Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Guts to Be Civil

Facebook Status Update, November 4, 12:10pm
Kristina is thinking about her friends in CA...hoping for a resounding NO on 8.

Jason wrote at 2:48pm
Krissy, I saw you post on my facebook page about prop 8 and I saw one of your friends state that people who are for prop 8 are ignorant. It is concerning to me to see this kind of stuff. Marriage is (I am sorry to say it) a christian institution and has always been defined by the wast majority of the church as a union between a man and a woman. All... Read More religious traditions like muslims, buddhists, Jews, etc. have always understood it this way. Marriage is a theological concept not a political one. If one is going to play the "equality for all" card in marriage, this will lead down a very slippery slope. What I mean is, if marriage can be redefined a two concenting adults, it is not a huge leap that it could be defined as three concenting adults or four and this will open the door to polygamists. Hey, if it is truly equality for all then why can't an adult and a child marry or a human and an animal. One must discriminate at some point, where do we draw that line?

Kristina wrote November 4 at 5:14pm
Thanks for taking the time to write – I know your faith is important to you and it is unfortunate that our political passions sometimes lead us to name-calling. It is clear that neither of us will change the other’s mind about Prop 8, but I do want to take the time to respond to some of the points you made in your post.

The heart of your argument seems to be based on marriage being a Christian institution and that it is a theological concept, not a political one (though you go on to cite a series of non-Christian faiths, including Buddhism which considers marriage to be a secular issue). I would be willing to accept this except for the fact that in California (and the rest of the nation), marriage has _legal_ status – which makes it a political issue. The original DOMA was declared unconstitutional for good reason – it did not provide equal protection under the law. Simply changing the constitution to make an exception to afford this legal status to certain segments of the population and not others solely based on gender does not solve the equal protection problem.

As for the slippery slope (the one you say will lead to polygamy and child marriages)…first of all, polygamy/multiple marriage is illegal (despite its presumption of heterosexuality), so the numbers game is not on the table. Changing the sexes of those involved is not affected by the intent of this law.

Second, one legal aspect of marriage is its treatment as a contract under the law. Contracts are based on free choice and legally, children lack the capacity to contract without parent/guardian consent. The legal marrying age in all states is 18, 16 with parental consent (in most states), and New Hampshire allows marriage at 14 with both parental and judicial consent. Gender does not affect one’s mental capacity to enter into contracts.

Long story short: the web of laws defining what “counts” as marriage as we know it (two adults, presumably in some sort of romantic relationship) will not unravel simply by allowing those two adults to be of the same sex.
That being said, I venture to assume that the reason you object is because your faith does not condone homosexuality and the arguments you put forth come from that deep-seated belief. While I may disagree, I respect your right to believe what you want. But I’d like to remind you that it was only 41 years ago that the Supreme Court struck down anti-miscegenation laws that would not have allowed you to marry your wife, or my father to marry my mother because bride and groom are of different races. My parents are still happily married, and by the looks of your facebook pics, your family is also going strong. Can you imagine being legally deprived of that?

Anyway, I am certain you will not agree with me or change your mind, but I wanted to engage in the conversation with the same level of civility and care you afforded me. I hope I succeeded in addressing your comments with respect, if nothing else.


Jason wrote November 4 at 6:29pm
Thanks for the reply. I do see name calling on both sides as unfortunate and especially the infamous catch-all "ignorant" word. People use it for just about anybody that they disagree with these days. You are right, I am approaching this from a religious perspective as since I am a Pastor, I see things from that vantage point. Also, if gay marriage is allowed, it would not be the end of the world. On my personal moral importance grade from 1 to 10 with 10 being the most important, it is about a two. I do not think gay marriage is an outrage, it is just kinda silly. I see it like I would see atheists who demand the "right" to be baptised. Why would they want to be? Baptism is a ritual that is between a person and their commitment to God and Jesus Christ. If you do not believe that God even exists, what is the point? I guess if some atheists wanted to baptize each other as some commitment to atheism, I would not object. But it would still be strange. There are homosexuals who take such a view on marriage. They do not want to be married because they understand the implications of what that ritual means.
Although, I do see what you are saying about the civil side of it and if gay couples are denied any civil rights that hetero couple have I would be the first to want equality in that sphere.
Anyway, I could go on but I gotta go and probably should stop. I hope all is well with you. Keep in touch.


00badness said...

that was refreshingly void of name calling.

Gonzo said...

Seriously, I don't think I've read/heard a debate on this issue in which both sides were presented so reasonably. If only we all engaged debate in such a manner.

Habermas would be proud!

kodiacbear said...

Wow, I just came accross your blog. Normally I will shy away from politics--because of the name calling and ill mannered behavior--BUT this is truly a "refreshing" discussion. LOVE IT!