There’s a certain conservative radio talk show host who insists that the number of gay people in America is consistently inflated by the media and in the polls. While I personally think the classic Kinsey 10% number is a good guess for the number of people in America whose sexual preferences tend towards the homosexual side of the spectrum (whether they are open about it or chose to keep their private lives private), he believes it can be no more than 2%, and that that somehow justifies disallowing gay marriage. For the sake of argument, I’m going to run with that estimate.
According to census.gov, there are currently over 315 million Americans. That gives a conservative estimate of over 6 million gay Americans. Almost 4 times as many people as live in the entire state of Idaho. Is that the number at which we may begin to disenfranchise a minority? Only 30,000 Americans are afflicted with Cystic Fibrosis – does that mean we should stop trying to cure and treat it in favor of a bigger ticket disease?
Consider that although marriage began as a religious institution, it currently is sponsored, endorsed and ultimately controlled by the government. Religions are free to put whatever hurdles they wish in place to get to a marriage in their church – I don’t think they can rightfully be denied their right to discriminate for their own ceremonies. However, by legislating that marriage, as sponsored by the government, must conform to religious standards, several states have blurred that line between government and religion, using government to enforce religious views.
Ah, but the majority voted to get those ‘one man one woman’ amendments into their state constitutions – mustn’t we give the people what they want? Isn’t the point of protecting minorities to prevent these kinds of laws from being enacted? In Idaho, it is still perfectly legal to discriminate against homosexual and transgender people in employment and housing. The majority has disinclined to include those words in the otherwise comprehensive anti-discrimination statutes – does that make it right?
Let them have civil unions, claim some, and leave ‘real’ marriage for the proper Biblical pairing of one man and one woman. I’ve always wanted to know how the Bible can be pointed to as an example of one man and one woman- what about Jacob (one man, one woman, her sister and both their maidservants), or Abraham (one man, one woman and her maidservant)? How exactly does that get reconciled?
Civil unions are a compromise trying to stave off the inevitable opening of the governmental definition of marriage. They are a pale echo of the separate but equal doctrine, not as harsh, but not a fair solution. In a nation that has principles of equality and freedom built into its backbone, that has fought the same battles, over and over, majority versus minority, and ended up a more equal society again and again, why does such fear persist whenever a new challenge tries to push us forward?