04 July, 2012

always more gays

I believe that basic human rights, that equality under the law should be assured; should be fought for by all decent people. I believe this not out of slavish devotion to ideological consistency but because I recognise the fundamental dignity of my fellow person and the fundamental depths of the mutual affinities of the people around me. They are me, and I am they, and would but we could all have a reminder of this in our daily lives.

The civil rights, securities and freedoms of my fellow man are my paramount concern, whether they are assailed by those few in power or those many without. I love the arts and history and the culture I am happy enough to find myself born into, and as a result I find it undeniable that those bonds of emotion which tie lovers together are essentially the same regardless of gender. It is why far too many innocent young women have had foolish young men with a touch too much fire in their heart, a facile appreciation of poetry in their heads and a drop of wine in their bellies recite these lines in a desperate ploy to be romantic, or in an even more desperate ploy for a tumble;

Some dude wrote:
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate;
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's ease hath all too short a date;
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer's shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st:
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

though the lines were written of a man by a man. Yet we can universally understand and embrace and love and be enthralled by them, because they speak of a mind as bewitched and excited and intoxicated by another as our own is. The love one woman feels of another woman is the same as one man feels for a woman; we do not need to understand why a man could love such a man, or why a woman could love such a man, but we know, nonetheless, that the experience is the same. Excepting, of course, when it happens to us, whereupon it is always uniquely special and revered.

I believe marriage is an important state of being and an important right basic to our society and the way we form bonds with one another. The civil institution of marriage is imperfect in its function of supporting and preserving the interdependency of monogamy, but that is because the slack left by social organisation must be picked up by the frailties of the individual person. It places social entanglements on a couple; the oath is a solemn one, a promise to a commitment, a relatively secure and stable platform to live and grow and age and work and frolic. The civil rights it confers, and we can crudely speak of tax breaks as a for instance, are a part of such financial stability and entanglement; visitation rights, as another for instance, are an example of social boon which, on reflection, seem not only obvious but a necessary thing for a loving couple to have. Marriage is not merely a simple and crude mechanism for procreation, although such stability and security - albeit fragile, as it depends on the strength of man or woman - forms a useful basis for raising a child, if a couple so chooses. The mere notion that couples should be excluded from the freedoms and securities of this institution based on so invidious an excuse as the gender of those wishing to swear into it seems rather a degradation of what marriage should provide and what it should represent. It is about the legal and social freedom of lovers sharing lives.

We are not tied to ritualistic behaviour, and our intelligence grants us the capacity to look beyond the vagaries of visceral impulse, which we certainly do have. In many ways the main achievement of our social cohesion and resulting laws and politics, our verbal and written language, our art, science and our culture, has been to create conditions in which greater values than the satiation of ephemeral impulse, no matter how strong, can be fulfilled. Merely finding homosexuality offensive or disgusting in ways that are evidently impossible to articulate is not the advancing of any reason to oppose homosexuality or gay marriage. Not all of our feelings uplift us. Not all of them advance our own interests or the interests of society. As human beings we do not get to be afraid to confront the sheer intellectual liberty at our disposal and fob off homophobia as some sort of uncontrollable hardware problem with human physiology. By the same boon, the cause of homosexuality is completely irrelevant: it is wrong to be bigoted, and whether you are bigoted against an innate thing is irrelevant; racists have known for a very long time indeed that race is hereditary, and it should not suddenly become acceptable were race a choice. It is wrong because it is unjust, because the assumptions formed about any of the given individuals who comprise such broad demographics are prejudicial, they are not knowledge.

-The Rev. Schmitt, FCD.

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