Random Saturday Thoughts

It bothers me enough that there are people who literally believe all people are created equal, until they discover you are covered by one of their moral exceptions. What drives me absolutely insane is trying to understand how we as Americans have actually allowed a so-called “moral” majority to impose those views upon the law.

How is it that simply uttering three words, “I am gay,” can actually have the effect of stripping rights and fundamentally changing your life? Saying those three words, openly discussing that one aspect of your self that is otherwise undetectable, even without deed or evidence, can get you fired. They can even get you evicted from your home.

How is it that those three words make an otherwise capable soldier suddenly unfit for duty? Combat-forged, highly trained, dedicated, devoted individuals who hold themselves to the very highest, selfless standards of being willing to die for their country are suddenly deemed incompatible with military service, even if they have been “compatible” and capable for their entire careers. There are no medical tests, no service history, no legal waivers that can possibly reflect their inability to perform due to their sexual orientation, yet those three words will have them discharged, suddenly a detriment to the defense of our nation.

How is it that the very same man can walk into a justice of the peace and obtain a marriage certificate can also be denied one, depending on who he brings with him? There is no proof required that they believe in god, that they will be faithful to each other, that they will not get divorced, that they will raise children, or even that they will ever have sex. Yet these are the very arguments that are used to deny same-sex couples the opportunity to be married.

Any man (gay or straight) can obtain a marriage certificate if it is for him and a woman. Any woman (gay or straight) can do the same, as long as it is for her and a man. So gay people are allowed to get married, just not to each other. And there actually seems to be a majority–at least among voters–who believe that makes sense.

Religious marriage is not recognized by the state; it still takes a civil marriage certificate to make it legal. So if you believe in the separation of church and state, should you not also believe that religious–or even moral–views of marriage have no place in the legal issue?

We don’t pass moral judgement on why a man and woman want to get married if it’s not in a church, so why should we care if a same-sex couple gets married? Men and women get married all the time–for financial benefit, for legal rights, or just for the hell of it. Even common law marriages (i.e. people who don’t even go to the trouble of getting married!) are legal, and happen sometimes by default just because people have spent so long together.

We have allowed religious fundamentalists to impose their morals upon our ethics as a nation. “All men are created equal,” is an ethical value at the very basis of American existence. That we have allowed religious–specifically Christian–morals to affect how we apply those ethics to our fellow Americans is disrespectful to our founding fathers who sought specifically to leave them out of our laws, and in total discord to (if not the antithesis of) the very essence of freedom and democracy.

I wish there were a way to open people’s eyes to what they are allowing when they vote in favor of initiatives like Proposition 8 in California last year, or Question 1 in Maine last week. I truly believe that the majority of Americans support equality, even if they are not in a given minority. I wish people would realize that it is not marriage that is affected by discriminatory measures like these–it is freedom itself. The point is not that some people are now not allowed to get married, it is that we, the people, have become blind to the truths we once held to be self-evident.

Author: Matthew

U.S. Marine Corps officer living in North Carolina. The views expressed here are my own, and are in no way intended to represent the United States Marine Corps, Department of Defense or any of its components.

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