The gay marriage thing – part 1

One of the most common arguments against gay marriage is the notion that allowing same-sex couples to marry means “redefining” what marriage is: a sacred contract between one man and one woman.

My favorite irony is that the Bible is full of polygamy, and incest to boot. Defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman who are not closer than second cousins is a very different definition of marriage from what is in the Bible. And there are lots of other rules in there that don’t make sense any more, like the ones against eating shellfish and wearing clothing with mixed fibers. Not to mention the fact that not everyone believes the Bible is law.

One good thing about all this controversy is that a whole new crop of people gets an opportunity to understand that it’s about their own personal distaste for something that doesn’t actually warrant it. Just like people used to loathe the idea of a racially mixed marriage. They made up all kinds of reasons why it was “wrong,” reasons which sound just like what some people are saying about gay marriage. Really, what it came down to was a prejudice which they had been taught.

Tom and Helen WillisI think I was about ten years old when I was watching “The Jeffersons” on tv one day. On the show, Tom and Helen Willis, the interracial couple from upstairs, were sitting on the couch in George and Weezy’s apartment, and at one point, they turned and kissed each other on the lips. For no reason I can pinpoint – just a personal tipping point – all of a sudden I noticed that I was looking at them with distaste. That’s just wrong, I was thinking. And for the first time, it occurred to me to ask, Why? I had been taught to hate and fear black people, certainly, but in mostly subtle ways. And, I had been taught that racism was wrong. These two ideas collided in my head and what came out was, What the heck? Why was I thinking that? There is no reason!

This is happening all the time, right now. With the race thing, the gay thing, with all kinds of things. Maybe some 10 year old is watching a “Will & Grace” rerun right now, having the same experience. This is one of those things that’s getting better all the time, and my brothers and sisters… I know it’s hard to wait. But it’s coming. The times they are a-changin’, constantly.

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