Full disclosure: I’m a straight happily married male who supports equality for all Citizens.
In addressing this gay marriage issue, I’m going to take a slightly different tack in trying to show you my world and my reasoning behind why I have no moral option but to support it.
On one level, I truly don’t care a bit about gay marriage. This is because I’m straight, married, and gays getting married affects those things not one little bit IRL. It won’t make my marriage any different in any particular, whether they get married or not. It neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket.
Then I look at my morals… the principles I use to guide my life.
Now, a bit of explanation is in order here:
I’m an atheist and have been since before I had words for such ideas. I’ve looked hard at religion because I wanted that security of instant Fellowship. I’ve studied several religions both formally in auditing college classes and informally by participating and independent study. Dogma doesn’t work for me. It literally makes me sick, and my stomach hurts. Lots. My head simply doesn’t work in a way that vox Populi and “Because We said so.” can ever be valid reason for anything. I need the logical, congruent, train of thought behind the reason in order to make sense of it.
So my morals are guided by logic, reason, and empathy using various inputs such as the principles enshrined in our Constitution, teachings by various thinkers, and the simple emotional logic of “How would I feel if ××× was applied to me?”
In the first case the principles which our Constitution is founded upon are quite clear on every level. To put it succinctly:
Sauce, goose = Sauce, gander
In other words, unless there’s a valid reason, like actually harming others, every person has the same Rights.
Banning or restricting gay marriage in any element clearly violates this principle on every level. If we read that Constitution there are several places through out it which state this outright in a way which can not be “misinterpreted” unless you’ve never read it, or are claiming some *.* exception for yourself.
*.* = waves hands vehemently in air = bullshit. The long version is \*.*/
Let’s see if you recognize some of those words:
Here’s the foundation principles:
“We The People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
Now, gays are people right? So this says that they are covered by this, and every thing else which follows as well. It also says that, like everyone else they helped create this loan of Our authority to govern Our lives ( “WE The People… do ordain and establish this Constitution”)
How about this one?:
“The Citizens of each State be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.”
In other words, every State must offer its Citizens, at bare minimum, all the Protections and Rights that the US Constitution, and Federal Law, offers. This, (and the Fact that the States explicitly agreed to it by Ratification) is in the original body, and is why the US Constitution trumps State laws and State Constitutions.
That it’s restated in the 14th Amendment only serves to make it clearer, and eliminate wiggle room.
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
No wiggle room. Anywhere.
Based on this first (logical and reasoned) foundation for my morals if I “have a Right” *.*, then You do as well, and my Rights end where yours begin. I don’t ever get to assert a right unless I’m willing to offer that right to everyone. Yup… it’s really is “just that simple” and just that inconvenient too.
This is both the beauty and the damnable cussedness of using morals and moral codes:
They demand that we apply the principles behind them to everyone equally, especially when it’s uncomfortable. They call us to act on a level higher than simple self interest. Worse, if they don’t do those two things WTF are they good for?
This gets us to the second case which is found in the simple metrics of personal testing. I often find that with the “big” “broad” questions it’s very useful to bring them down to a personal level in order to gain clarity about where the “right” of a thing resides.
So… Here’s my second test which is an emotional one:
“How would I feel were I to stand in the shoes of one whom I’m trying to apply my morals, and our laws, to?”
In other words: Am I ok with being limited, or having someone I care about limited in law by my morals?
Now here’s the hard part: let’s lay all the cards on the table… for me, and for me alone, I hate gay marriage. I’ll never get gay married because the idea of being sexual with a man is simply beyond icky to me. Yes, I get that others feel differently about that, but for me that would be utterly horrendous. In fact, the very idea that I would have to get married to a man borders on torture.
Now for the really hard part: Given that I was made this way…
sex with gals = great fun
sex with guys = Eeeeeewwww!
What happens when I reverse the moral code? Does it still hold true if the conditions are reversed? Am I O.K. with applying my morals to me when I reverse the equation? (Yes, morals have lots of hard parts… nature of the beast)
In this case the answer is a resounding “Hell No!” which can be heard two counties over.
Based on this test; any “morals” I use which claim a “Right” *.* to limit gay marriages is blatantly false, because I’m NOT ok with applying them to me. (oooo…. Ouch!)
Bottom line: No matter how much I detest the idea of gay marriage in my life, when I stand in their shoes and look at the exact same circumstances as if them = me, I’ve no choice but to assert, support, and even fight for, their Right to be married as they see fit… just as hard as I would fight for my Right to do so.
Real, True, Morals are terribly inconvenient critters. Sorry. Welcome to the human condition.
In closing: If you claim any sort of moral code this applies…
“When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
“The true measure of a man is found in how he treats those who can do nothing for him.”