Is it an election year or something?

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It is a surprise to no one in the US that Barack Obama supports gay marriage. The only thing that has raised eyebrows is how long it took the President to stumble towards a clear public affirmation of his position.

What’s surprising? Any US president saying this kind of thing is going to piss of the Christian right, and since they’re going to vote Republican that’s no loss to a Democratic pres. But surely it’s also going to appeal to a lot of right-on types who mostly vote Democrat, which means it might be the kind of thing a Democrat president could leave until nearer the election to give any wavering support a boost. This is almost certainly not a sudden Damascene conversion for Obama but something that’s been sat on until the time was judged to be right. From his perspective it would have been a bit of a waste for him to have said this three and a half years ago in the height of his post election (and not being George W Bush) popularity, but if he’s worried that some of his own voters will be viewing the last three years with enough disappointment that they might not vote he’ll probably think it’s time to play a pocket card or two. Suddenly being all right-on about gay marriage after being quite so long could be one such card, and timing it with allegations about Romney being a homophobe in the distant past (which was also preceded by a long period of absolutely nothing being said about it despite Romney being a senator, a state governor and a candidate for the Republican nomination in 2008) could be another.

In short, I don’t think gays should be getting too euphoric about this. I’d say this has got fuck all to do with their rights or anyone else’s and much more to do with getting the votes in come November. On the issue itself I’d say what I always do: that defining marriage is one of the vast (and growing) number of things that should not be a government function at any level, and most certainly not at the federal level. Seriously, just scrap the legal definition of marriage altogether. Gays should be free to define marriage so as to include them and find agreeable celebrants if they want, and those whose religious beliefs mean they define it otherwise should be free to disagree and say that those marriages have no validity in the sight of their preferred man in the sky. It won’t be enough to keep either group but think of the alternative. While it remains something that government feel they can involve themselves in then both gays and the religious will be electoral pawns with nice easy hot buttons to be pressed by otherwise shit politicians who couldn’t be trusted alone in a room with your wallet. But if both the gay and religious lobbies can stick their fingers up to both lots of pollies, and providing they can agree to disagree and don’t actually come to blows over it, then both could be better off. Just one small concession is needed from each side: the gays just need to concede that certain religions will always say that butt love and going sappho is sinful and rules out their particular marriage service, and in turn those religions need to concede that they’re not the only game in town as far as marriage is concerned.

Pictured – traditional marriage

So what’s it to be? I know at least one Christian who isn’t against gay marriage in general but would oppose it in her church, and I also know at least one gay person who’s fine with letting religious prohibitions stand indefinitely provided the various churches are willing to let bi-gals be bi-gals (so to speak) but I suspect they’re both in a minority and that things to remain pretty much the same as they are right now. I hope to be wrong about this one day and wake up to find that both groups have realised that they could both be freer than either is at the moment if only they just told the presidents and prime ministers to mind their own business about it.

Posted on May 11, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. I am not sure it will make much difference, clearly political and those in favour will be voting Dem. anyway and those against won’t. Personally I don’t particularly like the redefinition of marriage, but otherwise have no problem with gay couples having the same rights. However it is likely that, as is already happening in other areas, some will want to push it too far and not let religions who are against it discriminate, as they see it, for long. I can’t see why we can’t live and let live but that seems to be getting harder by the day. Still as long as they don’t make it compulsory who cares, it is just not that important to most people.

    • Oh, absolutely political and certainly there to appeal to voters who are predisposed to voting Democrat. And that’s the bit that I think is interesting. If he was so sure their support was a given would he be saying this now?

      I think you’re right that there will be some who want to take it too far, and will want to force churches and so on to conduct marriage ceremonies without regard to the issues of individual beliefs or property rights. I suspect some of this is simple anti-religion and some of it is a well meaning but poorly thought out attempt to even the discrimination of the past, but the former are too bust hating to consider how the principle might be used against them and the latter have forgotten that two wrongs don’t make a right. Redefining marriage is not the answer. Un-defining it, to use an awkward term, is much better even if it is short of what the extremes of both groups want, possibly because it is short of what they want.

  2. The limit of my agreement as reading approaches 100% is 100%. Since I’ve been getting to know this liberty lark it’s become painfully obvious that a lot of Christians have the State as their true god. That’s why they deplore it when the state legislates for abortion, gay rights, prostitution and the rest: it’s not that they really care whether those things happen, just that the State shouldn’t say they’re OK. If the State makes drugs (or anything else they don’t agree with) illegal they can quietly hate the addicts and leave the police to it.

    All of this is fundamentally against the basis of Christian belief – firstly that God is sovereign and the only living God and no other gods to be had before Him, and secondly that the way to promote virtue is for people to desire it because they have faith in God, not because they are legally compelled to do it. It seems they don’t worry at all that these things are happening because people want them. If gay marriage is wrong, the solution is to address the people who want it rather than to address the government and hope it doesn’t give in.

    From my perspective if two gay people want to have a ceremony, sign a certificate and call it marriage I don’t see how I can rightly force them to stop. This will be the subject of a post on my blog in the near future.

    • …and secondly that the way to promote virtue is for people to desire it because they have faith in God, not because they are legally compelled to do it.

      A very libertarian Christian outlook, that. And one which I wish was more widely understood among those Christians who’d prefer their beliefs to enjoy the weight of law.

  3. What anyone (including me) always forgets about marriage is the curse of the in-laws. If the advocates for ‘Gay Marriage’ had any sense, they’d run away from this issue like the devil was after them.



    (Currently still suffering from a bad case of Monster in law.)

    • Fair point, even though I get on pretty well with mine. Still, it irks me that in most places it’s not even an option because of what a man in a dress thinks just as much as it would irk me if it became compulsory for churches to do gay weddings because of what a man in another man’s bottom thinks. Seems to me that as long as the law is involved it must take sides and freedom is reduced for someone.

  4. I certainly believe that if “marriage” is to mean anything in the eyes of the state then it should be open to those who wish to engage in it regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, etc.

    I actually have no problem with a man marrying 4 women or 40 (as long as I’m not expected to pay for their upkeep) or any other variation. As long as they are a living, breathing human being above the age of consent (after all this is a contract), then go for it.

    After all, why should gays and lesbians be exempt from years of suffering?

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