Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Good News, and Some Thoughts

First off, we got news today that Aunt Jean's surgery went very well today. If the next 48 hours go well (and theses are the diciest hours of the the procedure) then Jean will be moved to the neuro wing of the hospital, which a a very good thing. Thank you for all your well wishes and prayers. This has been a torturous year for Allan and Jean, and we hope that the news will only get better for them from this point forward.

On another note, I noticed that NY state legislature voted down a bill that would allow gay marriage. As I read several stories on the subject, I found myself reading the "comments" section underneath the articles. I have my own views on the subject, which I'll get to later, but what amazes me is the hostile dialogues people will engage in. No one can hear what the other person is saying. I've never known a problem so dangerous it can't be talked about, but I believe we have lost the ability to have a thoughtful, respectful, and meaningful debate in this country. People (I can be included in this group) are quick to anger, quick to take offense, and as a result, nothing gets done. No points of views are shared. I don't know the solution. I think listening is involved, but I know it's hard for me to listen when the first thing I hear is something I totally disagree with. I shut down. I think "horse feathers" (okay, not really, but this is a "G" rated blog)and think of the first condescending, nasty thing I can say. What is the solution? For my part, I need to listen more. I'm not the "end all, be all" of knowledge. Do I think I'm right? Of course! And maybe that's why I should shut up and listen. At the very least, I'll be able to understand what the other person values, and then maybe I can be respectful of that and have a meaningful dialogue. Will the other person be as respectful? I hope so, but experience (and 100,000 blog posts) say otherwise.

That being said, I was disappointed the measure didn't pass. I'm not sure I fully understand the reason behind the defeat and the rallying cry of opposition which, to my understanding is, marriage is between a man and a woman because that's how God wants it, or because that's the natural way of nature. I respect a person's right to believe in any faith they chose. For my part, as a Unitarian Universalist, I believe in a concept of God that is accepting and loving, even of the things that I don't understand or fear. Homosexuality is not the typical orientation in nature, but it is of nature.. It is found in nature, and not just in our species. But that being said, marriage is at the center of the argument (though I have my suspicions that there is a larger issue at hand). My definition, based on my experience, is that marriage is between three entities. Traditionally, it's been a man, a woman, and the state that demands $50 to provide them the marriage certificate. Did my wife believe that I loved her before we got married or after? I'm going to hazard a guess and say "Before", just 'cause I'm an optimist. I made a commitment to her long before I proposed. The marriage ceremony was for us, too. We didn't invite the state, because we felt the state would have other things to do that day, and frankly, I would have been surprised if it did show up. The only thing that is different between my wife and I and our homosexual friends who are in committed relationships is that Angie and I get certain legal benefits from the state, and our homosexual friends don't. And to me, that's unacceptable. If the church wants to deny marriage to people who are homosexual, that's their prerogative. There are many Christian congregations that will allow marriage ceremonies between same-sex couples. Perhaps if it were called something else for legal purposes, like "Maniage", or "Femiage" when applied to gay and lesbian couples and "Heterioge" when a man and woman get hitched, and "marriage" when the church is involved, the problem might resolve itself?

Probably not. But it's nice to dream. I understand that separating one's faith from one's politics is almost impossible to do. I guess what I'd like to hear is a good legal reason to deny same-sex couples the opportunity to enter in a state recognized marriage. Of course, that statement inherently implies that the reason must be "good" in my eyes as well as the person who provides it. Very unfair of me, I know, but that's the fly in the ointment, as it were.

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