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April 11, 2009

Gay Marriage Makes Adam And Eve Cry

So, the right wingers obviously weren't thrilled about the same-sex marriage news coming out of Iowa and Vermont this past week. There's been plenty of hand wringing and 'won't someone think of the children!?!?!?' going around, but I think my favorite commentary came from the group Concerned Women for America. Check it out:

Washington, D.C. — Vermont legislators overrode Governor James Douglas’ veto today to require the state to act as if same-sex couple arrangements are equivalent to marriage. Concerned Women for America’s President, Wendy Wright, says:

“Vermont was the first state to create civil unions, an arrangement allowing same-sex couples all the government-bestowed benefits of marriage. But as pro-family leaders warned, and despite claims by homosexual activists, this debate is not about benefits. That was merely the wedge to demand more, to require that everyone in society accept what cannot — by nature — be, that marriage can be something other than one man and one woman.

“Marriage is the unique relationship between a man and a woman who together provide children with the benefits of the two sexes, male and female. A marriage cannot be complete without both sexes. While government officials may change definitions, they cannot change nature. The first human relationship was between one man and one woman, and it became the foundation of all society. Vermont legislators’ futile attempt to replace God by vainly redefining marriage eerily follows how that first man and woman acted on the first temptation — and the root of all temptations — to act as if they were gods. That one decision by Adam and Eve to believe that they could ‘be like God’ separated them from God, destroyed the peace that they had experienced, and ushered in what some would call ‘unintended consequences’ of pain and destruction.

“The decision by Vermont legislators to attempt to redefine marriage creates an urgency for other states and officials to protect marriage.”

I almost kinda agree with part of that. I don't think that legislators in Vermont should be attempting to "replace God", but that would be because I don't think they should be doing anything God-related. You know, since they're legislators, and therefore supposed to be respecting that whole separation of church and state thing.

Also, "the first human relationship was between one man and one woman"? Really, ladies, that's what you're going with? You read the full text of the marriage equality bill in Vermont and the decision from the Iowa Supreme Court (I'm sure they didn't actually read them, but let's be generous with our assumptions) and your rebuttal to all of it is 'but what about Adam and Eve?' Okay, if that's the way you want to want to play it, allow me to submit some relevant observations.

  1. Adam and Eve, assuming they existed, would not have been legally married, being that they were the only two people on the planet.
  2. The Garden of Eden was not in Montpelier or Des Moines, and therefore Vermont state law and/or the Iowa state constitution would not have applied.
  3. Doesn't your point about Adam and Eve fucking everything up for the rest of us forever indicate that heterosexual "married" couples can't always be trusted to make the best decisions and aren't necessarily the best foundation to build a society on? Maybe if it had been Adam and Steve or Amy and Eve in the Garden, they would have made smarter choices and we'd all be living in paradise right now. If the first straight marriage brought about lasting "pain and destruction" almost immediately, then why can't we let the gays have a go at it? The bar seems to have been set pretty low for them if your version of events is to be believed.
  4. If you really believe that "government officials may change definitions [but] they cannot change nature", then what exactly are you worried about? Don't you trust God to sort everything out in the end? If you're really as right about everything as you say you are, you'll be enjoying heaven with your husbands and children while the gays burn. So why do you feel so threatened?
  5. Despite the best efforts of Christian conservatives to rewrite history, the foundation of our society here in America is our Constitution. Not the Bible. Sad but true. The good news is that it gives all of you Concerned Women the full freedom to believe that the only marriages worth recognizing are the ones between straight couples who have or are planning to have children...as long as you don't try to force that straight-out-of-Genesis belief on the rest of us through the law.
And really, even if we accept that same-sex marriages are, as CWA claims, somehow "incomplete", they would be far from the only such unions in this country. Every heterosexual marriage is not automatically or inherently good or pure or something to be valued by society. That's a lesson that it's quite easy to learn (like so many other fabulous lessons) from reality TV - from Surprise Wedding to Bridezillas to My Big Redneck Wedding to the E! True Hollywood Story of Britney Spears.

I could go on, but I guess this is to be expected from a group that describes itself as "the nation's largest public policy women's organization with a rich 29-year history of helping our members across the country bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy." Which is perfectly acceptable and sensible, since Christianity is our official...oh wait. And of course, the CWA worldview doesn't even allow for the possibility of non-Christian legislators.

Really, here's all you need to know about Concerned Women for America. In a 1987 interview with Ms. Magazine, CWA founder Beverly LaHaye said, "Yes, religion and politics do mix. America is a nation based on biblical principles. Christian values dominate our government. The test of those values is the Bible. Politicians who do not use the Bible to guide their public and private lives do not belong in office". (Keep that quote in mind any time you see anyone from CWA being interviewed, particularly if they're talking about some other group of people misunderstanding or disrespecting the Constitution.)

In responding to a boldly inaccurate and willfully ignorant statement like LaHaye's, I think there are a couple of different ways you can go.

There's the Jefferson approach:
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.

And then there's the Cho approach:
"It's the Christian groups, you know, these Christian family groups, who are out of control...I want Jesus to come back and say, 'That's not what I meant!' They need to read the Scripture, where it says in Matthew 4:17, it says, 'Shut the fuck up.' That's King James version."
I find that a combination of the two is best for my sanity.

Looking around the Concerned Women for America website, I noticed that they employ that fun right-wing technique of putting scare quotes around words like "choice" and "marriage", and when I see that I'm always tempted to return the favor. With CWA my first impulse might have been to put the quotes around the first two words, but now I realize that that the word that really needs them is "America", because the country that these women see in their minds, that they really believe once existed and hope and pray will one day return...that place is not the United States of America, and hopefully it never will be.

[Update: I forgot to mention that I submitted this post to the Blog Against Theocracy, a really cool blogswarm happening this weekend, so go check out the other entries as well. Also go give some love to BlueGal - she's one of the organizers of BAT and also just generally awesome and we love her. We'd call her the BAT Goddess, but that would just be cheesy so we won't.]


Ruckus said...

Great points, very nicely articulated
Now let's hope that all of this helps open the door to better understanding of our actual country.

metalhead39 said...

I've been reading some of the blogposts against theocracy and yours is the first I really liked! I've been out over 20 years and had never heard of your argument #3 against hetero marriage -- nicely done!!

JollyRoger said...

Who ever did more damage to the institution of marriage than lying sacks of shit like Newt "I'm a Catholic now" Gingrich, or "Diaper Dave" Vitter? These Jesusistani scumbags not only denigrate the institution of marriage, they demean humanity itself. The hell with all of them.

Coffee Messiah said...

An interesting post and, although these things never bothered me, I've always wondered why there are "conditions" when "religion" is supposed to be inclusive, but rather has always been decisive ; (

Hopefully some things will change some more in our lifetime.

C Woods said...

Great post. I think the solution to the gay-marriage issue is for the govt to get out of the marriage business and replace it with civil unions for everyone. In the state's eye, marriage is really a contract that gives people certain legal and economic rights, so it is a civil union. Civil unions would give equal rights to all parties, gay or straight. if someone wants a "marriage," they need to go to their own place of worship and can be married in "God's eye," but that "marriage" will hold no legal sway. Each religion or sect can decide who they will marry (they already do ---people who say they do not wish to have children are refused marriage by the Catholic church, for example.) Everyone would have 3 choices, 1. have a civil union ---that is basically a legal contract, 2. have a religious ceremony, without legal benefits, that will satisfy one's own religious ideals of "marriage', or 3. do both. Many countries already do this, France and Brazil, for example.

Batocchio said...

Jefferson and Cho? Nice!

(Then there's the version in The Master and Margarita...)