Sunday, November 16, 2008

Activists must fight vocal opposition when it comes to marriage for all (even gays)

The most interesting aspect of the marches that took place in cities across the nation to express outrage with Californians backward enough to vote for a measure repealing the state’s recognition of marriage for all people (regardless of orientation) is the fact that some people claim the vote ought to end the issue.

It happened in Chicago as well, as the activists who like to politicize their religion held their own counterdemonstration Saturday across the street from the Federal Plaza – where hundreds (if not thousands) of gay rights activists held their own march and rally.

THOSE PROTESTERS OF the (far) right want to believe that if Illinois law were as ridiculous as California law in allowing so many fringe elements to put their pet crusades on the ballot so easily, they’d be able to get a majority of Illinoisans to vote against allowing gay couples to have any of the legal rights associated with marriage.

“The people spoke in California and we believe they’d speak the same way here,” Peter LaBarbera (who on Saturday identified himself as being with a group calling itself Protect Marriage Illinois – the rest of the year, he is with the group Americans for Truth About Homosexuality) told the Chicago Tribune.

He’s probably right.

There are enough people who get irrational when it comes to the issue of marriage that a majority probably would be silly enough to vote “yes” on a measure they perceived as opposing the interests of gay people.

BUT I HAVE to argue – that attitude is irrelevant, regardless of how prevalent it is.

There are times when the correct thing for a society to do is the minority opinion, and it is the duty of a responsible government to be able to figure out when those issues occur and to prevent the majority opinion from running roughshod over the rights of the minority.

The most drastic situation was with regards to the days when segregation based upon race was completely legal in this country (it even had Supreme Court backing from the case of “Plessy vs. Ferguson”).

I have no doubt that any “vote” on the issue taken in the Southern states on whether segregation of the races was justified would have created a majority of voters (even if one assumes that black people were not interfered with at the polling places) who would have voted “yes” to maintain it. Anything promoting integration would have been voted down.

IN OTHER PARTS of the country, there likely would have been a majority of the people who would have been willing to look at the issue as being purely local – as though certain basic rights ought to be denied to some people, based upon what state they happen to be in.

That wouldn’t have meant they would have been correct.

If anything, it would have been more evidence of the repulsiveness of society as it existed then, just as the vote in California last week to repeal new laws that permitted gay people to marry legally (just like everybody else) is an example of how flawed our society remains.

It just strikes me that gay marriage is an absurd issue for people to get worked up over, particularly how I don’t see how one couple’s decision to live their lives together and seek the same legal rights as other married couples have affects my life, one way or the other.

THE REALITY IS that these gay couples seeking marriage likely are not going to find many religious denominations willing to perform them. So we’re talking about a lot more people going to City Hall to have a justice of the peace or some other clerk perform the ceremony.

It’s not like we’re hearing people argue for church weddings. It’s not like any religious denomination is being pressured to change its ways or beliefs because of this.

And if this issue comes down to religious fanatics upset that their particular religion’s beliefs are not being allowed to dominate society over all others, then to me it sounds like these people view religion as their excuse to bully others into submission.

They come off sounding as ridiculous as the Illinois General Assembly did a few years ago when they passed a law saying that marriage between couples of the same gender was NOT legal in Illinois – even though the state’s laws concerning marriage already defined the concept as being a union between couples of differing genders.

IT ALWAYS STRUCK me as completely appropriate that then-Gov. Jim Edgar went out of his way to sign that bill into law at a time when there was so much other business pending at the Statehouse that there was no way he’d have to answer questions about it – because I suspect even he realized how absurd the argument truly is.

If someone truly believes that marriage to someone of the same gender is wrong, I’d argue that no one is forcing them to marry another man (or woman, depending on the crackpot’s gender). That’s actually similar to my belief on abortion – nobody forces a woman to have one if she truly doesn’t want to.

In short, the people who make these arguments against gay marriage come off as the ultimate schoolyard bullies, all grown up and still looking for reasons to use force to cram their sense of ignorance into everybody else’s mind.

Aside from being immoral, such an attitude is ironic because it strikes me as being incredibly un-Christian.


EDITOR’S NOTES: Did California voters manage to anger gay rights activists to the point ( they will fight seriously on the issue of gay marriage?

Chicagoans joined activists in many other cities in engaging in protest on the access to legal ( marriage issue.

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