OK, first things first.
I hate making a mistake, but when I do, I am quick to own up to it and rectify the matter.
In my recent blog about the QOTSA concert, I stated that lead singer Josh Homme’s name was pronounced ‘home’, as that was the only way I’d ever heard anyone pronounce it. I even poked fun at Seattle Homey Guy for pronouncing it as ‘homey’. Thanks to a blog reader (thanks Claudia Van T.!), it was brought to my attention that I was wrong. Well, not completely wrong, but not right either. Here, you can listen for yourself:
So I was sort of right. If I’d been in Europe I would have been correct. And I still stand by my assertion that Seattle Homey Guy is wrong. ‘HA-MEE’, not ‘homey’. Remember this. There may be a quiz later.
Now, on to the blog.
I read somewhere last week that October 12, 2013 marked the 15th anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard, the 21-year-old Wyoming college student who was severely beaten and tortured because he was gay. The crime against Shepard is well-known because of the attention it brought to the reality of hate crimes. Shepard’s murder, and the murder of James Byrd, Jr. the same year (1998), served as catalysts for comprehensive legislation regarding hate crimes. In 2009, the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act was signed into law by President Obama.
Laws against hate crimes were, unfortunately, a necessary step for our great country. As much as I wish we lived in a more progressive society, we aren’t there yet. I still believe we are capable of becoming more accepting and tolerant as time goes by. Mostly, I just don’t know why people still cling to old notions that are based more in fear than in fact.
At this writing, 14 states permit gay marriage. Sadly, Texas is not one of them, which frustrates and saddens me. But it certainly doesn’t surprise me. As the shining buckle of the Bible Belt, the State of Texas takes pride, it seems, in its unwillingness to let all of its citizens enjoy the same freedoms.
I’ve puzzled over the issue of gay marriage for years now. I don’t understand the problem. Why is the idea of a gay couple enjoying the same rights as traditional straight couples – things like insurance benefits, end-of-life decisions, child custody, property rights, etc. – so offensive to some? Because that’s really what marriage is all about. It’s a legal contract. It provides certain benefits to the two people who enter into such a contract. Who am I to deny those benefits to another couple? Why would I want to? Why would anyone?
For those friends of mine who just can’t wrap their heads around the concept of gay marriage, their objections usually boil down to a few salient points: 1. Gay sex is disgusting/unnatural/icky (yes, someone actually said the word ‘icky’!) 2. Gays can’t procreate, so they shouldn’t be married, 3. Gay marriage will destroy the sanctity of traditional marriage (this is my personal favorite) and 4. Gay marriage goes against God’s wishes.
I’m not really an expert on much of anything, save for the Foo Fighters and feeding people, and even those subjects are self-taught. But I’m going to try to do a little myth-busting here, from a strictly pragmatic point of view. And remember, this is my opinion. Which you can take or leave.
- Gay sex is disgusting/unnatural/icky – If you truly feel this way, how about this? Stop thinking about gay people having sex! It’s just none of your damn business! And the fact that you’re thinking about it at all is what is really disgusting, unnatural and icky. I assure you, the gay people you know aren’t spending one bit of mental energy thinking about YOU having sex. So, yeah, you need to knock that shit off.
- Gays can’t procreate so they shouldn’t be married – Lots of straight couples can’t procreate either. Should they not be allowed to marry? What if there is a straight couple who decides not to have children? Should they be barred from getting married? And hey, what about me and my husband? We’ve both been surgically neutered, so no more kids for us. Should we be forced to get a divorce now? People get married for lots of reasons. Children are not a requirement of any couple, straight or gay, in order to validate their desire to marry.
- Gay marriage will destroy the sanctity of traditional marriage – This is my favorite because no matter how many times I’ve heard it, and no matter how many times I’ve asked for an explanation, not ONE SINGLE PERSON has been able to tell me how this happens! How do committed same-sex couples really threaten the sacred trust of marriage more than, say, adulterous straight people do? How about abusive spouses? Are they doing more to promote the sanctity of marriage than a loving gay couple could? The truth of the matter, at least as I see it, is that there are only two people who can destroy the sanctity of a marriage, and that’s the two people involved in it. Your marriage is what you and your spouse make of it. Since 2004, when gay marriage was first legalized in Massachusetts, an estimated 71,000 gay couples have been married here in the U.S. If the sanctity of traditional marriage was really under siege as a result, show me the figures that indicate a decade-long spike in divorce rates. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
- Gay Marriage goes against God’s wishes – I’m not a particularly religious person anymore, but I attended Sunday School faithfully throughout my formative years. I don’t ever remember anyone mentioning a gay scourge on the land during those lessons. I was never told to hate anyone on God’s behalf, or to shame them, or to try and ‘fix’ them. And I for damn sure was never told that I was to sit in judgment of any other person on God’s behalf. I was responsible for my behavior, and I was expected to be a decent and kind person. That’s it.
What I’m going to say next will probably piss off somebody, but I feel like I need to say it, so I’ll take that chance. All these years later, I still believe what I learned as a kid. It’s still my job to be a decent person, and to be kind to others. And it’s still NOT my place to judge anyone on God’s behalf.
I’m pretty sure it’s not your place either.