Wednesday, December 31, 2008

How does a gay marriage threaten a straight marriage? I've heard this question asked a dozen times since Proposition 8 passed in California. While it's a valid question, it avoids THE fundamental question: How does a gay lifestyle threaten a straight lifestyle?

There's gotta be at least a perceived threat or the opposition wouldn't be so strong. So what's the deal? I have lots of answers - some way more snarky than others; I'll limit myself to the ones that make some sense (at least logically if not to us).

I think we agree the opposition is religion based, and predominantly (but not solely) Christian based at that. So why do Christianity and the homosexual lifestyle clash so strongly? The main factors are proliferation of the religion and the desire for a nurturing environment.

Christianity, and Catholicism in particular, places a high value on family and procreation - partially because promoting "traditional family values" can foster a strong community and partially because raising new generations of Christians /Catholics protects the religions's places in societal structure. More Catholic babies mean more Catholic children mean more catholic adults mean more CATHOLICS - and all of the politician clout and economic power the higher population brings.

I don't say that to be cold hearted, as I don't believe that are the overt intentions of any but a tiny handful of the religious hierarchy; I'm sure that line of thinking must have been part of the formalization process. Keep in mind Christianity was multinational from the beginning and it's existence was tenuous in many portions of the world. Judea and much of the world was part of the burgeoning Roman Empire. Factor in Judaism and the stage gets pretty crowded pretty quickly. When your religion is new, out-numbered, and persecuted you need new members quickly. Now let's add low infant survival rates into the mix - can anyone say that a policy to maximize population growth was NOT in the best interest of the religion?

So how can we as a culture solve this dilemma? I think we should look to the examples Dr. King gave us when he lead the Civil Rights movement in the '50s and '60s. Couples denied their right to marry should march, protest, and sue to win those rights. Those of us who feel Prop 8 unjust must join in the action. We need to bombard the state and federal governments with letters, e-mails, and petitions. Ultimately, I fear this cause won't be won until the U.S. supreme court involves itself; that journey is long and those undertaking it will need as much support as we can muster.

I also feel any lasting solution will require the establishment of Civil Unions as the only legally binding domestic partnerships and the subrogation of "marriages" to the religious roles they were designed to play. It"s this extreme separation of church and state that will remove much of the religious bias and leave governing to the government once and for all. Religions do not get involved in the licensing of a contractor or in the issuance of driving credentials, so why should it involve themselves with the formation of families? Doing so subtly underscores the notion that only a church-going couple could raise a healthy, happy, and stable family. I know from both first- and second-hand experience that is not true; let's remove the propaganda generation and start from there.