Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dearly Beloved, We're Gathered...

To say our goodbyes. Today we bid farewell, auf wiedersehen, adios, masalaama, and good riddance to DOMA, or, the Defense of Marriage Act, section 3. And please, please, let this mean that someday in the future, our fair country (or my fair country) will have fully equal rights for same-sex couples in all states.

Well, that got serious. But I can't help it; marriage equality is one of my favorite topics, because I just can't stop myself.

Let's get this straight (heehee--I legitimately did not mean to do that): No. The decision that DOMA section 3 is unconstitutional does not, DOES NOT, have any effect whatsoever on your views of the morality of same-sex marriage, nor on your church's, should you subscribe to church or religion. It's pretty much only for tax and legal purposes; homosexual couples still can't get married in the Catholic church (right? I'm pretty sure, but I'm not Catholic), but now they can pay marriage taxes! Yay! Because they really want to pay taxes. And guess what? That's a big chunk of change for the federal government, and for your state's, if your state has legalized same-sex marriage. DOMA section three says (According to wikipedia--no, I'm not going to read all of it, I'm not a lawyer) that in terms of the federal level, "marriage" is defined as a union between a man and a woman. Yes, it's still legal for your state to not recognize same-sex marriage if it doesn't want to--but why the hell not?

Perhaps it's obvious, but for me, same-sex marriage in the eyes of the government is merely about legality and taxes. It's not about morality, which is hard since most of our laws have some moral background to them--many of us believe, for instance, that stealing from someone is inherently wrong, and it seems to us that since theft is illegal, it supports this moral claim. Which it does. But can you say that stealing is illegal because it's immoral? I don't think so. Stealing isn't just a moral issue, it's an economic one; counterfeiting is illegal because it disrupts the economic workings of countries, not because it's immoral. Sure, it's immoral, a sort of lie in itself, but that's not why it's illegal. Even murder has an economic impact, though I'm sure morality plays a bigger part in murder than it does in stealing. Legality should not be based on morality, but rather facts.

I realize in the examples above, I cited only economics, making it seem like economics were the only thing that matter. Well, yes, economics are important. But so are other things, including statistics, voting history, numerical data, etc. All of these are quantitative and qualitative evidence: facts. Time and history have proven over and over again that when someone kills another person, bad things happen. The prudent thing, then, for a government, is to punish murderers to dissuade murder. Time and history have proven that homosexuality doesn't make bad things happen. Fire doesn't fall from the sky, empires don't collapse, wide-spread illness doesn't spread farther. In fact, there are around 9 million same-sex couples in the US. If all of them got married and started paying taxes, well....well, I'm no good with math. But I'm pretty sure that's a lot in marriage taxes. And, in the case of STDs, it's not the sex of who you're sleeping with that spreads diseases like HIV and AIDS. These are just as big problems in heterosexual couples as they are in homosexual ones. Being gay doesn't make you any more or less sexually promiscuous than being straight does: that's all you.

So what is the huge problem?

I honestly don't know. But debates about same-sex rights open up ones about sexuality in general, and perhaps many of us aren't ready for those. Human sexuality is complicated, and perhaps now we're just beginning to accept that fact. Do we really need to go into what makes it complicated right now?

Well, umm...yes? Because if we don't know why it's complicated, what makes it that way, how are we going to accept that it is?

Here's a nice vlogbrothers video to help you make sense of it all, neatly summed up in less that 4 minutes.

And not only sexual preference or gender identification is an issue, but sexuality in itself; we believe we are a nation obsessed with sex: every college ever has hosted a talk about how "sex sells" and what it sells. Sex, apparently, is everywhere.

Well, DUH.

We're humans, mammals, genetically programmed to continue our species. And how do we do that? Right. We like seeing fit TV stars, we like people with rare genetic qualities and mutations (I, myself, am a sucker for dark hair and blue or hazel eyes), why? Because these are mate-able qualities, ones that provide variety and better chances at survival. But I don't think we're obsessed with sex, to the point of our society's decline because of it. If we were really, truly, obsessed with sex? We'd be the Romans. Look up Roman sexuality. We're not the Romans. I doubt we'll ever be the Romans, if we pay attention.

Denying that we have sex, that we like sex, and that we have a sexual nature is like denying ourselves water. It doesn't work; it simply makes us want water more.

I'm adding to my reading list The Arab Mind, by Raphael Patai. In it, there is a chapter about how boys and girls in Arabic countries are separated at an early age and taught that sex is bad. But what does that do? It simply makes them want water more. (Water is, of course, a metaphor for sex.)

But while I do think it's important that the government sanction equal marriage rights, and that we as a society begin to consider questions of sex and accept our own sexual nature, I also think that my preferences on the subject do not need to be out in the air, nor do I believe we need to advertise our sexual nature. I don't need everyone knowing how many people I've slept with, or what positions I prefer, or how I like my kisses. Accept, not advertise. It seems like a good compromise.

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