Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Fire! Brimstone! Antiquing! Same-Sex Marriage and the Non-Threat

With the recent legal decision to overturn Proposition 8, or the California Marriage Protection Act which stated that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California", there has been a lot of hand wringing from the religious backers of the amendment.  Nearly all of the proponents of Prop 8 employ the same tired arguments to state why same-sex marriage should be illegal.  One such supporter of Proposition 8 is The Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer.

The Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer is a Catholic Priest and President of Human Life International; a pro-life, family values organization.  That's how you know they are on the up and up and totally sane!  Needless to say Fr. Euteneuer is appalled by the overturning of Proposition 8 in California as he believes it will cause the downfall of the paradise that is Christian Civilization.  I pulled a few choice quotes out, but I encourage the reader to check out the entire letter so you can be sure they are not taken out of context.

Gay Marriage and the End of Christian Civilization by the Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer
"...a society cannot survive the perverse manipulation of the very structure of reality that God Himself has revealed to us..."
I cannot for the life of me think of anything to say about this other than you truly have to believe what your saying to come up with that sentence.  I am at a total loss.
"...Christian decency won and the structure of reality stayed intact,...until this week when a single judge just nullified 7 million votes and the will of the people and lifted the "ban" on gay marriage."
Ah yes, the famous Christian Decency.  It still kills me that the structure of your reality is partially based on what kinds of people are having sex.  Weird.

Just because 7 million people vote to infringe upon the rights of others does not make it legal and valid.  The courts are there to uphold and protect the laws regardless of popular opinion.  This is how a democratic system prevents the majority from infringing upon the rights of the minority, but they don't really care about any of that.
"So why, you ask, is gay marriage wrong? Let me count the ways.  First and foremost is because it violates the revealed Will of God as seen in Scripture."
That is YOUR worldview.  Not mine and not millions of Americans.  My worldview does not take a deity into account so I do not agree with your worldview.  This legal protection of your religion, and my lack thereof, is possible due to the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.  It clearly states:
 "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
What does that mean?  Well, it means that the United States of America cannot and will not establish a State sanctioned religion.  In addition, it will not establish any laws that favor one religion over another.  Now I know what you might say: "But Steve, it clearly states 'prohibiting the free exercise thereof' regarding religion and by allowing the gays to marry it prohibits my ability to freely exercise my religious beliefs."  No.  That is not what that means.  It protects you from me forcibly telling you to not believe in your god.  Or it protects you from your neighbor, who may be another sect of Christianity, from telling you to worship their way or else.  It does not grant you the right to tell someone else to stop doing something since it simply offends you.  Otherwise mimes would have gone extinct a long time ago. 

Besides, in addition to the First Amendment we also have the Fourteenth Amendment which states:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
That last bit in there is important.  The part that says "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States,...nor shall any State...deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."  That means that everyone is legally the same in the eyes of the State.  Whatever your protected rights are, they have to be the same as the rights of the individual next to you.  Is that guy next to you gay?

Ha.  Just kidding.

The whole concept that same sex marriage is a threat to theists or anyone is a farce.  It may fly in the face of  religion, but that it irrelevant.  Religion flies in the face of my worldview, however you won't find me persecuting believers or trying to pass a law that bans worship.  This is for two reasons:
  1. I believe in the United States Constitution and the freedom and rights it grants and upholds. 
  2. I would never win if I tried.  Even if 7 million people won a vote to ban Catholicism a judge would no doubt overturn that election.  As well they should. 
To end this portion of my critique I'll quote the case in question.  Obviously this was a seminal case and is very complicated.  I encourage you to actually read at least some of it.  For the purposes of finalizing my current point I'll use just one of the Finding of Facts that explains the decision of Judge Walker.

Perry v. Schwarzenegger. Case No. C 09-2292 VRW (2010).

FF#19             Marriage in the United States has always been a civil matter.
Civil authorities may permit religious leaders to solemnize 
marriages but not to determine who may enter or leave a civil 
marriage. Religious leaders may determine independently
whether to recognize a civil marriage or divorce but that
recognition or lack thereof has no effect on the relationship
under state law.

a. Tr 195:13-196:21 (Cott: “[C]ivil law has always been
supreme in defining and regulating marriage. * * *
[Religious practices and ceremonies] have no particular
bearing on the validity of marriages. Any clerics,
ministers, rabbis, et cetera, that were accustomed to
* * * performing marriages, only do so because the state
has given them authority to do that.”);
b. Cal Fam Code §§ 400, 420.

Stated plainly: Religions have no legal authority over marriage as it is defined and recognized by the United States of America.
"A close second to this is that gay marriage distorts the very concept of parenting as well as marriage.  In its simplest terms, kids need a mom and a dad, and are forever stigmatized by being the child of a gay marriage. Kids model their lives, their concept of family, their morals and oftentimes their whole worldview on their parents' attitudes and values. These kids get a totally distorted view of all these basics."
I'm going to list a couple of studies disproving this, but let's be honest; you'll just ignore it by saying things like  "Science is evil!" or "Of course those are the results. Scientists have a liberal plot!" or "All these studies were funded by homosexuals!" etc., etc.
"Third but by no means the last reason, all of society suffers because of the public endorsement of an intrinsically disordered lifestyle and practice."
As yes, everyone suffers due to same-sex marriage.  Tell me: how does it exactly affect us as a society?  How does it affect individuals?  It doesn't.  It affects those who believe in the same god as you and even then not all of them agree.

A quick aside: "...history surely shows many societies like Ancient Greece, whose rapid decline was preceded by the proliferation of the gay lifestyle and its public acceptance."

Homosexuality was the downfall of Greece? Homosexuality and pederasty was officially practiced for about 700 years during the Greek Classic and Hellenistic Periods. This was not a backward period like the Dark Ages (see Medieval Europe under Catholic Dominance).  I'm not trying to debate the merits or faults of homosexuality and pederasty, but the Reverend's claims about the downfall of a civilization are just simply made up. Macedonia and Rome conquered Greece. Not same-sex marriage. Zeus didn't hate fags.  
"While we respect all people as they are, we don't have to respect such a wholesale assault on everything that is sacred to us and good for our society; no, in fact, we must fight against it with our very lives."
Yes, I am sure you respect the homosexuals you wish to discriminate against.  Why can't they just understand that you respect them so they'll go away?

Let us review the three stated reasons same-sex marriage is bad:
  1. It violates God's Will: As I explained above there is no legal basis to make that claim and assert it upon others. 
  2. Parenting and children:  There is no evidence that same-sex couples are any worse or better than "traditional" couples.  The general consensus is that two parents are better than one and they have to have a loving stable relationship to give the child a loving, stable relationship.  
  3. All of society suffers from this abomination: No it doesn't.  The Reverend provided no compelling evidence that it does.  Actually, he did not provide ANY evidence that it does.  He just made a statement.  One that is presumably an opinion based on religious beliefs.  A statement that has no basis in reality.  
Same-sex marriage does not undermine heterosexual marriage.  That is a ridiculous fallacy.  It does not prevent heterosexuals from marrying and procreating.  Additionally, there is no law that requires heterosexual married couple to procreate so that argument is moot.  Again I ask; how exactly does it it affect you? It does not.

It offends your religious values.  That, my friends, is your problem.  It is not the problem of the government of the United States of America, nor its citizenry as a whole.


Achiever said...

I've always like the statement "Don't like gay marriage? Then don't have one."