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Blog, Politics

(Gay) Love and Marriage


I have yet to grasp how we, as a Western society, still believe that not every person has the same ‘rights’. Rights are legally, morally, or traditionally just claims that a society revolves around. As we know, rights in a society often change; sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse.

According to the structure of the United States’ government, I have the right to life, liberty, and the justice for not just me, but everyone else. So what infringes on this most sacred of democratic right? If I were gay, black, foreign born, female, under 21, over 65, poor, sick, or uneducated (to name a few) I would not be entitled to these inalienable rights. But since I am white, heterosexual, able-bodied, mid-20’s, not quite rich, but not quite poor, healthy and educated, these rights that are in the declaration of Independence and the Constitution scream out at me and yell, “These are for you. Don’t screw them up.”

This is a major contradiction that I need help with. We are told (and taught at an early age) that everyone in the United States has the same rights; that everyone can become President. But we can plainly see that that is not the case.

Being a homosexual in the late 20th century has changed from being a homosexual in ancient times. Plato, Aristotle, Socrates all mention men sleeping with other men. Plato’s “Dialogues” mention numerous times of gathering in someone’s home, getting drunk, and bedding the masculine sex.

An ideal world would allow homosexuals to reap the same legal benefits as heterosexuals. An ideal world would allow two people, who are just in love with each other as a man and woman would be (perhaps even more so because of the nonsense they must deal with), to have the same opportunity to raise a family wherever they damn well please. I bring up the idea of family for a reason.

The family no longer exists in a secular society. The divorce rate is at an all time high, yet marriage is a sacred institution? Since the advent of birth control, the idea of being able to have sex without a spouse has took off like a bat out of hell. The dominant ideology of male power through sex has decreased with the pill and has empowered every woman who uses it. The family is no longer nucleic, but more of a randomness that is masked by a previous myth of closeness.

What is a closer family? The family who sits down every night at 6 for dinner, doesn’t say a word as the wife and daughter cook the meal, or the family who eats apart, at different times and different rooms? Neither is close, neither is a nuclear family. The contradiction of a nuclear family permeates our thoughts as we try to figure out what to talk about at dinner. The family who communicates, who discusses, is the nuclear family.

So, why can’t a gay family be started? What is the issue with loving parents who want to make time for their children, no matter what their sexual preference is? The answer that we seek, is itself a contradiction. But before there is a family, there is a marriage, and this little piece of the equation will help us understand that contradiction a little bit better.

Marriage, in our culture, is not just about the two people getting married: it is about the union of families, the consecration of ideology, and historically, about the dowry entitled to the groom and his family. However, it could be argued that the real reason for marriage is to advance the notions of ‘normality’. The perceived notion is that a man and a woman, because of biology, are able to procreate (normal), able to dictate gender roles (normal) and set the course for a ‘right’ life.

As this election ramps up, the issue of “the sanctity of marriage” will invade our news channels. It seems that those in power (economic, political, and social) have deemed that the Institution of marriage is in serious peril. And that the only way to save it is to make an amendment to the Constitution decreeing, essentially, that homosexuals are ruining the fabric of our society. The problem with Bush’s idea is that homosexuality isn’t ruining ‘family’, but capitalism is.

We live in an era where I can be a famous person, spend hundreds of thousands to millions on a wedding, say that I love a person for the rest of my life, and divorce them and take their money.

We live in an era where I can go to Las Vegas, get smashing drunk, and marry someone I just met, only to get a divorce 24 hours later. And take all their money.

The sanctity of marriage has never really existed. It has only been a product of capitalism. Let us marry so that we can combine our monies. It has turned to a farce. And this is what is troubling: if you are gay, you cannot marry because you cannot produce the norm.

You may be saying to yourself, well, that sounds like a pretty big contradiction. It is, but if you look at the context of worlds colliding, you will see how there is an even bigger contradiction.

We are governed by two forces: the ability to rationalize and elect people who will most benefit our daily needs, and the ability to fantasize and remark with complete seriousness and devotion that there is an almighty being who says, essentially, that if you behave and act appropriately on Earth, you will be rewarded with Heaven. I am not saying that religion is wrong, I am just showing how our social system has many religious overtones and that it is difficult to separate the two, which leads to contradiction. So it comes as no surprise that when both worlds collide (rationality and religion), as it is an inevitability, we tend to answer life’s call with our own question: will abiding by the law of society enable me to abide by the law of God? This is our most fundamental contradiction.

Homosexuals have to live by the same set of governing laws as heterosexuals. You kill someone and get caught, you will go to jail. You steal a car and get caught, you will go to jail. Heterosexuals and homosexuals not only can vote for someone for elected office, but can enter the arena of politics as well. The only difference in the eyes of justice when dealing with ‘rights’ is the fact that a singular interpretation of the Bible says that being gay is a sin. Here is where we have a contradiction of dire consequences.

Governing bodies try to do what they think is right for their people. The problem is that we are such a huge country with so many different backgrounds, the elected officials seem to forget that what they believe can be (and usually is) turned to the norm.

The sanctity of marriage, the institution of family, and more importantly, the inalienable rights of a segment of our population are being destroyed by the notion of perpetuating normality.

Oh, and for what it’s worth, I’m getting married in December.

About joshsternberg

Josh Sternberg is the content strategist for The Washington Post. Prior to that he was the media reporter for Digiday. Additional bylines include: The Atlantic, The Awl, Pacific Standard, Mashable, Huffington Post, Mediaite.

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