By Isis Win
recent years, marriage of same-gender couples has become one of the most published headlines in the US history. Every sector in the public opinion has seized the opportunity to express their position and in particular, to the media, for the benefit of gathering larger audience. This is not an old issue, but certainly it is one that grew in the past few years, and following the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, it has grown enormously. Since its repeal, advocacy agencies (such as HRC – Human Rights Campaign) finally let go of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, allowing room for the next issue in their agenda: Marriage between gay and lesbians.
This issue has become a larger controversy than the right to abortion when it comes to large-scale public participation. The religious realm, particularly Mormons, launched an unparalleled initiative to fight legislation passed in California that allowing gay and lesbian marriage equality, the 2008 ballot Proposition 8 “Eliminates Rights of Same-Sex Couples to Marry Initiative Constitutional Amendment”. Proposition 8 and its repeal landed in the hands of millions of people who didn’t care about it either way. Many were not even aware of this battle. Massive ad campaigns in TV and newspapers awakened these people, however, and as well, many important pedestrian traffic spots in California were manned by groups of Mormons distributing literature against same-sex marriage and preaching to the passers-by. Some organizations claim that Mormons spent about 20 million dollars in this campaign. But the religious opponents of marriage equality have not limited themselves to California; as well, in recent years they have been sponsoring the same campaign in many cities and states across the country, except that now they use Obama’s recent public support to attempt repealing both, the right to marry and the presidential candidate.
Religious opponents to same-sex marriage sustain their argument based on the Bible that, according to them, contains many entries referring to “marriage exclusively between a man and a woman”. Some people as well say that the Bible claims marriage in the between the same gender is an aberration and sinful behavior, regardless of the contributions of theologians, anthropologists, sociologists and archeologists that show that there is no evidence of such citations, but rather, that they are citations based on majorly flawed interpretations. In fact, archeologists report finding evidence that same-sex couples during Jesus Christ’s time existed and were not abominated. But arguing the Bible against a civil right, clearly will never end this issue. While religious extremists argue that marriage equality is contrary to their beliefs, their opponents argue this is not a religious issue but an issue about freedom and civil rights. Such an argument between apples and oranges offers no future to either party. However, this attitude from the extremists is fueling a response that is better to leave alone because, it adds gas to the already roaring fire. Defenders of freedom and civil rights, will be in need of breaking into pieces the Bible, categorizing it and proving that the Bible could never address this issue when it was created. There is enough evidence to this case that ultimately will make opponents to Marriage Equality so angry, that it is not unforeseeable that they will hire the devil to revenge against these “pagans”. Something already is happening but it is escalating into a major war, and all because although, in a democratic nation the wishes and will of all matter, this issue is one that cannot be fought by beliefs and phobias. In democracy, facts are the most determining factor and if this issue is examined by the Supreme Court based on the facts of the constitutional elements of it (or lack of thereof) so that the law rules what is fair and not, then at least in some form, this issue will be a thing of the past. However, extremists present their case as if it was “written in stone”, as the Ten Commandments. BTW, the Bible cites that they were 3 tablets not 2 as used today. I bet that the eleventh commandment was in regards of not getting your nose into someone else’s business.
On that note: religious extremists tend to believe that they are in the right to rule and force how others should live; it is a clear demonstration that religious extremists are people who are unhappy within themselves and lack fulfillment. It is that same unhappiness and lack that forces them into looking into the eye of others instead of addressing their own issues and how they observe their religious views themselves. This type of behavior is nothing new according to anthropological and sociological studies that establish that for centuries, in small towns or cities, the country side, part of the daily routine of a large number of citizens was, and still is to criticize, ostracize and gossip about the behavior of others that they do not approve. However, times are different and this phenomena has no longer any place in a modern and civilized society. Bottom line is: This attitude among those activists have nothing to do with Christianity and they heavily deny the basic principles of Christianity based on their personal beliefs and assumptions.
Christianity is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ, and the Bible as a historical record proves that the cornerstone of Jesus doctrine was about forgiving everyone, loving others as they love themselves and God and giving them the opportunity of redemption when their time comes. Jesus? message was about love, support and compassion. And the lack of these attributes is what shines in this initiative against Marriage Equality. On that note: The Bible cites in several chapters that slavery was OK and that slaves should submit to their owners and never raise against them. I wonder what the view about this issue is for those extremists, because slavery has been fought for centuries as an issue of human and civil rights cruelty and injustice and gradually and slowly has been disappearing from the face of earth. Only seriously under-developed and uncivilized nations still preserve this abuse and those nations are being fought by human rights activists and international organizations such as the UN.
What this issue talks about in reality presents a much larger scenario than a human and civil rights issue or the religious beliefs supported by the sacred scriptures. This issue is clearly stating where the hearts and minds of people are and that place is not a good one; rather, it is a totally antagonistic place to the Christian beliefs. No wonder after a century of an explosive technical, industrial and scientific revolution, we still can’t live among ourselves peacefully and this place is not so different than centuries ago. We still act as savages, greed is the religion of most on the top at the ladder and poverty and inequality still is rampant even in most developed nations. Only when tragedy strikes do the people at large open their hearts and care for others. Do they choose and pick who is to received this help? Hard to believe but such still is the case in many nations at this time. Just the way it happened post-Katrina. The most affected people had to wait for governmental aid at the cost of unnecessary deaths and suffering. However, those – volunteering helping hands – post-Katrina, didn’t look into ethnic profiles, religious affiliations or lifestyles to serve the needed. People with a good heart helped everyone and for a long time, even feed them from their own pocket. There were hundreds of volunteers that traveled – even thousands of miles – to serve with their human duty. Hard to believe but, in many studies across the nation, it has been said: Overall, people nowadays are self-centric and selfish. Just like many cities have a reputation of this trade by excellence (like NY city) even remote areas are equally sad and poor in compassion giving.
This battle of same-sex marriage, a marriage equality issue, is no more than a war of wills and beliefs to almost the silent majority of the population. Well, at least, those against Marriage Equality are extremely active and quite verbal. But because of that, the smallest of all minorities suffer their weight: gays and lesbians, when all they want is to have equal rights like the rest of the population. And there is no logical, sensitive and sensible reason to deny this right to anyone that cares for being part of an establishment that ultimately cares in the largest scheme for their nation and the institution of the family that supports society at large, the same institution that has suffered tremendously in the last six or eight decades because family members no longer gather as a family; it is not rare that family see each other once every other decade, because they are too busy entertaining their well-being and future while forgetting the love and gratitude that they received and owe to their parents. As well, in the US divorce has been growing at an alarming rate and at this point about 50% of marriages are divorced, many marriages are exclusively preserved by convenience or religious beliefs but there is no true sense of family among them and more than 50% of the existing couples do not marry but live together, even if they have children.
Almost everywhere I go, where people like to share their views about current events, I hear from the conservatives their camouflaged hate against LGBT and their consideration that such “lifestyles” are no less than a deviation according to God and their bible. They leave no room for education or understanding but the mysterious part to myself is the humongous question: What makes them think they are entitled to and should fight anything against their religious beliefs? I don’t even bother asking them, again, because reliably their answers are biblical citations that they believe to the core of their heart.
But on the opposite end, people express anger as well because they are unable to stand those they call “bigots” and among the religious ones, they call those who use the Bible to oppose Marriage Equality names such as sacrilegious because the word of God is being used for a mean and intolerant personal issue against LGBT people and their supporters. Many believe this bigotry is mostly a case of denied homosexuality because they find no other explanation for this. But the concerning part is that now I hear people judging institutionalized religion and the biblical interpretations by those bigots, something I believe will grow in a crescendo, and I see in it no positive end. This same phenomena was exhibited several hundreds of years ago in the Middle East among other areas and were the reason for many true wars between nations of different belief. Exact figures about the death toll of those wars are not reliable but suffice to say that entire populations were extinguished. I don’t believe we have the chance to escalate that badly nowadays, but Jihad fighters prove me wrong. So I wonder if in reality not only we are not able to live in peace but we need a war of some sort to justify our presence in this physical life.
However, time, as always, will decide the outcome of this particular war of hearts and minds and I have no doubt, like others, that this one will be won by granting all the needed rights to all minorities. And the LGBT is the one in turn. I hope I witness this change during my lifetime because it is rather disturbing to hear, see and known that there are humans that despise humans because they do not conform to their lifestyle and beliefs. Something must change right there!
I was told by a Guatemalan friend that her country was celebrating the first year against LGBT bigots in their country and as I reacted to her, I say to that: Let other live their own choice and present compassion and generosity to those that are unable to do so.
So meanwhile, let the war keep happening and let’s see at what point we may destroy each other when clearly these times prove that our historical mistakes demand our utmost good heart investment for the well-being of everyone. The well-being of everyone offers better guarantees that our personal future and space have better chances to achieve, peace, harmony and fulfillment. That leads to those occasional and rare moments in which we consider our selves being happy people.