A Curious Bystander

Megan Chrisler

The big news in Illinois politics is the upcoming law legalizing same-sex marriages. At the time of this article, it has passed the House and is expected to pass the Senate. The governor has already declared his agreement to sign it into law, which would make Illinois the fifteenth state to support same-sex marriage, with Hawaii following. Congress will soon get in on the action too, with legislation that prohibits the discrimination of homosexuals and transgenders in the workplace.

This is, of course, the civil rights movement of the Millennials. It is something that the student population of Millikin University engages in as global democratic citizens, something that they will tell their children about. Some future marriages of Millikin students even depend on this legislation.

That is not to say, however, that there is little opposition. I won’t even talk about Tea Partiers or the reporters on Fox News because we all know they’re insane. There are reasonable and tolerant people who have arguments against same-sex marriages; these are the arguments I would rather focus on.

Religion is arguably the biggest source of tension in the issue of homosexuality. We have all heard the anti-gay scriptures; however, many of these passages deal with people who use sodomy for the humiliation and abuse of other human beings, not as a way to express love. To say that sodomy is wrong in all its forms is to say that mutual sex is like rape.

The other anti-gay passages that simply say that homosexuality is a sin must be seen in its social context; to take the Bible as a literal translation of God’s word is to say that the ancient Middle East’s social norms were correct because the Bible was written by humans during that time. Religious protesters of homosexuality also sometimes forget that the Bible deems heterosexuality a sin as well; the only reason that it is allowed within marriage is because it produces children. Is this an ethical reason to deny marriage to those who did not write the rules of nature or their own sexual orientation?

This is only the tip of the iceberg, though; one could talk for a week straight about the religious arguments for and against same-sex marriages. The political repercussions of this that should be looked at lie in the concept called the separation of church and state. It was established by the founding fathers as a way to keep religious tolerance and to ensure the least amount of religious influence on legal matters as possible, which overly complicates everything. Because of this concept, there are things that the state can do that the church doesn’t and vice versa. The government, then, has the right to deem same-sex couples married, just as the church has every right to be anti-gay. There may be plenty of religious reasons to not support a homosexual lifestyle, but there are no legal reasons to do so. It does not hinder the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness given to every American citizen, and it does not endanger the rights of others. American individualism, tolerance and freedom all support same-sex marriages.

There are, however, two legitimate anti-gay arguments, if there are any at all. The first is not exactly an argument, merely a fallacy in a pro-gay argument. The idea that “It’s my life and I can do whatever I want; it’s none of your business” is one of the top five most annoying Facebook statuses of all time.

Contrary to popular belief, you cannot do whatever you want; if you could, there would be no laws, sense of ethical norms or responsibilities. Because you cannot do whatever you want, it is somebody’s business. Not mine usually, but mostly the government’s, the court’s, your family’s and recently, the NSA’s.

The bigger anti-gay argument is the fact that homosexuals cannot reproduce, which is nature’s goal for every human being. The reason that not every human being can reproduce is because nature is not perfect; she makes mistakes. If nature could go back in time to fix things, there would be no cancer, depression, deformities or hormonal imbalances. Only a few of us are special; all of us are flawed.

Still, the last two arguments do not trump the pro-gay stance. There are much better reasons to support gay rights than the former argument and the last argument is not under the control of any human being, thus releasing any blame on any individual.

The fight against gays has lost, and Republicans should face it — there’s much more to hate about Democratic ideology anyway. And to be fair, there are plenty of intolerant people on the pro-gay side as well. For every Bible-wielding Tea Partier out there, there is a Democrat who merely bashes and blatantly insults people he or she has never met. No matter who is wrong or right, both sides have the right to present their reasons and to get a decent discussion out of the issue.