President Barack Obama on ABC News
Among many things I am emotionally under-equipped to comprehend about the human experience, the importance of marriage, straight or gay, has to be fairly high on the list. My most considered response would be, “Marry, don’t marry, whomever, whatever.”
The notion that coming together of two people of whichever gender in a formal union has intrinsic sacredness and that society has to sanctify that sacredness is hard for me to understand. Like almost everything in human life, marriage is an entirely arbitrary act that requires the consent of no more than the two persons getting married. We know from evidence that marriage does require a person other than oneself.
Of course, you can always marry yourself but what would be the point of that? Or, you can also arbitrarily marry someone else of your choice without that person participating in it. But what would be the point of that either?
It is mildly amusing that President Barack Obama’s endorsement of gay marriages is being hailed as a watershed moment for civil rights in America. It is also being hailed as a morally courageous decision. We have set the standards of moral courage so low for ourselves that something so utterly routine as not preventing two people from getting married is regarded as historic and momentous. It seems anything anyone does these days becomes momentous simply because anyone has done anything at all.
I find it troubling that President Obama or for that matter any one has to at all grapple with the question whether gay people should be able to marry and have the same legal rights as straight people. Why has it been allowed to be an issue in the first place?
Among the fundamental points at the heart of this debate has been that the purpose of marriage is to procreate and perpetuate. And since two gay men or women cannot of their own do either, nature/religion/god has ordained that marriage has to be between a man and a woman and anything else is abomination/abhorrent/deviant/unnatural/sin/punishable. I simplify but that is the general crux of the argument by those who are fanatically opposed to gay marriages.
That, of course, is non-sense even if you, and especially if you believe that god created everything and everyone. If that indeed be so, then accept that god also created men who like men and women who like women and they were not meant to procreate and perpetuate their own DNA. You cannot take the position that god created everything on the one hand and on the other assert, “Yeah, but god did not create gays because they acquired their gayness of their own volition.”
It is a good thing that Obama has come out and unequivocally supported the gay community’s fundamental civil right to marry and enjoy all legal protections. But to call it historic and momentous and courageous is to diminish the meanings of those words.