiring anyone to do anything in private that they don’t want to do. No heterosexual needs to feel threatened in any way by choices a homosexual makes or vice versa. Just allow people to live their lives. It ought to be the easiest thing in the world. Just let other people live their lives. Homosexuality and heterosexuality are not contagious. People make life choices according to a variety of factors, but these choices require no legislation.
I do believe the federal government needs to play a major role in areas such as welfare and defense and employment and health. But it has no business in regulating the private experiences of its citizens. Just leave them alone.