"Normal" People

>> Friday, August 6, 2010

Proposition 8 in California was overturned as unconstitutional. It's not news, but it's started an interesting discussion over on Janet Reid's excellent blog. I call it interesting, not because I feel this issue has any fuzz on it - someone else deciding who marries who? - but because I'm frequently amazed at the reasoning people come up with for whatever notions they have. Even if they make no damn sense.

Take this quote:

For many years and for many people *marriage* has always been a sacred covenant between two people and their deity. Not just the Christian god either. Gay *marriage* is an deep and personal affront to that covenant.

I don't know if anyone else noted the inherent contradiction between the first two sentences and the third, but I did. Well, heck, for centuries, marriage was a way to possess women, their wombs and sometimes fortunes. I'm sure there are people who would like to go back to that "sacred" way, too. Nor is homosexual marriage unprecedented. Sometimes history is left behind for a very good reason.

Thing is, someone is entitled to think of marriage however they want. You see it as a sacred right between a man and a woman, by all means marry someone of the opposite gender. The question isn't about changing your personal belief. It's about the concept that you can inflict your belief on someone who feels differently, can keep them from doing something so personal, so life-altering, with a person of their choosing just because you don't think they should be able to. It's the concept that some people think they have the right to take this basic right - the right to choose your own spouse - from others because they're not "normal" and the marriage they want isn't "normal."

Even assuming the majority represents "normal," I have to ask - so what? This country was founded on folks who refused to be normal, who bucked the powers that be that told them who they were, what they should believe, what they could expect from themselves. And that reverence for those that weren't "normal," who were different or odd, for those that thought outside the box or refused to be pigeonholed into one way of thinking is a key element in much of what Americans have accomplished, one reason why ingenuity and originality has been such a part of our history.

Not that we haven't had backward moments or that we didn't restrict many portions of the populace from the same respect and reverence (different races and women, for example). But it's our individual freedoms, our individuality that have, in my opinion, done the most for this country.

These "normal" folks obsessed with those that aren't "normal" (and I personally think there are any number of what I consider normal people who are perfectly comfortable with individuality) are the ones that stand against every advance, every change for the better, every improvement we've ever had, mostly because they want everyone else to become what they see as "normal." I've never been sure why there is this compulsion to make everyone the same, though I don't discount the possibility that insecurity, the need to feel accepted, is part of it. People (many of them normal) I know that are comfortable with who they are don't feel the urge to force others to be as they are. No pro-choice people I know have ever advocated forcing abortions on the unwilling. No homosexual couples I have known have ever worked heterosexuals having relationships.

"Non-normal" people just want to live their lives to suit their own purposes, decide their own futures, be left to live their non-normal lives in peace with the same rights and responsibilities as all the "normal" people. A few decades back, may I remind you, the "non-normal" people were blacks and women.

A few centuries ago, they were the original settlers here.

Just sayin'.


  • Project Savior

    The religious argument is flat out wrong. Growing up my church performed same-sex marriages, I considered them normal. And several other churches perform same-sex marriages.
    So it turns into the "No good Scotsman" argument very quickly.

  • Roy

    Amen! And you're right about the history of marriage - up until only very recently it was strictly a contract between two families trading property and ensuring the passing of that property down through ensuing generations.

  • The Mother

    It still baffles me that "intelligent" people continue to point to a bronze age pastoral mythology as their "reason" for just about anything.

    Have you seen this? Brilliant sendup of the whole controversy.


  • Shakespeare

    Centuries ago, marriage was rarely even performed in a church by the clergy, with the exception of the very wealthy. It was a civil ceremony, and the less property one had, the smaller the ceremony. Often there was no ceremony at all, merely a signing of contracts by the parents of the two to be married. The only valid reason for annulment was if the woman bore no children... whether because the man could not perform or because the woman was barren (no one knew which, of course).

    The church moved in right around Shakespeare's lifetime, pushing to make it a more religiously centered institution. To Americans, that may seem like a long time ago, but in the span of human activity, it's very short. And even with that precedence, we cannot assume that such a system is any more valid than a new one.

    My greatest argument is that two same-gendered people getting married has NO effect on my own marriage. Two people being happy together can do nothing but reinforce my own happiness. What kills the reputation of marriage is the number of people who cheat on their spouses when they are supposed to be monogamous, and even they have little to do with my own relationship.

    I will DEFINITELY check out the ONION's take on it. And thanks for posting about it. I enjoyed Janet Reid's discussion, too.

  • Jeff King

    Just because a person thinks it is wrong, doesn’t mean they are wrong because you feel it is right.
    I can’t accept putting down a belief when you expect the person to respect yours; sure I know it goes both ways.

    I could care less about the marriage aspect of this, but could never agree about gay couples being allowed to adopt. It just doesn’t take the kid into account. It puts the child into a situation that will shape his/hers outcome without being able to decide one way or the other.

    Whatever makes two people happy is fine with me as long as it doesn’t negatively affect a third party.

  • Stephanie Barr

    Jeff, every child born is put into a situation that will shape his/hers outcome without being able to decide one way or the other. Every single child, adopted or not.

    Who is fit to decide who "deserves" to have children or who doesn't? I can think of a dozen different households more destructive to a child than one led by a homosexual couple. And they're not even illegal.

  • Aron Sora

    But, I fear if gay marriage was made legal, it could be the spark to start an anti-gay witch hunt in this country. I see the Christian community getting more and more focused on this issue as we get closer and closer to doing the right thing.

    What about having the state/ corporations not recognize marriage. I think this is the only way we can solve this issue without causing bloodshed. One of the main differences between civil unions and marriage is that people are likely to believe the civil unions are inferior to marriage, causing discrimination. If we have the government only see civil unions, it would be harder to discriminate. What do you think of this idea? I want gay marriage to happen, but I fear the bloodshed that might happen.

  • Aron Sora

    This statement is something that I think is worth adding to this debate too:


  • Aron Sora

    opps http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKV-xrRvLTA#t=1m15s

  • Aron Sora

    today isn't my day http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKV-xrRvLTA#t=4m43s

  • Stephanie Barr

    I don't see it adding to bloodshed. The more this is accepted, the better I believe it will be.

    Nor do I see not recognizing marriage by corporations working well since retirement funds, life and health insurance are frequently tied to spouses and progeny. Even if there were a government sponsored health insurance, it would still be an issue.

    People who use violence for demanding their rights, always look like idgets and asses after the fact. And, although I think much of the rhetoric out there blasting gay marriage is pretty nasty, I've heard of very little violence on this subject.

    Maybe that means we're growing up a little.

  • Stephanie Barr

    You know Aron, I hardly EVER look at videos online. You make we look at a lot of them.

    Interestingly enough,though, I'm in complete agreement. And I've always been. I can prove it with a recycling of an old position. See it next, right here on Rocket Science.

  • The Mother

    Jeff: Studies show that children raised in homosexual unions are not only doing just fine, but might actually be better adjusted than those raised in heterosexual unions.

    Plus, I echo Stephanie's point. Kids are born into horrid circumstances EVERY DAY. Having a loving couple choose to bring a child into their home and commit to raising him? Priceless, to a child, regardless of ideology.

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