Okay, my intellectual and philosophical readers. Let's get our hands dirty.
Because if you're not prepared to have this conversation for real, then all hope is lost. If you can't even read this whole page, then all hope is lost. If you go searching for blog posts and articles with the shallow intent of instantly ascertaining which "side" the writer is on and then praising or crucifying them accordingly, then all hope is lost.
*Insert blood curdling scream here*
I am going to be frank with you. My thoughts on this subject did not come easily. And maybe my opinions will surprise. I kind of hope they do. Because the long-held, predictable, emotional arguments about this issue, from both sides, are NOT GOING TO CUT IT as we move into the future. We're far beyond stubbornly defending fairy-tale ideals.
We have opened the world up to a myriad of impossible legal, constitutional, and yes, moral, dilemmas. And all because of one absolute TRUTH that has been completely obscured by the most insidious and tyrannical lies.
Marriage...any marriage...is not a human right. It is a civil liberty.
Need clarification? A human right is not given or determined by anyone. We are born to it by virtue of our humanity. It is the basic, instinctual, need for self determination and individualism. The right to think, speak and act as our own free person. It depends on no one, least of all the state.
(by "state", I mean the ruling body, not...Oregon)
A civil liberty on the other hand, must be decided. It is the arrangement of law or civil order to determine what we allow and don't allow in a society when OTHER individuals or groups are involved. It is how we live in the public marketplace. It is how we connect our individual lives with other people.
Loving someone is a human right. Marrying someone is a civil liberty. Got it?
So why would it be such a bad thing to mistake marriage for a human right? Because we must treat human rights differently than all other liberties. Because they must be held higher than all others. They are the very definition of liberty, not a happy little by-product of it. No matter how worthy an idea or pursuit, if it's placed before human rights, then we are no longer free; we are being managed.
And being cleverly managed by someone else can be alright...until it's not. Just ask anyone who voted for Hitler.
You see, to form a marriage requires something from other people, whether some kind of participation or recognition. So it must either be shaped in accordance with human rights, or it must be enforced by undemocratic means.
This is Human Rights 101 my friends. A class of study that apparently hasn't been offered anywhere in decades.
And why would the state agree to pretend that marriage, any marriage, is a human right when it's not? Because we grant it more power and authority when it does. If the gay lobby simply said to us all, we'd like to change your religion to suit our lifestyle, we'd all laugh and say this is a free country buddy. But no one is saying that, except in all those dirty little lawsuits against churches that we aren't supposed to know about. We're only allowed to talk about the right to love, when that has already been established and is already protected.
We're having a human rights discussion that has been completely fabricated for us.
One other glaring misconception that must be noted - marriage can never be equal. Ever. The marriage contract is meant to separate a lesser bond from a greater. It was made to elevate people from a romantic relationship to a familial one. If marriage was truly equal to all other relationships, it would cease to mean anything. And if we were all truly equal to marry, then there would be no objection to polygamy or incestuous union. Even where same-sex marriage is legal, marriage is not equal. A free society acknowledges that some must be excluded.
And this is where you and I might part ways...
Be patient. I will explain.
I don't mind the least bit if two men want to be married to each other. I really, sincerely don't. I know gay people and I care about them. I need them to be free because I need to be free. We've already as a society decided that marriage doesn't have to have anything to do with God - we've provided the option of separating it completely from religion. So whether or not someone enters into a private contract is no skin off my nose. It's a PRIVATE contract. Or it should be. And that's the problem. Thanks to the confusion over human rights and civil liberties, marriage has lost its "private contract" status and has become the business of the state. Therein lies the danger.
Now there are many differing cultural views on marriage, and for most of history, those views have been closely tied to the beliefs of those marrying. The engagement, the ceremony, the roles and duties of family, friends, religious leaders, and the significance for the new couple - all the result of generations of faith and the realities of family and spiritual life in whatever region of the world they hail from. The role of government in every free society has traditionally been to merely act as a protector of that vital culture, not as a dictator.
But as government grows, so does its arrogance, and at some point we allowed the state to determine which cultural rites were more acceptable than others and which religious and cultural leaders would be permitted to represent them. We decided that church and state should share custody, but all that really did was invite the state to run off with the kids.
For example, if I decide to marry according to my faith, I can. But I have to have my marriage sanctioned by the state before they will recognize the union because it would be a Mormon temple wedding and the government can't maintain control if people are running around practising their religion all willy-nilly, don't you know. The state doesn't just recognize my hypothetical marriage. They sanction it. I need their direct approval to commit myself to someone and start a family.
Are we really okay with that?
I could choose instead to simply shack up with somebody and raise kids without getting married at all - but that would conflict with my personal beliefs. So if I want to practise my religion, I must seek and obtain permission from the state.
Now there are plenty of other complications when a couple chooses to marry which legitimately require some kind of government regulation - taxes, property ownership, insurance, custody of children, etc.
But these are all legal arrangements. You don't have to be married to raise children together or purchase property or write a will or set up life insurance. It's possible to manage all of your affairs with just the occasional help of an attorney - an individual that you hire. The supreme court couldn't care less what you do with that power. Run free and pursue happiness!
Why can't it be the same with marriage?
When my dad remarried, his wife wanted to have her favourite aunt officiate at the ceremony. Her aunt is a judge in the province of British Columbia. Sounds pretty qualified to me. But the government of Alberta said nope, not going to allow that. My parents had to pay money to have someone else at the wedding to make it official. Because a JUDGE wasn't good enough for the almighty powers that be.
Something is very wrong with that.
And right at this point, you're probably thinking that this article isn't actually about gay marriage. You're kind of correct. The issue is bigger than gay marriage.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret - at least, it's a secret if you're the liberal media. Yes, there are many people out there that would like to legislate morality according to their narrow beliefs and some do object to gay marriage on religious grounds. There are even a miserable few who cannot tolerate gays. But most...MOST...people really only want to make sure the pendulum doesn't swing too far the other way.
Most people just want to make sure that morality is not being legislated by those who cannot tolerate Christians.
The issue at hand has nothing to do with the approval or disapproval of gays. No government can dictate what's in people's hearts and should not be permitted to try. Even Martin Luther King Jr. knew that. He marched to change hearts and minds, not to gain power over people.
Here is the bottom line. If the state has it's long fingers in the institution of marriage, then it will be forever altering and manipulating the way it is defined, monitored, and sanctioned. If marriage is being dressed up like a human right, it will unavoidably come in direct conflict with real human rights and at that point, something has to give. So which real human right must be quashed in order to honor the fake one?
And because the government can justify its interference by calling marriage a human right, they will tread on the law and on democracy itself and all who disagree are deemed evil, even criminal. A state sanctioned private contract can be forced upon private businesses and individuals. And so it is no longer a private contract. It's a public one. Owned and operated by the state. And all dissenters must be punished, even at the cost of their inalienable human rights. That isn't just legislated morality, folks. It's tyranny.
However, if marriage is actually allowed to be a private contract, with the only applicable governing laws pertaining to consent and child protection (real human rights), then all citizens are free to marry whomever, wherever, however and by what authority (or no authority) they choose and all other citizens are free to attend, celebrate, and participate - or not, as they choose. If you're a baptist, get married the baptist way. If you're a jew, get married the jewish way. If you want to dance naked under a full moon, go for it. Your beliefs. Your family and friends. Your vows. Anything else is superfluous bureaucratic nonsense. Marriage license? What for?
I believe we've reached a place in our society where the only options we've left ourselves are to either regulate marriage as little as possible, or regulate it entirely, at the expense of everything. Because we'll neeeever agree on gay marriage. And it's okay that we don't. But instead of finding a compromise that respects human rights, we've allowed one of our most sacred institutions to become one of the hottest political pawns ever used to disguise the loss of liberty.
Either marriage is one thing only, determined by the state, or it's what we privately deem it to be, in our own lives and in our chosen cultural and religious traditions. I know that many conservative and religious people will balk at that, as if we're losing ground. I understand. Marriage was formed by God. But the reality is, we gave it away and we're not getting it back. We lost that battle a really long time ago when we allowed marriage to go from religious rite to civil contract and created no-fault divorce. We gave marriage to the non-religious and can't snatch it back. The reality is, the best way to defend religious marriage, is to defend the civil right to marry according to personal belief, without the need of state sanction. The reality is, if we can't now allow others to define marriage for themselves, then they are going to define it for us by the nastiest methods possible. And the state is an eager enforcer.
If you lump yourself in with the ferocious gay lobby, don't be stupid enough to celebrate. We've allowed people with hate in their hearts to dictate to others what they ought to believe. Because people aren't threatening pastors with arrest or shutting down bakeries out of love no matter what their stupid hashtags say. This is a tragedy for all free people everywhere. The only real victory for all of us, gay or straight, would be to collectively tell the government to step off. Instead we've been fighting over who get's to pick the manner and means by which it rules over us!
In hoping to make some people bend to the will of others, we've actually given the government more power to force us all to bend when we should have been taking power away. Getting the state to agree with you isn't winning. We must tell it that we no longer require it to make moral decisions for us. We will make them for ourselves and allow all others the same freedom.
We must love liberty enough to agree to disagree!
We went about this the wrong way, y'all. We've been doing it wrong for decades. The way it stands now, same sex marriage means trouble for a lot of good people who only intend to live their own lives. Human rights will be violated by the state. They will be. All over the place. No one should stand for that. No one.
I personally believe that gays should be free to marry, by private legal arrangement, or within a cultural practise or religion that freely chooses to allow it, because this is the civil system that we've created. But I wouldn't host a gay wedding on my farm. I would refuse to make the wedding cake. I harbour no hatred at all, I just believe marriage to be a religious sacrament. This balance of your freedom and mine is what we need. This is what liberty is!
Civil liberties - check.
Human rights - check.
state interference - nil
Because isn't the whole point to remain as free as we can while still joining together to form a society? Isn't that what we all want...apart from the cruel and vindictive few who can't wait to wield the heavy-handed fury of the court?
Having to shop around for a florist is not a human rights violation - it's not even a civil rights violation. If one person won't marry you, someone else will. If your church teaches doctrine you disagree with, go to another church. If your neighbors invite you to their gay wedding, you can politely decline and still be friends. If someone accuses you of being a bigot, when you're really not, you will survive. Oh, and you can discuss difficult issues without name-calling for crying out loud. If someone disapproves of your choices or beliefs...who the hell cares?
It's about time we all grew up.
We cannot protect or expand civil liberties
at the expense of Human Rights.
If we try, we will lose both.
It's called "reality".
Whether you're gay or straight, conservative or liberal, it's time to embrace it.
The next step for all liberty loving people? Separate marriage from the state and uphold all real human rights. And we'd best be quick about it.
*As always, feel free to retort on your own blog. If you can't respect my position, you must at least respect my liberty. Thank you.