Time to bury the homophobia and support gay marriage

032513gaymarriageMarriage, if you believe the overwrought hyperbole of the rabid right-wing that controls the Republican Party and wants to send America deeper into the dark ages, is a sacred institution limited only to the coupling of a man and woman — a doctrine, they claim, blessed by the Bible and worthy of ratification by the Constitution of the United States.

As with much of the overbearing positions that come from both the right and the left, the extremism of the opposition to gay marriage is loaded with exaggeration, laced with falsehoods and driven by old-fashioned bigotry.

In a perfect world, the only emotion that should control marriage is love and love is not limited to gender.  The binding emotion that brings two people together:  a man and woman, a man and a man or a woman and a woman is not limited by the pettiness, ignorance and homophobia that drives the extremism of the rapid right and the political party it controls.

Recent polls show an increasing majority of Americans supporting the concept of gay marriage.  Homosexuality — once a secret condition that could affect employment, enlistment in the military or reputations — has justifiably come out of the closet and into mainstream America.

Yet the decreasing number of bigots who dominate the Republicans and the right fight the trend and pound on the Bible, a book of contradictions that is too often used as justification in a political role that its authors never intended.

Those who offer up their bigotry against gays claim the practice is perverted and sinful. What is perverted is the outright homophobia used to oppose gays and the real sin is the constant misinterpretation and use of a book of conflicting positions to justify a religious justification that does not exist.

In Washington, a city of contradictions and hypocrisy, those who speak out against gays often turn out to be gay themselves.  Terry Dolan, the late head of the National Conservative Political Action Committee, led campaigns against homosexuality until he was outed as gay.  Dolan died of AIDS.

While in working in Washington for 23 years, I often encountered gays who worked within Republican and right-wing organizations and hid their leanings while helping fashion campaigns against gays.

Ken Mehlman ran the Republican National Committee and the re-election campaign of George W. Bush.  Melhman admitted he was gay in 2010.

Former GOP Congressman Jim Kolbe of Arizona campaigns against homosexuality when he ran for office in 1985.  In 1996, he admitted he was gay.

Steve Stockmeyer, long a trusted adviser to Newt Gingrich, ran the National Republican Congressional Committee, helped start the National Association of Business PACS and left Washington after a long and successful career.  The fact that he was gay was well known in political circles.

One of the constant warnings of those who campaigned against gays was the claim that “homosexuals would infiltrate society.”  Those warnings often came from gays hiding within the ranks of the right wing and the Republican party.

But what is more of a threat?  The existence of gays in society or the hypocritical homophobia that spills out of the right like verbal diarrhea?

Our position here is simple.  A concept based on love is always preferable to one based on bigotry and fear.

With luck, the Supreme Court of the United States will see it that way too.

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Copyright 2013 Capitol Hill Blue

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17 Responses to "Time to bury the homophobia and support gay marriage"

  1. Joe  March 25, 2013 at 9:34 am

    “As with much of the overbearing positions that come from both the right and the left…”
    I am curious what your opinion is of how many overbearing positions come from the right vs. how many come from the left. Exact balance seems to me to be an exceedingly singular state.

  2. Sandy Price  March 25, 2013 at 10:16 am

    I was born in 1933 and no member of my mother or father’s family were allowed to date and certainly not allowed to socialize with people of color. My grandmother had a domestic maid who was to stay with me when my family would fly over the USA with their horses. I insisted that I stay with her based on the music from her Baptist church just south of Santa Monica. I packed my bag and moved in with Laura until my grandmother got home.

    In 1954 when all my pals and I hit 21, I was told I could not attend her party because I was a dating a French Jew. He was the only boy of my age who loved Bach and Shakespeare. I’ve never forgotten this inequality among my pals. My highschool (private) was filled with the daughters of the studio owners.

    I found few people superior anywhere I ever traveled. This white superiority is just another false conspiracy. But now we have a conspiracy that homosexuals are inferior. No wonder I chose the library for my social life. No wonder I really want extraterrestrials to show up on earth and prove equality.

  3. Keith  March 25, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Right on, Chief!

    Indeed, the best available evidence suggests that marriage, as an institution is about 4,350 years old. The first recorded evidence of marriage ceremonies uniting one woman and one man dates from about 2350 B.C., in Mesopotamia. Over the next several hundred years, marriage evolved into a widespread institution embraced by the ancient Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans.

    So, then, when and why did the concept of marriage morph into a religious institution between one man and one woman? For that, we can thank none other than the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

    As the Roman Catholic Church became a powerful institution in Europe, the blessings of a priest became a necessary step for a marriage to be legally recognized.

    That’s because, back then, there was little difference between the “Church” and the “State”. In many ways, the church WAS the state, and the Church also saw the institution of marriage as yet another means of controlling its minions and keeping them in line. In fact, by the eighth century, marriage was widely accepted in the Catholic Church as a sacrament, or a ceremony to bestow God’s grace. At the Council of Trent in 1563, the sacramental nature of marriage was written into canon law.

    On the other side of the coin, the concept of gay marriage is rare in history, but not unknown. The Roman emperor Nero, who ruled from A.D. 54 to 68, twice married men in formal wedding ceremonies, and forced the Imperial Court to treat them as his wives.

    In second- and third-century Rome, homosexual weddings became common enough that it worried the social commentator Juvenal, says Marilyn Yalom in A History of the Wife. “Look—a man of family and fortune—being wed to a man!” Juvenal wrote. “Such things, before we’re very much older, will be done in public.” He mocked such unions, saying that male “brides” would never be able to “hold their husbands by having a baby.”

    The Romans outlawed formal homosexual unions in the year 342 (remember, the Church and the State were synonymous back then). But Yale history professor John Boswell says he’s found scattered evidence of homosexual unions even after that time, including some that were recognized by Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches. In one 13th-century Greek Orthodox ceremony, the “Order for Solemnisation of Same Sex Union,” the celebrant asked God to grant the participants “grace to love one another and to abide unhated and not a cause of scandal all the days of their lives, with the help of the Holy Mother of God and all thy saints.”

    So, why now all religious fervor against legally recognizing Gay marriage?

    By now, it should be obvious that it was the Church, NOT the State that co-opted what was, up to that time, largely a civil institution for its own benefit and selfish preservation.

    In fact, in North America, despite the repeated protestations of the Church, the institution of marriage has remained largely State-sponsored. After all, even when a “person of the cloth” performs a marriage ceremony, do they still not conclude the proceedings by saying, “…by the power vested in me by the State of…….”?

    Sadly, the latest public debate against legalizing Gay marriage has been commanded by a well-organized (albeit unlikely) combination of Roman Catholic and fundamentalist, evangelical “Christian” institutions.

    The latter remain particularly non-inclusive in their approach to religion. Fortunately, the hypocrisy of such “Christian” behavior (purported to be founded on principles of love, inclusiveness and acceptance, but which has now resulted in narrow intolerance for the beliefs and behavior of others) is blatantly on display for the rest of the world to see.

    Thankfully, it’s becoming ever harder for most Christians (even many who still call themselves Roman Catholic) to blindly accept lectures on what is “abnormal” sexual behavior from an institution that still firmly considers celibacy for its priests to be “normal”.

    Indeed, if the Catholic Church had allowed its priests to marry, perhaps they could have avoided all the sexual abuse issues they are now facing.

    And, any government that truly believes in the full separation of Church and State should also recognize and then dismiss such protestations over Gay marriage from these well-moneyed, fundamentalist institutions for what they really are…a desperate, last-ditch attempt to salvage what’s left of the Church’s once complete (but now shrinking) power to control people’s money, thoughts and lives.

    • Sandy Price  March 25, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      Wonderful information Keith!

      Didn’t Nero marry his horse too?

      I’ve nevrer understood why government has sny power over the individual citizens.

      At least the Mormons are open and honest with their marriage laws and use women as family builders. Romney and I share a Great grandfather “Parley Parker Pratt” who had 20 plus wives and when Utah was to enter the union they moved to Mexico where George Romney was born. He and my Mother attended BYU at the same time. They couldn’t even date as the blood line was too close.

      I walked out on my own Baptism and thought the whole Temple schick was too much like Oz.

    • Jon  March 25, 2013 at 7:11 pm

      Hear Hear, Keith.

      You should cite your sources, though. You make a lot of claims without attribution.

      J.

    • David  March 26, 2013 at 6:11 am

      A good summary Keith, but it is more accurate to say marriage has existed as long as men and women have, with the government getting involved with laws later. Those Sumerian laws which are the oldest record we have put restrictions on what can and cannot be done, because people were already doing it before those laws were encoded. And those laws were restrictions in almost all cases, such as the Roman law that brides can’t be kidnapped, as they decided the woman should have some say in who she marries. Also the ancients tied their religion into every important thing they did, so marriage was a religious institution before it became a government one.

      While the Catholic Church is indeed an enormous influence for marriage on the West, that doesn’t explain why marriage is still man-women in the East like China, or man-women/multiple women in Muslim countries.

    • Gregg Sealy  March 26, 2013 at 2:47 pm

      Great post, Keith!

      Apparently evolution has a lot more work to do.

      Churches obviously feel they have the authority, if you will, like most corporations, to make rules as they go along. However, unlike stockholders of a corporation….congregations or members of any respective church apparently don’t believe that they should question the logic and reason behind rules.

      Wait, seems like there’s a similarity between churches, political parties and governments. Parties and governments make rules as they go along and constituents and electorate stands silently by…believe whatever.

  4. griff6r  March 25, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Then again, why should government care what or whom an individual marries?

    So they can exercise control and incite division, i.e. pander for votes.

    The only two things this government is actually good at…

    • Keith  March 25, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      Oh, they care all right, griff….

      If gay marriage becomes legally recognized federally, now the US Government has to pay all manner of monetary benefits to married couples (or their survivors) that, up to now, have been reserved solely for “married” people.

      This includes such things as survivor benefits to spouses associated with military and US Civil Service pensions along with spousal Social Security benefits…just to name a few.

      The increased outlays will be HUGE!

      • Jon  March 26, 2013 at 5:46 pm

        Oh, but prior to the Clinton Administration, homosexuals were prohibited in the military, therefore there aren’t any. Right? Right? Ummm…

        J.

        • Cpt Kirk  March 26, 2013 at 7:40 pm

          Jon,
          Being gay was not prohibited in the military before President Clinton was in office. Getting caught comitting sodomy or sex outside of marriage was. Oral sex between married couples is an act of sodomy.
          Cpt Kirk

          • Jon  March 26, 2013 at 7:48 pm

            Homosexual activity, then. Good point. As it was prohibited, it never happened.

            J.

  5. Eddie C  March 25, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Amen

  6. woody188  March 27, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Is it strange that I support gay marriage but don’t support gays being in Boy Scouts?

    In both cases I support freedom, if you can figure out that reasoning.

    • egc52556  March 27, 2013 at 2:36 pm

      At issue for me is that the Boy Scouts are “granted preferential access to governmental resources such as lands and facilities”. Viz: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boy_Scouts_of_America_membership_controversies#Governmental_sponsorship_of_Scouting_units

      As such, they should be non-discriminatory.

      • woody188  March 28, 2013 at 8:34 pm

        I only wish BSA got the special treatment 4-H and FFA receive. We even have to pay the schools to distribute our recruiting flyers.

        • Jon  March 28, 2013 at 9:46 pm

          Given that the Boy Scouts by definition discriminate against more than half the population (The Boy Scouts do not admit female children, the Girl Scouts do not admit male children, and neither admit homosexuals) the schools should throw your money and your recruiting materials right back at you.

          Whenever someone discusses ‘allowing’ or ‘disallowing’ homosexuals, just mentally replace the word with ‘Blacks’, ‘Chinese’, or ‘Irish’.

          J.

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