There are ongoing quasi–political, pseudo–religious, would–be ethical discussions as to whether homosexuality is merely a deviation from the sexual norm and therefore nothing to worry about, or utterly contradicting “God’s plan”, or even some disease that needs cure; whether same–sex marriages are to be legalised in this or that jurisdiction, anywhere around the globe; whether or not they should be considered equal to the traditional concept in (societal) quality, and thus treated equally before the law; and even whether same–sex marriages pose a threat to the “traditional family”, or open homosexuality causes a decline in morals.
Morals? What Morals?
Are we really talking about the character and behavioural standards agreed upon in a society, or rather the confidence those discussing such matters have or lack in their peers to remain true to “their” code here?
Why and — perhaps even more important — how would sexual equality change the morals of a society (or any member thereof) in an undesirable way?
Shouldn’t we assess and discuss our traditional standards frequently, acknowledge that these have to be adapted to changing circumstances and societal developments in order to remain meaningful, and perhaps deprecate some of their more questionable aspects?
Is anyone today seriously of the opinion someone else’s sexuality will cease to be limited to individual behaviour behind closed doors, or spread and affect their neighbour or themselves, if we were to eventually do the decent thing and abolish these ridiculous, utterly arbitrary policies?
People do not change the way they feel, think, or act as a result of a modification of their societal standards, but they change the way they feel, think, or act and this, sooner or later, leads to an adaptation of their morals, by forging new standards in order to sanctify their own ways.
At least this is how mature, social beings go about policy–making, lest oppression by a stubborn, self–righteous minority should happen to prevail. We constantly evaluate traditional ruling as to its applicability and then modify our standards accordingly. This approach may not always lead to the best of results, but, more often than not, it serves us well enough.
Why Would Same–Sex Marriages Pose a Threat to Traditional Families?
To begin with, it takes a mutually accepted tradition in a society for an emerging social concept to cause disruption. Yet, while there arguably is agreement upon the family’s role as the smallest relevant social cluster, there is no such thing as a “traditional family”.
The way some of us today conceive the term “family” in its legal sense has no bearing on its “traditional” meaning. For the longest time, “family” did not describe what we call an “immediate family” (parents and children) or “extended family” (grandparents, in–laws, etc.) at all, but rather the group of individuals who served, and therefore belonged to “the house” (Lat. domus; which is also the origin of terms such as “domestic”).
The Latin “familia” (itself a derivation from a related language) comprised all domestics, who were “familiar” with the house but not (necessarily) genetically related to either dominus (master, owner) or domina (mistress) of the house; it basically describes the group of individuals who cohabitated under one roof (without necessarily sharing covers), without regard to age, gender, sexual inclination, or genetic relationship.
The word itself was adopted in English as late as the early fifteenth century, and its contemporary (legal) meaning (i.e., married parents with children) did not emerge until the 1660s. So, especially compared to several other social policies, “you shall marry one person of the other sex and have offspring of your own blood” is not much of a “tradition” (in any one culture of mankind).
There is no sound reason to anticipate partners of the same sex to acknowledge and accept their moral and legal responsibility for each other or their legal heirs in any way different from partners of the opposite sex — or to exploit legal benefits coming with marriage to a greater extent, for that matter.
How exactly could such a policy alter the quality of a “traditional marriage”, or even pose a threat to its existence? It is rather safe to anticipate that heterosexuals who want or need to be united in this legal bond and desire to have children will continue to do their utmost to accomplish this goal, regardless of the legal parameters applying to homosexual couples.
Let’s not pretend even one heterosexual couple got married and had children for the good of their society (none of us can be that important). So why should they have legal advantages over everyone else?
There is exactly one reason to marry: to improve or at least secure the economic situation of either or both partners; and there is exactly one reason to have offspring (not counting the temporary effect of the “cuteness” of babies): to have at least one heir and so reduce the risk of loss of family property. It really doesn’t take much consideration to realise that the same reasons apply to homosexual couples.
Individual families or society at large are neither at risk of pain or extinction nor would their individual rights be limited by two (or even more) individuals of which sex ever joined in a legal union of equal quality to “traditional mariage”.
The real threat to this traditional concept is the government’s failure to execute already existing legal provisions issued to protect the weaker partner and, even more important, their offspring, from hardship.
Should Same–Sex Marriages Be Equal to the Traditional Concept Before the Law?
I have no way of telling whether the precious reader is already married, going to marry any day soon, planning to ever “tie the knot”, perhaps in the process of dissolving a legal bond, or already divorced. Yet I would venture the following presumptions:
- Your spouse is not going to leave you in order to marry someone of the same sex for the sole reason of legal opportunity.
- You will not reconsider or delay your wedding plans in order to find a partner of your own sex to marry instead of the person of the other sex you already proposed to.
- And, last but not least, your next partner will be of the same sex as the “bitch” or “bastard” you are divorcing right now.
Those who are rumoured to have “suddenly discovered” their preference for the same sex are few and far between, and it is safe to assume that no one caring to properly consider these cases would have been taken by utter surprise at their eventual “coming out”. A heterosexual who goes to bed only to wake up homosexual? Someone who “turns” (or “was turned”) homosexual, literally or metaphorically overnight? Now, that would be fine — at any rate, it would provide a convenient excuse for many a failed (traditional) marriage.
Not only are those cases, traumatic as they may be for those directly affected, comparatively rare, I also wouldn’t expect their number to change dramatically anytime soon, regardless of legal provisions. Yet a liberation of marriage laws would most certainly help to prevent some “irreconcilable differences”, and what’s more, spare the offspring resulting from such marriages considerable emotional hardship and confusion.
To seriously discuss legal equality of homosexual and heterosexual marriages, I think, it is advisable, even necessary, to closely inspect the history and purpose of marriage in a societal context. Picking up individual aspects of real or imagined relevance, trying to shape them into supposedly genuine concerns, and discussing them out of context, is not going to help the matter.
For the sake of peace and order in a society, I’d rather see partners of the same sex being truly committed to one another than politically sanctioned wars of roses between parties who are considered fit to marry for the sole reason of their different sexes.
Does God Approve of Same–Sex Marriages?
Perhaps the strongest argument against “God’s plan for us mere mortals” (and, as a consequence, in favour of same–sex marriages), is to take the scriptures literally.
Interestingly, this is the stance most often taken by the loudest opposers: we are to take “His word” at face value (and hence oppose everything He did not expressly approve of), or else … If only messing with God (and the camp of mindless followers) wasn’t so much fun!
So God is absolutely and utterly distgusted by the idea of Jack getting married to Jim or Jill getting hitched with Jane? Well, no, he isn’t — or at least he wasn’t until yesterday; I haven’t checked my e–mails yet.
Of course, it isn’t for me to explain God to anyone, mention his possible physical predicament of biblical proportions or his incredibly low libido, but I can tell you how each and every heterosexual man on this planet would put divine powers to good use.
He would build Eve first, and he would not tire until she were the “finest broad” you — be you a man or a woman, precious reader — can imagine. Then, he would teach her some manners, you know, “don’t eat apples offered to you by sleazy snakes (which is basically to say, don’t trust people you don’t know in general, or heathens in particular)” and some such — after all, he’d have her around for a while, and he wouldn’t want to put up with her shenanigans. And only then he’d get to “know” her properly in order to beget Adam. In due course, he’d create some more of the lot, taking particular care to make each of the brats different enough from one another to avoid the disadvantages of incest.
Yet nothing of this ever happened, at least not exactly the way I described it. He had to prove (whether to himself or those animals already roaming Eden, I don’t know) his artistic skills by creating Adam from a bit of clay. Everyone who has ever worked with clay will most certainly agree that divine breath has to be of purgatorial quality, or poor Adam wouldn’t have been able to hold his water (and other biofluids) long enough to even “get married” to Eve.
Then, He decided “man” should not be lonesome and needs a companion. Of all the animals running about in the garden — chicks, cows, and whatnot — none He considered proper. So He made Adam fall asleep and cloned Eve from one of his ribs (which was the first decent deed in this context, because having a twenty–fifth rib for much longer would have bothered Adam considerably).
I will not pretend to know why He had to show off His genetical modification skills to Adam (who was at that point probably still too dull to even comprehend, let alone appreciate, this scientific breakthrough) by creating a clone (to burst with XX chromosomes) of him (who was full to the brim with XY chromosomes) instead of simply repeating his clay–turns–human–by–divine–breath trick with a slight variation. Perhaps he just didn’t want the extra rib go to waste.
Now, satisfied with His own blunders and happy to know Adam had eventually someone to play with, he made off for the pub. “Be prosperous and multiply, you lot. Ta–ta.”
Seriously, God didn’t give marriage much thought. That’s not my humle opinion, that’s what Genesis (the first old–testamentarian book, not the English rock band) reveals. If the “holy matrimony between man and woman” were oh–so close to His heart, we would still have to hear the end of it. Yet not a bloody word from the man Himself.
Granted, all the prominent male characters of Genesis are “married” to women, but not one wedding is celebrated and there is no direct evidence (to my knowledge) that procreation was the main purpose of these marriages.
Quite to the contrary, Abraham’s (the universally accepted progenitor of all Jews, Christians, and Moslems) wife, Sarah, remained childless for the longest times, yet neither did Abraham abandon (divorce, for the modern, soft–hearted reader’s benefit) her of his own accord nor did God tell him to do so. Rather, she told him to go “know” her own maidservant in order to beget a child. So he did, and everyone was happy. To Hagar (his wife’s handmaid) he was not married at the time, but she became his “second wife” by giving birth to his first child (who was immediately claimed by Sarah), and remained his first wife’s servant for quite a while thereafter.
God did not only silently approve of this particular “arrangement”, he also proved astonishingly indifferent to quite a number of Abraham’s and Sarah’s moral transgressions.
Yet it is, of course, possible that one is not supposed to take these passages literally. The wicked Heathen I am might just fail to comprehend that selling one’s wife twice to a stranger (a different one, each time around) so she may enjoy (or suffer) a bit of extramarital “attention” in these strangers’ harems (and making quite a fortune from these exploits), or forcing one’s employee to sleep with and have a child by one’s own husband and claiming this child after birth (without the biological mother having a say about it) are to be understood as allegories for only–God–knows–what. By today’s legal standards, both Abraham and Sarah would have probably died in prison, at 175 and 127 years of age respectively (their youngest, at 27, being still a minor at the time, I suppose).
The only case in point Bible–proof opposers of same–sex marriages seem to have is that God is quite particular when semen is wasted, while you could dispose of it “properly” (as He ordered you to do in no uncertain words) as Onan would most certainly confirm, if he had survived his act of disobedience.
Unfortunately — or fortunately, depending on how you look at it — this argument is a catch for fertile, heterosexual men who happen to be married or cohabitating only (who also happen to be about one half of the group opposers pretend to support). Extravaginal ejaculation when you have access to an ovulating woman is a no–no — unless, of course, you hear a voice from above identifying itself as God’s own and tellling you otherwise.
Sounds tough, but only to those who don’t know the first thing about female anatomy. To everyone else — heterosexual men who live alone, homosexual men and women, and also all heterosexual women (unless they happen to “be too tired”) — this is good news. Well done, God. One hell of a supporter, you.
Well, yes, Sodom and Gomorrah He did destroy, but not because He was disgusted by men who would prefer to have sex with men, rather because He was not particularly fond of the idea of two of His angels being gang–raped by the mob. (To be honest, I don’t remember whether or not Lot did survive this inferno — look it up for yourself, if you please — so I shall give God the benefit of the doubt for this once.)
Pretending to quote the scriptures in order to oppose same–sex marriages as “sinful” or even “contradicting God’s plan” is ludicrous. Adhering to this logic, you’d have to immediately stop eating certain animals (which might even be a good idea), or wear certain clothes (not the most ridiculous of notions, either), or do business (for profit) with anyone but “heathens”, or begin to frequently offer burnt sacrifices, and repent, repent, repent for deeds you may or may not have committed in the past.
After all, the vast majority of us was even born with sin, so lowering your gaze while pulling a rueful face is never quite wrong. Come to think of it, in a strict sense, declaring same–sex marriages sinful might even be blasphemous, for “thou shalt not bear false witness” (which is one of the Ten Commandments, well established in all three Abrahamic traditions). What a fine mess this entire religion business is!
Marriage in the Bible is about companionship, mutual support, peaceful cohabitation, interpersonal care and respect, and societal order, not about fair maidens in white dresses and handsome fellows in rented morning coats who cannot wait to get to it. (If you are desperate for that kind of literature, I shall, upon individual request, provide a shortlist of contemporary female writers who will love to be of service.)
Modern Bibles take a lot of liberties when it comes to “transliteration” of supposedly ancient scriptures. They try to limit the room for interpretation and by such create a new, quite questionable “tradition”.
Basically, I think there is nothing wrong with employing contemporary language in order to make ancient scriptures more accessible to the modern reader, but perverting the original meaning by doing so (intentionally or by mistake), and subsequently claiming the authority of source is, shall we say, daft.
Neither homosexuality nor heterosexuality (beware, real science ahead) were even known terms until the late 19th century; both are Greco–Latin hybrids, coined and introduced to literature by Germans. So how much consideration can God (or those jerks who pretend to possess the authority to tell everyone what’s what) have given those matters?
Even the probably most popular “wedding” of the New Testament, the one at Cana (you know, water–turned–wine until everyone got sloshed), is not revealing an awful lot about the “newlyweds” (it is a warning in favour of employing a serious wedding planner, though) — Johnny mentions a “bridegroom”, yet there is no “bride” to be seen anywhere near — it is rather a scene to establish Jesus as a quasi–divine human individual.
A man who, though allegedly born without sin, literally vanished for a number of years from all records only to return and establish himself as a Jewish teacher (Rabbi Yeshua; which actually translates to “my teacher of salvation”), even though he had no known romantic commitment — let alone being (officially) married — to any one woman, rudely infringed at least one of the Ten Commandments by telling his mother at a time of great distress to go bother someone else as his time has not come yet (at the above mentioned wedding), was constantly at odds with his church and running from civil authorities, and is since famously depicted in either of two themes in Christian tradition: suffering “for our sins” or quite content with an effeminate fellow by his side in the midst of men who up and left their families and businesses in order to conduct a promotion tour to spread their buddy’s ideas. I’m not trying to imply anything, but, in my book, none of this represents him as a role model of “normalcy”.
What’s It to Me?
The answer to why I even bothered to write this piece may prove a disappointment to same–sex activists (if that’s what you call them). It’s not to do with sympathy or even empathy for homosexuals; I wouldn’t know why they should have need for either — from me or anyone else.
There is nothing wrong with homosexuality — or any other form of sexuality (physical or not) for that matter; if it were in any way unnatural, it wouldn’t exist. Nature may not be efficient, but it is effective. Sooner or later, it strikes back at whoever disturbs its circles in an unduly manner. Yet so far — and mankind has existed for some time already — I see no signs to inidicate as much.
If homosexuality were a disease of the body or mind, it would be the only malady we (or at least I) know to befall all species indiscriminately. This in itself strongly indicates that it cannot be some kind of niche phenomenon or perversion of nature. It is quite difficult to believe that none of the numerous species throughout evolution has managed to overcome “this illness”, isn’t it?
A society who fails to embrace diversity, or at least pretends as much, is disturbing (at least to me). People who constantly rally against the next person’s failure to meet their own expectations cause disruption to peace and order — two social “commodities” they pretend to hold in high esteem.
It may be true that “love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage”, but reality proves that not every horse is made to walk in line or pull a cart, and not every cart suits us fine in every situation; and sometimes you’d rather have two tame oxen safely navigate the carriage along the bumpy road to love than two stubborn nags who cannot agree on the way to go.
Marriage is neither a prerequisite nor a success criterion for a working interpersonal relationship, and the love and respect individuals have for each other does obviously not depend on it. If God really happens to have issues with how some ponies runs, He should have taken care all ponies run his way before the opposition period expired, omnipotent as He allegedly is.
Yet perhaps it’s only that some of the “true believers” are afraid “God” may be fallible after all. Now, that would be some serious issue, to be sure. Oh no, we might have to think for ourselves — even worse, we might have to mind our own businesses. And, as if that were not bad enough, we could not simply wave copies of poorly translated ancient scriptures in everyone’s face and pretend to be in the clear.
If I had my way, every living thing were bisexual and able to change their sex on demand. Now, that would teach some people a lesson; this would at least indicate some creative power beyond our perception, and help circumvent quite a number of issues we humans seem to face each and every day. Everything else is plain old evolution, for better or worse.
To be honest, I couldn’t care less for any one’s sexual inclination. Those women I’m attracted to are in general also mature enough to indicate in good spirits whether or not my attention is lost on them. If they act any other way, it’s usually because I fail to pay them the amount of attention they believe to deserve — which is (quelle surprise) the cause for my refusal to comply.
For the benefit of those incapable of reading between the lines, I’m tired of the lot who constantly makes a fuss for no good reason at all. Give to God what belongs to Him (in your opinion), but stop wasting your breath telling the world at large that they are less deserving of being happy or secure just because they are not exactly as you (expect them to be, or consider proper).
If you consider homosexuals worthy of contributing to society’s wealth (which also benefits you), you should also be considerate enough to allow them to benefit from societal standards (just as you do). What is it to anyone what two (or more) individuals do behind closed doors as long as everyone involved is happy enough with it and no one gets abused?