So if you aren’t keeping up with things here in California and at Vanilla Garlic Headquarters let me keep you up to speed. Proposition 8, the voter-approved law that banned gay marriage in California months after the state Supreme Court made it legal and after 18,000 gay and lesbian couples had already hitched their trolleys, was recently dubbed by the 9th Circuit Appeals Court as unconstitutional.
This, however, does not mean that same sex couples can now get married. A stay is in place as the proponents of Prop 8 figure out whether to go back and seek a larger appeal from the 9th Circuit or go directly to the Supreme Court (who may choose not to even hear it).
I, as you may or may not know, am getting married in August.
You can say I have a vested interest in the subject.
I’m obviously very happy for the win and am writing this a few days after the 2-1 decision was announced. I'm also finally in a place where I’ve calmed down a bit and can bathe in the glow of social justice and bask in the fact that things seem to be going the right way – at least as I see it. Little steps is progress and all that positive whatnot.
Ah, but you may be wondering why I needed to calm down. It wasn't from joy but from anger and frustration. What I’ve been pissed about is how the decision brought all these angry people out of the woodwork. They came out in droves, frothing at the mouths and pulsating with rage. They declared judicial overreach and shrieked about activist judges. (Strange how they’re only activists when they don’t rule in your favor.)
Normally, I stay out of it all. Especially the internet arguments. You can't hear who wins over the din of a pack of shrieking banshees, if, indeed, anyone CAN win.
Yet, all this anger and fervor… it’s hard to deal with when it is directed squarely at you. This whole Prop 8 thing is extremely personal. For gays and lesbians far more than anyone else, even the Prop 8 Proponents because it is a law that directly affects me, my life, my partner’s life, and the lives of many people we know.
I spent way too much time arguing on the Internet the last few days with, well, nothing to show for it but emotional exhaustion. All it affirmed was that some people don’t like the idea of gay marriage and no matter what I say they never will.
Still, I want to make my arguments. I need to just put them out there. This is a self serving post. There is little talk about food here. Yes, a bit at the end and a rather lovely recipe should you want to skip along to the end and give that a look. It's a rather lovely cocktail using gin and kiwis and it kicks quite a bit of ass if I do say so myself.
No worries on going straight to it. I wouldn't blame you as just writing this I want a sip. This is a food blog and food is what you came for and not my soap boxing (or, at least, not this much of it). I understand.
TL;DR and all that.
Years of culling my readership have ensured that probably 99% of my readership is pro gay marriage. If you aren’t then I hope you’ll read this anyways and hear my side of it. I’ll do my best not to offend but in a subject like this that’s so politically charged that’s easier said than done on both sides. I will delete angry, snide, and wrathful comments; and will allow civil ones from both sides. After all, this blog is my home and I expect everyone to behave in my home. My house. My rules.
I also have never asked this but if you like this post I encourage you to share it with people who agree and especially with people who don't agree. I'm hoping that just maybe I can convince someone to this side of the argument (sarcasm in this post aside).
Gay Marriage Will Demean Straight Marriage: How? In five states and in Washington D.C. same sex couples are getting married. How has this directly affected you? Who has actually been hurt?
As far as I see it the 50% divorce rate demeans marriage. Realty television shows demean marriage. Meeting a random person and getting hitched by an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas demeans marriage. Adultery demeans marriage (I’m looking at you Mr. Gingrich). Shotgun weddings because two people who aren’t in love made a bad decision and got pregnant demean marriage.
Two committed people who may have been together for years, have kids, and want the government to legally recognize and provide protections for their family is demeaning to your marriage? Really? Again, I ask you how?
I suppose to some it’s a tarnishment claim. Marriage is an idea. A trademark of everyday life for more conservative people. Somehow gays getting married infringes upon this aspect of their unique identity. Still, this is a rather brittle personal argument at best.
So stop and ask yourself how two people of the same sex getting married directly affects you.
Marriage is for Raising Children: That’s why the elderly, disabled, and infertile aren’t allowed to get married. Oh, wait, they can. Some of these couples can adopt you say? Well what if they don’t want kids? They can still get married.
If that’s okay by you, then the marriage-is-for-children argument is void because based on this reasoning it’s not just for child rearing. Some couples get married because married couples get special rights that ensure their ability to take care of each other and as a way to signify their bond with each other. Isn’t that enough?
In addition, numerous studies (particularly one very thorough study performed by the psychology and sociology departments at the University of Virginia) have shown that children raised by same sex families show no signs of mental or emotional harm and, in fact, grow up to be in better health when compared to straight families. This is attributed to the fact that these same sex families have zero chance of accidental pregnancy and have to jump through numerous hoops to become parents. This demonstrates more resolve to become committed and attentive parents than someone who just happened to get pregnant at an inopportune moment in their life or in the instance of an opposite sex couple who may not be financially or emotionally ready yet to raise a child.
Same sex couples were also seen to have larger support networks, more equitable divisions of responsibilities, and let’s not go into the pressure to be perfect parents, as any mistake a gay parent makes will be placed under more scrutiny than straight counterparts.
Marriage is a Holy Union: The bible does state this many times, no question. "For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh," Genesis 2:24. This the most immediate verse I can recollect that demonstrates this.
But the Bible also says a lot of things about relationships. For example, many opponents of gay marriage say that this may lead to public acceptance of polygamy. Now personally, if that’s your thing and a lady wants a few men on the side or two individuals want an open marriage then I say go for it. I don’t care what you do in your home.
Neither does God, apparently, as Lamech had two wives (Genesis 4:19), Abraham had quite a few and had sons with them (Genesis 25:6), as did Jacob (Genesis 31:17), and Gideon (Judges 8:30), and God through Nathan tells David that he can have many wives (2 Samuel 12:7-8), and Rehoboam had a veritable harem of 18 wives (2 Chronicles 11:21).
Given, God does note many times in the bible that monogamy is the preferred spiritual path. We see this particularly in 1 Timothy 3:2, “Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach,” and Titus 1:6 “…the husband of but one wife…” All this is very much focused on the singular. Still, God does give consent to polygamy so stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
God also states that, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." Romans 13:10. So let’s just run from there and say gay love is good love.
As for the holy union? Marriage licenses are controlled by the state, not by any religion. Religions can only bless unions through ceremony. They cannot issue a license. What gay couples want is the state issued license so that their family is legally recognized with all the benefits that come with it, not a blessing (though some same sex couples are religious and do want that as well).
I guess those years working as youth group leader for my Lutheran church all through Middle and High school paid off. Even more so when I demonstrate the flaws in the argument that…
The Bible Says Homosexuality is Wrong: The Bible says a lot of things and some of it not very well (see above). There’s the old hat argument - but accurate, none the less - that eating shellfish is a sin, but you don’t see religious groups protesting Discovery Chanel’s, The Deadliest Catch. Leviticus 11:10 reads, "But whatever is in the seas and in the rivers that does not have fins and scales among all the teeming life of the water, and among all the living creatures that are in the water, they are detestable things to you."
So... yeah... shrimp is forbidden. Word of God.
Also, remember how I said divorce demeans marriage? God thinks so too in Mark 10:8-9: "And the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
God is also against women wearing gold or pearls as the Bible points out in 1 Timothy 2:9 because they make you look like a dirty whore. Tattoos (Leviticus 19:28) and bowl cuts (Leviticus 19:27 ) are also out so the Beatles and practically every single singer or actor you’ve ever loved will burn in Hell. Though arguably, Nickleback deserves to be there for constantly raping my ears on the radio.
Then there’s slavery, which the Bible is totally cool with. But don’t take my word for it…
"Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling." (Ephesians 6:5)
"However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way." (Leviticus 25:44-46)
"If you buy a Hebrew slave, he is to serve for only six years. Set him free in the seventh year, and he will owe you nothing for his freedom. If he was single when he became your slave and then married afterward, only he will go free in the seventh year. But if he was married before he became a slave, then his wife will be freed with him. If his master gave him a wife while he was a slave, and they had sons or daughters, then the man will be free in the seventh year, but his wife and children will still belong to his master. But the slave may plainly declare, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I would rather not go free.' If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will belong to his master forever." (Exodus 21:2-6)
"When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again. But he is not allowed to sell her to foreigners, since he is the one who broke the contract with her. And if the slave girl's owner arranges for her to marry his son, he may no longer treat her as a slave girl, but he must treat her as his daughter. If he himself marries her and then takes another wife, he may not reduce her food or clothing or fail to sleep with her as his wife. If he fails in any of these three ways, she may leave as a free woman without making any payment." (Exodus 21:7-11)
Keeping hostages, sex slavery, it’s all good. These verses were used in defense of slavery by conservatives back when abolition was considered by many to be contrary to the benefit of society.
But this is all Old Testament. Jesus surely has a different opinion right?
"The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given." (Luke 12:47-48)
Oops, no, he advocates beating your slaves. Maybe later on in the New Testament?
"Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them." (1 Timothy 6:1-2)
Like I said, the Bible says a lot of things. Keep in mind that it hasn’t been updated (I'm not counting new translations here) in the 2000 years since it was highly edited by a group of very privileged, upper class men. Just because the Bible says something doesn’t make it right or even okay. The Bible and other religious texts have a lot of great things to say, but I think it’s all something you need to apply some independent thought and critique to. The Bible was written in a completely different time when kings ruled, lightning was considered heavenly wrath and not known to be excited ionization in the atmosphere, and women were property.
Religion is a good thing in that it encourages the golden rule: treat others as you would want to be treated.
Being Gay is a Lifestyle Choice: I’m gay so I think I can speak with more authority on this more than any specialist so let me clear this up for you all once and for all.
No. It isn’t.
Yes, there is situational homosexuality (read: prison or desert island), and perhaps some environmental factors may influence some people or perhaps these factors simply influence their behavior (to use labels, straight-acting gay vs. super flaming handbag full of rainbows gay).
I suppose it is a choice to repress your feelings, which is something that camps like Exodus do through mass brainwashing and guilt. This, however, generally leads to suicide and depression for most.
While my dad is a great guy, loves Fiance’, and is very kosher with having two of his three sons turn out gay when he first found out I was gay he sent me to see now-famous psychiatrist, Dr. Joseph Nicolosi. Dr. Nicolosi encourages homosexual “reparative therapy” to help people repress their gay feelings. During our sessions he argued to me that I was feeling gender-deficient and tried to make me understand that I liked boys because they had traits I wanted to emulate.
I nodded and cooed. I told him what he wanted to hear. Over phone sessions I would tell him how all the bad thoughts were going away while I watched Dawson’s Creek on the TV with the closed captions running and fantasized about Kerr Smith.
Speaking as an ex-patient of his, I can say the man is a dangerous loon. He’s a guy with a degree in psychology who says being gay is a mental illness, something the American Psychiatric Association has said is not the case since 1973. Because Nicolosi’s or a church’s therapy can actually increase the suicide rate in a group that already has staggeringly high numbers (gay teens are 1/3 more likely than other students to commit suicide according to a 2006 Psychology in the Schools report) I would say that Nicolosi and programs like his that damage young gay people must be stopped.
You cannot fix what is not broken.
Next, I argue that if being gay is a choice then, logically, so must be being straight. If you are straight think back and ask yourself: when did you choose to only like the opposite sex? Furthermore, if there was a choice to be made doesn’t that infer that there must have been attraction to the same sex for a choice even to be made?
Arguing choice is a two way street – by insisting there is a choice to be made you’re simultaneously arguing that you yourself must have made one and had inborn tendencies for same sex attraction. I personally never made a choice because I instinctively assume that vaginas are spooky places hiding Cuthulian tentacles formed of nightmares and teeth. (Sorry ladies.)
So yes, it’s not a choice. You are, in fact, born this way.
First Gay Marriage. Next Will Be Polygamy, Bestiality, and Incest: Okay, I already covered the polygamy thing. I, personally, don't care if you're into that or not. Neither does God. As for how polygamy affects children? I have no clue so I'm not going to postulate about it as that's not what this post is about.
As for it leading to incest? Really? Are the hordes of incest groups out there lobbying our Senators that I don't know about? Is there an incest movement complete with incest pride parade? And I'm talking about consenting adults here. Not parents or adult figures molesting children who are too young to defend themselves; and in connection to that statement, there is no correlation connecting being gay to being a child molester. In fact, U.C. Davis did a very intriguing study about this.
This whole argument is specious reasoning at best as incest and being gay have nothing to do with each other with no grounding in fact whatsoever. Same for bestiality. (And ew.)
Activist Judges are Overturning the Will of the People: Let’s look at this argument through a historical lens.
Women’s suffrage was a long and arduous battle for women. In fact, a suffrage bill was brought to the House in 1915 and soundly defeated. Another was defeated in the Senate in 1918. Twice. Then again in 1919. All of these lost even with President Wilson urging Congress to pass the bill.
The bill eventually passed in 1920 and then went through some difficult ratification deliberations in the states. The general public did not get to vote on the subject. It is generally surmised by most historians that the measure would have been voted down if it had been. Indeed, the fact Congress voted it down so many times shows that, 1) times were different back then as they are now, and 2) voting on individual rights via Congress or popular vote isn’t always a good thing.
Most Americans in the United States frowned upon interracial marriage in the 1960’s. It was a Supreme Court decision that overturned the backwards laws.
The Lovings, an interracial couple were married in D.C. due to Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act that banned marriages between any white person and any non-white person. When they returned to Virginia police officers invaded their home one night and found them sleeping in bed together (sex between the races, by the way, was a separate crime; similarly, today, gay sex is still illegal in many states even though it is rarely enforced). The Lovings showed the police their marriage certificate, which the police confiscated as evidence against them when they were prosecuted.
The sentence for this crime was 1 to 5 years.
In 1967 the Supreme Court under the Equal Protection Clause said that this was, essentially, all 'effed up. In their words,
"Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival.... To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discrimination. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State."
This bears striking similarity to the recent decision of the 9th Circuit Appeals Court decision:
“We consider whether that amendment violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. We conclude that it does… Proposition 8 served no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status... and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.”
Had the ban on lifting the laws against interracial marriage been put up to a popular vote it would have failed. Miserably. A Gallup poll on interracial marriage taken in 1968 shows that the popular vote would have kept the discriminatory law firmly in place. This itself is a good demonstration of why popular vote isn’t always the right one and why judges have to step in.
I think we can all agree that it was a good thing that these “activist judges” were there to protect the minority. That is their job, after all. To strike down laws that are illegal. They aren’t activists. They’re simply interpreting the law and ensuring proper protection for all citizens. Otherwise, the majority could simply do anything they wanted against any minority.
In fact, the Public Policy Polling organization recently took a poll of GOP voters in Mississippi in 2011 and asked them if interracial marriage should be illegal. 46% of voters in this state stated they were against it.
So, then, who wants to put up interracial marriage to a vote in Mississippi in 2012 and see what happens?
The courts have had to overturn many laws like this such as disallowing marriages to Japanese Americans, requiring Chinese citizens to carry papers of residency, Chinese immigrants being banned from voting, etc. (Wikipedia has a rather terrifyingly complete list.)
As for your religious beliefs being overturned? Separation of church and state. We are not a theocracy. And if we were then we would, essentially, be a socialist state.
In addition, if you’re very conservative and religious you need to recall that not everyone is the same religion as you. To require everyone to follow the laws of one religion is to infringe on the right of religious practice of others. Everyone thinks their religion is the right one and that is where we begin to have all sorts of other problems. (Not my video, by the way, but I love the point it makes.)
Gays Already Have Civil Unions: Not in every state, no we don’t. Or domestic partnerships. Even in states that do we still don’t generally get full state benefits let alone NONE of the federal benefits of marriage.
For example, under federal law if you marry someone of foreign citizenship then that individual can receive U.S. citizenship. Since gays and lesbians don’t have access to this right under federal law (see DOMA, which the president declared as unconstitutional) many legally married, long time committed binational couples face the threat of having a spouse deported. Imagine this happening to your partner. Imagine if you have kids and are facing this situation of their parent being kicked out of the country. Imagine the choices you have to make.
This is nothing to say of the innumerable tax and inheritance laws. Social security protections? Not a chance. If the second parent was unable to adopt a child legally through state laws then the chance a child could be removed from his or her parent is a very real concern. The child would be torn away from a guardian of many years and placed with strangers and could even be separated from his or her siblings.
Other rights include that employee benefits for federal workers aren’t given for domestic partners unlike married couples, and that’s nothing to say of COBRA coverage (regardless what COBRA Commander says).
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) doesn’t apply to gay families. This act guarantees family and medical leave to employees to care for parents, children, or spouses. As currently interpreted, this law does not provide leave to care for a domestic partner or the domestic partner’s family members. Imagine if your child was in the hospital but not being given the time off to be at his or her bedside because – remember? – the law won’t let you legally adopt your own child. A bit cruel, no?
Heck you might not even get a say in the care your child received, let alone the care your partner received. Since many states don’t even have civil union laws families of gay people who don’t approve of certain members being gay can and have sued to deny all benefits to a long time partner, even going against the will of the deceased and winning in court to ensure that a partner isn’t cared for as intended.
Some conservatives don’t want to pay taxes for gay and lesbian government workers to have benefits for their partners. But gays should have to pay for the husbands, wives, and children of straight workers? Really?
Can we opt out? No. Now if you make it so gay people pay significantly less in taxes so we don’t have to pay for services not available to us then we may have something to build on.
This is all to say that civil unions and domestic partnerships are not the same as marriages. Separate but equal is bad enough. This, however, is simply separate and unequal.
Churches and Religious People Are Losing Their Jobs, Incomes, Etc.: There is the argument that people in public jobs have been fired for not wanting to grant same sex marriage licenses or charities losing their public funding. Here’s the thing on both of those: tax dollars pay the people in public government jobs. Therefore, they are required to serve the entire public. They do not get to pick who to hand legal documents and forms, too.
As for public funding for a charity? Working for a nonprofit I can say this: No group is entitled to government funding. If you want it you have to abide by their rules. That generally means no exclusion. Essentially if gay peoples' taxes are being used to pay you then you can’t exclude them.
I’m doing my best to see it from the other side’s point of view. Really, I am.
Some conservatives say they don’t want to explain homosexuality to their kids. Well, guess what? Homosexuality exists and the kid is YOURS. That child’s education and outlook is indeed your responsibility. Uncomfortable talks are part of being a parent. Remember that? It’s what you signed up for. You can't shield them from everything.
If you just think gays are icky, well that’s just not a good reason legally speaking and I doubt you can ever be convinced otherwise.
Regardless of where you stand I encourage you to read the actual judgement of the case in full here and see what all three judges say before arguing further either way in the comments.
Okay, recipe time. The amount of time I took research and writing this piece left little time to do any cooking. After I finally finished finding my sources and all I just wanted a simple easy something.
This kiwi cocktail is just that. Kiwi, gin, and a spritz of grapefruit make for a bright, light, and rather relaxing drink for the tail end of what's been a surprisingly warm winter. In addition, it'll help you calm down if you're a tad riled.
So a glass to you all. Here's to finding out what's to come.
2 ounces gin
1/2 of a kiwi, peeled and chopped
1/2 ounce grapefruit juice
1 ounce simple syrup
peeled slice of kiwi to garnish (optional)
Place all ingredients in a shaker and shake vigorously. Pour and strain into a martini glass and garnish with a slice of kiwi.