Ishmael and Marriage Equality

Marriage equality is not an assault on anyone’s family values.

A recent social media post which attempted to oversimplify and skew differences between Republicans and Democrats in America inspired today’s post. In fact, it will inspire a whole series of posts in my ongoing effort to dispel myths and take a larger look at our culture in the tradition of Daniel Quinn’s Ishmael. This post characterized Democrats as being for “same sex marriage” and Republicans being for “man and woman.” Is this really true?

To hear opponents of the Supreme Court’s July 2015 ruling in favor of marriage equality talk, you would think that the law now requires heterosexual couples to get divorced and marry someone of the same sex. The right-wing evangelicals came out of the woodwork to scream and object (on God’s behalf, of course), claiming that allowing people to make their own choices about marriage is somehow an assault on family values. That argument is, of course, predicated on one narrow view of such values.

I’m not a big fan of using religion to justify much of anything because the Bible (in particular) is easily cherry-picked to back up pretty much any viewpoint on any issue. I can justify selling my daughter into slavery, killing my neighbor if the smoke from his grill blows into my backyard and even smiting anyone wearing anything that’s not 100% cotton. That’s the same part of the Bible where people get their quotes about it being an unforgivable sin to be gay.

So let’s just set that aside, what do you say?

What’s the real issue here?

For conservatives, it’s pretty simple. They have a black-and-white “Leave It To Beaver” view of the world, where Ward goes off to work, June stays home and cleans and cooks, and the boys go off to school. When Ward comes home from work, his wife has supper on the table and he kicks back to read the paper and smoke his pipe after dinner. He is only called upon to parent if the boys get out of line.

This simply does not offer up a true picture of life in the modern world, and no one can push us back to that version of America. For one thing, many of the people who were oppressed and repressed in the Beaver days have been liberated. Women are seen as nearly equal to men both at home and the workplace, the false barrier of color is starting to melt away, and yes, people are starting to feel comfortable enough in their own skins to admit to themselves and others who they are inside.

Is any of this a threat to family values? Only if your family values are firmly rooted in either long-outdated religious dogma or the black-and-white days of the Cleavers.

An important question to ask ourselves as the next Great Awakening takes place is: why are we so caught up in the private lives of other people? Why do we want to force other people to see the world the way we do? Why can’t we just live our own lives based on our own particular paradigms and allow others to do the same?

More importantly, why is this a political issue?

To say that Democrats are in favor of same-sex marriage is not exactly right. The majority of Democrats simply want people to have the freedom to make personal decisions for themselves. This applies to pretty much any decision people are making in their personal lives provided that they do not impinge upon the rights of others. Once upon a time the Republican Party stood for small government, and keeping the government out of the personal lives of its citizens would definitely represent an example of keeping the government small.

As our society evolves, more and more layers of discrimination and bigotry are being peeled away. In 2015 the Supreme Court peeled this one back, too. Let’s focus on the next barrier to unity and stop trying to build new walls.

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