Friday, June 20, 2014

Pride and Prejudice

The National Organization for Marriage held their March for Marriage in the nation’s capital yesterday afternoon, and it was…well, redundant.  If I had to listen to one more speaker give a biology lesson about where babies come from, or explain how the gays are redefining marriage, I might have marched myself right off a fucking cliff.  After about the third person repeated the same tired rhetoric, I realized with a bit of a heavy heart that this was going to be the rest of the rally. 

The March for Marriage comes during a month often celebrated by the LGBT Community as Pride Month.  Just last Saturday, Indianapolis held their annual Circle City Pride, and the numbers (over 95,000) dwarfed yesterday’s march on Washington.  But the numbers don’t matter as much as the message preached yesterday afternoon in Washington D.C.  And some of these people PREACHED, honey.  The problem is they preached so much their message got convoluted, if not completely lost. 

Watching this circus, I saw everything from state senators to college students to a white dude wearing a Barack Obama mask.  That’s right, some good old fashioned blackface.  To NOM’s credit, however, there were a number of minorities who stood up to speak on behalf of marriage, and the whiteys made certain to point it out whenever they could.  They even marched out Doug Mainwaring, Cofounder of the National Tea Party Candidates and fellow friend of Dorothy who opposes same-sex marriage.  Somehow, that one gay guy who is fine with social inequality is going to negate the millions of others who are fighting for marriage equality in their own home states.  They’re even fighting for you Doug, whether you like it or not. 

But in the end, three ideas continually bobbed to the surface of NOM’s trickling river of indignation yesterday:

For anyone under 12-years old who didn’t already know how babies are made, they do after yesterday’s rally in Washington.  Daddy fucks mommy and baby is made…a family, and the cornerstone of American society.  But what if daddy’s a dick?  What if momma hits the cooking sherry once in awhile and takes it out on little junior son of a bitch?  I think Ludovine de la Rochere’s example was the best when she essentially explained how tragic it is when a child’s parents are snuffed out, but this isn’t about that.  Yesterday’s march was solely for and about heterosexual couples and their children—apparently, NOM’s only definition of a family.  Divorced or single-parents, orphaned or abandoned youth, gay and lesbian parents, or any number of other X-factors which collapse NOM’s marriage paradigm were never considered. 

I think my favorite definition of marriage came from Rick Santorum, who said, “Marriage is the union of a man and a woman for the purpose of making two people as one—a unity—and secondly, to have and raise children.  No other union can accomplish those two purposes.”  Apparently, Rick Santorum believes his cock only works if he’s married.  Of course, if you look up the definition of bullshit in the dictionary you may find this same quote, alongside Santorum’s comparison of the family unit as a small business and good for the economy.  But if your dictionary says see Santorum…DON’T!

I hate talking about religion on my blog.
I mean, I LOVE discussing religion, especially when it comes to sex.  But on the subject of marriage equality, the overly-pious just plain get it wrong.  A lot of what was heard at the March for Marriage yesterday was regurgitated Bible verses twisted to fit an agenda.  If someone told me that King David didn’t fap it when he saw Bathsheba by the bath that night, or that Christ wasn’t taking a bite of Mary’s forbidden fruit once in awhile, I’d call them a liar.  And here’s the kicker!  Nobody can tell me I’m wrong.  Sex, especially in Western religion, is so taboo that people are actually afraid of their genitals.  If God created everything and everything is good, it seems like it would be a sin not to understand the full potential of our dicks and pussies and ass holes.  All are erogenous zones that have the potential make a person see the face of God.

But when it comes to the subject of marriage equality, all that matters is this simple equation:
Man + Woman = Baby

And why not?  Besides being a sordid blue print for life, the Bible lays it out clearly that God created Adam and Eve, and thus marriage.  But for any Bible-believing American who quotes Genesis to me as the definition of marriage, I would ask “Do you think Santa Clause really brings your kids all those toys each Christmas?”  It’s tantamount to the same thing!  Literature is literature, and authorial intent can never be known.  Adam and Eve didn’t write the book of Genesis, nor did Moses or Noah or any slew of other theorized authors.  The story of Adam and Eve is a place marker.  The beginning of a story.  A story, I will admit, that is not without merit. The Bible, like many religious texts, holds many lessons in humanity that should not be disregarded.  But like Samual Clemmons said:

“It is full of interest.  It has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and some good morals; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies.”

One thing you’ll never hear in the political argument for same sex marriage is the mounting evidence that gay marriage was actually practiced in the early church.  According to historian and religious scholar Josh Boswell, the early Christian church practiced same sex marriage without discrimination.  According to Boswell:

“The burial rite given for Achilles and Patroclus, both men, was the burial rite for a man and his wife. The relationships of Hadrian and Antinous, of Polyeuct and Nearchos, of Perpetua and Felicitas, and of Saints Serge and Bacchus, all bore resemblance to heterosexual marriages of their times. The iconography of Serge and Bacchus was even used in same-sex nuptial ceremonies by the early Christian Church.

Also in contrast to NOM’s arguments that marriage is between a single man and a single woman is that marriage was essentially an economic transaction—a deal to be agreed upon and not something necessarily wanted.  The National Organization for Marriage disregards the millennia of polygamy that existed before someone stepped in and said, “No more.”  This in and of itself is a redefinition of marriage, but in modern American society we don’t see polygamists standing up for marriage equality (even though they should).  Today we see a group of LGBT Americans stepping forward and demanding the same rights as everyone else—to be recognized under the law of the land, and afforded the same rights as everyone else under the 14th Amendment.

No Civil Rights?

Perhaps one of the saddest aspects of yesterday’s March for Marriage was the Reverend Bill Owens, founder and president of the Coalition of African American Pastors, who fumed that marriage equality “is no Civil Rights movement; this is a bully movement.”  Reverend Owens then proceeded to shout and preach how he was willing to go to jail for this conviction, and the rest of the marchers should be too.  After all, the main thing these bigots seem worried about is that their right to discriminate might somehow get stripped from them.

But this is America, where everyone has a voice, whether it is behind the anonymity of a computer screen or at a rally in Washington, D.C.  And as far as I know, ignorance is not a crime.  However, freedom of speech does not protect you from the freedom of speech of others.  It would be akin to someone throwing around the N-word at a Black Expo and expecting everyone to just turn the other cheek.  You won’t necessarily be jailed, but that doesn’t mean you won’t experience some sort of backlash because you were an inconsiderate ass.  And why?  Because the black community knows of the horrors their ancestors faced during the Civil Rights movement and before, where black youth today are raised in a culture that still points to their blackness as otherness, and where religiosity and culture force gay African-Americans to hide their sexuality.

So yes, Reverend Owens, this IS a civil rights issue.  Any movement that strives to deprive the rights of another human being is a civil rights issue.  Perhaps you should look back over your own history, Reverend, seeing how you seem to have forgotten.

Harlem, for example, was crucial in the “actual” Civil Rights Movement in the '60s, as well as promoting gay rights.  Coretta Scott King, wife of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., made it clear in her lifetime that civil rights wasn’t just a black issue, but a human issue.  In 2004, she explained that “Gay and Lesbian people have families too, and their families should have legal protection" and that "A constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage is a form of gay bashing, and would do nothing to protect traditional marriages.”  And let us not forget the late, great Maya Angelou who told the Lesbian website, After Ellen, “I am gay.  I am lesbian.  I am black.  I am white.  I am Native American.  I am Christian.  I am Jew.  I am Muslim.”            

So yes, Reverend Owens, the Gay Rights Movement IS a Civil Rights movement, and it is sad to see someone who was part of something so historically powerful align themselves with that same type of oppression today.  I encourage you, Reverend, to read “On the Pulse of the Morning,”as read by Maya Angelou at President Bill Clinton’s inauguration.  It is a deeply moving piece of work, and one that places in to perspective the plight of all humanity, plucking even the lowest of us from the murk of class and culture, and placing us beside the same communal river that is life.

So there are my thoughts.  Marriage equality is not about a bunch of petulant children getting what they want.  Regardless of the rhetoric explaining away the hate and vitriol of this March for Marriage, the underlying message is still clear:  there are a substantial number of people who throw money at organizations whose sole purpose it is to deny a group of people their rights.  The Supreme Court, whose job it is to decide what is and is not constitutional, is doing just that—overturning same-sex marriage bans hand over fist—and still these “defenders of marriage” want to vote on LGBT rights.  The problem is that a voting majority cannot control the rights of a minority.  And that is precisely why this is a civil rights issue.

And one last note about the religiosity of marriage:

I don’t believe in religion, an institution I think has consistently been manipulated to deny people of their freedoms.  But I do believe in the power of prayer, of meditation, and of positive energy.  So continue to pray for marriage.  I do.  Ask your God to guide the hands of lawmakers and politicians on this divisive topic.  Just don’t get shitty when God answers your prayers, and you don’t like the answer. 

Happy Pride! 

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