Tip of the Quill: A Journal
On gay marriage.

Politically speaking, I’m a pretty staunch moderate, so things like today’s New York Times story “Bush Looking for Means to Prevent Gay Marriage in U.S.” (registration required, yadda yadda yadda), really sticks a burr under my saddle.
First, I believe that sexual preference is right up there with skin color and physical build. Saying that gay couples can’t get married to me is like saying that black couples can’t get married, or fat people can’t get married.
Second, I believe that consertives like Rick Santorum that try to link homosexuality with incest and polygamy need to provide some cold, hard data before they start waving those claims around. Unless the percentage of gay people who engage in incest or hurtful polygamy can be truly proven to be greater than the percentage of straight people involved in the same actions, pipe down.
Third, building on that previous point, aren’t polygamy and marriage theoretically antithetical to one another? If you’re ranting and raving about the gay community engaging in wanton sex and hedonism, then give them a more attractive option by legalizing gay marriage. Rendering that option illegal would seem to only encourage the very behavior you’re condemning.
Fourth, why the hell is it legal for married couples to receive preferred status in anything anyway? Some of the supporters of gay marriage I used to speak with back in college had lists as long as their arms of advantages offered to married couples – most notably things like health insurance. While it makes sense that two people engaged in a dedicated relationship are more likely to live healthier lives than those of us running around reckelessly drinking and engaging in wantonly hedonistic behavior, why does saying “I do” in front of a priest or a judge make that relationship any healthier than one where the two people have simply sworn themselves to each other, like a solid monogamous gay relationship (which would otherwise be marriage)?
Finally, this entire state of affairs smacks of Bush’s willful dissolution of the separation of church and state. Legalizing gay marriage shouldn’t mean that all churches are forced to perform the service, but rendering it illegal would mean that none of them could – which is the government determining what the church can or cannot do. If your religion says that gays can’t be married, fine – then it’s your religion that will have to explain that despite it being legal for gays to be married, this particular church does not condone that type of thing and candidates looking for those services will have to look elsewhere. If this causes a new split in the church, fine – that’s where new religions come from. If the big split between Catholicism and Protestantism came about over the morality of where the King could stick his willy, doesn’t it make sense that a 21st-century split should be equally organically sound? What’s worrying about the gay marriage issue at hand right now is that the separation of church and state was implemented to prevent this very state of affairs, namely the chaos and persecution that was so heavy-handed in Europe way back in the day.
Which brings me to my final point – unless conservatives can really and truly prove that this particular lifestyle is harmful (in the same way that, say, child prostitution and heroin are harmful), then isn’t slamming legal mandates down onto alternate lifestyles a very pointed violation of their constituents’ right to the pursuit of happiness?
In short, while there may be plenty of reasons why churches should not be legally forced to perform gay marriages, rendering it illegal for any church to provide such a service, or legally condoning discrimination based on sexual preference, feels to me like the very same prejudice that our country fought back in the 60s. While we may be forced to grudgingly accept some more draconian laws after 9/11, our country’s newfound conservativism should not extend to the curbing of civil rights.