Love the one You’re with

With California’s gay marriage ban over, Star Trek’s Mr. Sulu, George Takei, and his longtime partner Brad Altman, are planning on getting married this fall. Mazel Tov and congratulations.

As a Star Trek fan, I’ve been a fan of Mr. Takei for quite a few years. More recently, I’ve been listening to him as a semi-regular on Howard Stern’s Sirius radio show, where, as tends to happens on Stern’s show, he has been quite descriptive about his relationship with his partner. Although he only publicly came out of the closet a few years ago, he had been quietly out and I had heard he was gay some years ago (when I first read the online article where he came out I thought to myself “I didn’t realize he was out;” a few days later the news hit the mainstream media).

I’m sure many of us saw California’s first marriage on the news last month between elderly lesbian partners who finally wed after being together for 50 years. Cities didn’t fall. The earth didn’t open. The planets didn’t spin away. Instead we saw a nice elderly couple, who liked like my mother’s elderly female relatives, expressing their love to each other in what looked to be a very nice celebration of their union. Go figure.

Of course there were the protesters standing around the building complaining sodomy is sin, in which case I know many people who have sinned according to the protesters, and the elderly couple will be spending eternity in hell, ignoring whether the gay marriage partners actually believe in those particular religious views (as if that should matter in a secular government). Then there are those who say our country was founded on certain beliefs of the eighteenth century and those foundations should be followed. Well, the morals and ethics of our forefathers included owning slaves and killing native Americans, things I strongly doubt they would advocate today. Times change and so do thoughts. We’re not static beings.

The Government of the United States is not founded on any individual religion, such as Christianity. While it is true that many of the founding fathers were religious men who believed in a supreme being, they were not necessarily Christian. More importantly, God is not mentioned in the Constitution. Yet, there are still many laws in the United States based on religious views. While some, like kosher or halal dietary laws, have a purpose, in this case to aid those who want to follow their religion’s dietary laws, and do not bother those who don’t care about those laws, other laws are meant to force all to follow a certain religion’s (or religions) laws and do not serve a purpose aside from forcing others to follow another religion’s views.

In early June, for example, New York’s Governor set off a storm when he announced that the state would recognize gay marriages performed in other states. Governor Patterson, who is blind and black, said he came to this decision because he felt that gays faced the same civil rights battles that blacks endured almost a half century ago. Now, I can understand opposition from the legislature, arguing, maybe correctly, that the Governor is violating the state’s constitution by doing an end run around legislature, and that a lot of work would be involved to change 1,300 or so laws and regulations to make this legal in the time the Governor wants. Both of those are legitimate questions. However, what I don’t understand is how those, in other states, feel it is their duty to import their values on New York.

In this issue, it is an Arizona group called Focus on the Family that insists that marriage is a religious institution and that the US and state governments should make sure all follow Christianity’s version of it, despite what that silly 1st Amendment to Constitution says about Congress making no law establishing a religion or prohibiting the free exercise of (maybe the trick is for all marrying homosexuals to join the “Church of Gay” whose religious requirements were simply all members must be married to each to worship freely in their own, particular fashion).

Of course, by their views, love isn’t the most important part of marriage. Marriage is meant to provide children and to keep society whole. Well good for them. I’m glad that is their view but I chose to marry my wife for love, not economics. I know the concept of love is relatively new for some, I grew up hearing the scandalous story of how my grandparents eloped in the early 1930s in lieu of waiting for an arrangement to be made. Just out of curiosity, though, I wonder if they would disqualify Christian heterosexual marriages based on love?

They also note that the purpose of marriage is procreation. That we chose to have children is besides the point. My sister chose to marry her husband for love but is unable to have children. Does that make their marriage invalid? My aunt and her current husband married after their previous spouses, the father and mother of their children, had died and they (well at least my aunt) were well past child bearing years. Does this mean their marriage is invalid? By this group’s logic, perhaps it does. That we are not Christians seems to be besides the point. Taking this theory to its logical conclusion, it seems they won’t be really happy until they have run all with differing views out of town.

There are plenty of issues affecting American families that need addressing; doesn’t this group have better things to use their energy and resources on aside from whether homosexuals can marry? There are a lot of issues that affect families, especially children, that need addressing, Why don’t they tackle all the broken marriage between heterosexuals, especially those with children? Why not tackle economic problems that cause both parents to work, sometimes more than one job each, just to make ends meet? How about guns in failing schools? I’m pretty sure that affects families.

I don’t mean to belittle the Focus on Family group. I’m sure they do many fine things. However, it is their, and many other groups focus on discriminating against homosexuals, based on their religious beliefs, that I find disturbing. Take religion out of and then you just have civilizations standards, standards which are constantly evolving (what is fine today, such as inter racial marriage, was illegal just a few decades ago). Will this group prevent my children being married by a rabbi because we are not Christian?

We are not our bothers’ keepers. Sometimes I think the world would be a better place if we all just learned to mind our own business. Ignorance, bigotry and hate, especially against a minority, have no place in society. If two people who love each other want to get married, then the only proper response should be approval. Hopefully politics will stay away from continued prejudice. There is already enough hate in this world.