I live in a state that not only allows homosexual marriage, but celebrates it — explicitly, overtly, without any acknowledgement that there might be citizens within who, when they fill out a form, are nonplussed that their only option of describing a 30-year heterosexual union looks like this:
Married (includes same sex unions)
Don’t yell at me yet. I’m not here to discuss the rightness or wrongness of homosexual unions, but I do want to touch on the rightness and wrongness of how we are introducing them — intractably — into civil society.
In a rapidly short space of time, we have gone from, “Let’s agree to disagree,” to, “There is no option to disagree at all.” If you happen to be a Christian who opposes state-sanctioned homosexual unions (not all Christians do), it’s predictable that you will be identified as a venomous vessel of vitriolic hate. So much for tolerance. Acceptance is on the fast track to being mandatory.
If that seems extreme, post on your Facebook wall, “Marriage between a man and a woman is different than marriage between two people of the same gender, and I don’t appreciate their being treated as the same thing.”
Attacking people for stating opposition — while it is a standard offensive (and I mean that in both senses of the word) maneuver, does nothing more than shut dissenting opinion up, which, come to think of it, is pretty much the idea. We are supposed to accept, passively, significant change, without asking any questions at all, like,
“Is anybody looking at the long term fiscal ramifications to social security, pension plans, and insurance from adding so many ‘spouses’ to the mix?” (New York Times writer Steven Petrow identifies “more than 1,100 benefits,” fiscal and not.)
“Will homosexual couples be subject to the marriage penalty taxes like heterosexual ones?”
We hesitate asking, because any inkling that we don’t understand — or accept — is treated either condescendingly as ignorance or ruthlessly as hate. The inevitable result is silencing people, and whether this is done by media or government, this is a bad idea for intellectual, and literal, freedom.
I know a number of homosexual people, some of whom I like, some of whom I don’t, and I am flummoxed by a logical question that fumbles around as the proverbial elephant in the room:
What do you call yourselves, within the relationship? If you are two women, is one of you the wife, and the other the husband? Or are you both wives? And if you are men, is one of you the husband, and one of you the wife, or are you both husbands? Diversity reigns.
In a heterosexual relationship, this is an easy question to answer: he’s the husband, because he’s the boy; she’s the wife, because she’s the girl. The gender of the person holding the title is — or used to be — integral to the definition of the word.
While Petrow assures us that asking is not nosy, it’s respectful, that’s not the impression I’m getting. And his advice to, “Listen to how the couple introduces or refers to each other,” doesn’t particularly help — what if I forget, and get it “wrong”? And why is it up to me to be the one to keep track of all this?
How about this: why not come up with a term unique to homosexual unions so that 1) there is no confusion and 2) we don’t water down and completely transform the meaning of the words “husband” and “wife”?
I know why: because the intention is to make homosexual unions and heterosexual marriages indistinguishable from one another — but they’re not.
They are different, and insisting that they are the same — and that all people accept that they are the same — is like animatedly describing the clothes that the Emperor is wearing. He’s naked. The only person brave enough to say that aloud was a child.
If you are a Christian, you may, or may not, agree with homosexuality, and regardless of your position, you will be able to find, and use — rightly or wrongly — plenty of Bible verses to defend it.
What matters is that you are not cowed into silence, that you are not told what to say or believe, and that you can ask questions, like, “Are you the wife or the husband? And if there are two wives, why does one of you dress like a man?” in all curiosity without being assaulted.
When we are discouraged from asking questions or stating contrary opinions, then we are in a bad place indeed: a place of intolerance, unacceptance, and hate — and contrary to what we are repeatedly told, these attributes are not the exclusive province of Christians.
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