Gay Marriage a Red Herring

"Gay Marriage a Red Herring," offers an alternative perspective on New York's recent gay marriage accomplishments.

Gays in . I’m very happy for them and the many others who’ve supported this cause.  How momentous a political accomplishment this is, is made clear if one thinks of the hateful resistance gays have experienced in just my own short lifetime. 

I, for one, don’t buy into the hocus pocus reasoning suggesting that either my own marriage or the marriages of others will somehow be weakened if gays are allowed to term their partnerships, either officially or unofficially, “marriages.”  Arguments claiming that the nation’s fabric is weakened by giving gay partners tax breaks, or allowing gay partners the hospital visitation rights that straight couples enjoy are nonsense.  Such arguments are based in nothing more than dislike. 

Still, I think the gay marriage issue is a red herring. At the moment we are in the midst of what the media has dubbed the “Great Recession.”  According to a recent piece in Reuters (Chrystia Freeland, June 10), the number of unemployed in the U.S. falls just short of the combined populations of Greece and Ireland.  U.S. News (Zuckerman, June 20) recently reported that every job created in the U.S. since 2000 has been lost.  Wall Street wealth continues to grow unabated, however.  As such, the rich aren’t feeling the recession experienced by millions of others.  That piece from Reuters explains that the upper class in the U.S. is showing signs of being able to enjoy growth of wealth in our global marketplace while the rest of our country suffers.  The rich and the rest have been decoupled. 

In 2009 CBS reported there were 237 millionaires in Congress; that’s nearly half of Congress.  I doubt that proportion was reduced any when the GOP took control.  If the fates of the rich are separated from those of the middle and lower classes, and yet the rich so disproportionately represent us, can they possibly understand (let alone prioritize) what we are experiencing?  Speculate about that disconnect all you want.  In my opinion, the proof is in the pudding.  What’s being done to correct the situation?  What’s being done to stem home foreclosures?  What’s being done to improve education?  Improve infrastructure?  Increase the permeability of the upper class?  Conservatives are doing what they are expected to do – they are trying to shred our safety net when people need it most (e.g., GOP proposal to replace Medicare with vouchers).  Liberals?  Gay marriage.

 While I’m happy for those who view New York’s sanctioning of gay marriage as a civil rights accomplishment, I’m of the mind that the government doesn’t belong in bedrooms.  Until I see evidence indicating that marriages are made stronger by tax incentives, I’m going to remain skeptical about the claim that anything is accomplished by having the government play any role in the institution of marriage.  Until then, I read the gay marriage issue as a red herring.  In the midst of a recession Republicans are cutting spending, pensions, and collective bargaining rights (among other things).  Democratic push-back has come in the form of gay marriage initiatives, ostensibly to continue burnishing liberal credentials while failing to address the most pressing matters of the day: the economy and jobs.

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Bob Basher June 29, 2011 at 03:31 PM
Without traditions...we have nothing....they define who we are...as our traditions in this country get clouded over with many of the third worlds traditions...we are becoming a less strong people. Oh Im sure you would argue the opposite..but I say NO!...If gays were just after the legal rights that I do think they should have by the way they would have shut up with civil unions....sorry its not called marriage but what is marriage it is the bond and commitment of man and a woman. So that leaves us with its not that you want marriage its that you want to change the definition of marriage....the definition that is a strong fabric of our moral society....God set it up for a reason..if he thought it could be between a man and a man he would have done so period...DO YOU want to change what God has set in motion? Morality cannot be legislated....if this was a vote by the people then it would have more credence...also the Bible said these days would be upon us..and here they are. Do you know the season? The birthpains have begun. Jesus said they persecute you because they persecute me. I have nothing more to say on this topic. whats done is done God have mercy on your souls.
Cathy Ribando June 29, 2011 at 03:39 PM
While I don't agree nor disagree with your premise that gay marriage is a red herring, I do believe that gay marriage is not all about tax incentives. It is about the discrimination that same sex couples endure. The role the government plays in that is allowing the discrimination by keeping the Defense of Marriage Act in place. Tax incentives will never make a marriage stronger, but allowing same sex couples the same advantages as opposite sex couples is just equal rights, plain and simple.
David Klopman June 29, 2011 at 04:55 PM
Bob, God has nothing to do with marriage. Atheists can marry, Agnostics can marry, Even Jews and Muslims who don't believe in Jesus who you quote can marry. Again God has nothing to do with marriage, straight or gay so he/she/it doesn't need to give anyone mercy except for religious fanatics. Those are the ones who need mercy and compassion and understanding.
Phil Dalton June 29, 2011 at 11:19 PM
Bob Basher - Marriage, as you/we understand it today, didn't exist until well into the middle ages. To simplify it, a problem emerged from knights passing through towns on the way to the crusades, impregnating women, and leaving town. The church wanted to put an end to it, and suddenly marriage was no longer something the upper class did to merge property. It became a sacrament, and God had something to say about it. Traditions exist to perform functions for us. Over time, we forget what those functions are, and the traditions are perpetuated as a function of our identities. Regarding the tradition of marriage, nothing material is lost by granting the right to marry to gays and lesbians - nothing. They, however, gain materially and at no expense to anyone else. To say that the perpetuation of the marriage rite as you know it is more important that the fair distribution of rights (itself an American tradition) is absurd on its face.
CWayle July 07, 2011 at 02:59 AM
After evaluating your name and argument im pretty sure you are a troll, but i must remind all who may view this thread. You're forgetting that your God is not the country's god. In fact, this country has no official god, which is beautiful, and is proof of how well evolved our constitution truly is. And maybe you should ask why the government made marriage contracts public to begin with? Sounds like its a private affair to me.
B.B. March 18, 2012 at 04:38 AM
God set up marriage? Or perhaps you meant to say that MEN who wrote the Bible and then edited it and reedited through the centuries did? Also, you say that "without traditions we are nothing." Really. I could mention countless traditions that have only served as a detriment to society--but I won't, because it's useless to argue with someone who only uses the Bible for their reasoning.
Martin Jones March 18, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Bob "Basher" - "if he thought it could be between a man and a man he would have done so period." GOD created straight people like you and I, and GOD created gay people. That is what GOD DID "put in motion." If he didn't want it like that then he wouldn't have created homosexuality. As a straight person I see that I did not choose to be straight, nor did you, we were born that way as was a gay person. As a straight person why can't you see that? The bible, as B.B.explained, is man-made, man-written, not God-made, only people are God made. May GOD have mercy on your soul and teach you about understanding and acceptance.


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