Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cain We Have An Honest Discussion On Marriage Rights?

 "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right." ~Thomas Paine

In a conversation with my friend on the subject of gay marriage, I mentioned a man whom I highly respect, had said something that really disappointed me. I'm referring to Herman Cain and his statements on Homosexuality being a "sin" and a "choice". While I consider Mr. Cain to be my frontrunner pick to go against Obama, I strongly disagree with him. Don't get me wrong, Cain is entitled to his own opinions on the issue of Homosexuality and gay marriage, but I feel it is a devastating position shared among many Conservatives and I feel it will ensure the Democrats will continue to get the support from the gay community solely on the empty promises they always campaign on.

First let me say that I personally believe Homosexuality is a birth trait and that it is not a choice. As my friend put it perfectly, "you can't help who you're attracted to and you can't explain it". He's right. You can't help if you're attracted to tall, short, skinny, curvacious, blonde, or brunette- you just are. It's an objective view that only you can hold and there isn't a right or wrong way to go about it. One shouldn't be discriminated because of their own preference in what they like. This also includes what gender you prefer. And choosing a mate based on what one prefers, doesn't make them any less smart, good looking, or moral.

Mr. Cain along with Conservatives and Tea Partiers claim to be defenders and protectors of the constitution, believe that all men are created equal, and are entitled to rights given to them by God. So, shouldn't this include equal rights when it comes to gays?
On my Facebook I asked people's opinion on whether the government or the church should decide who gets married. A few responded but their beliefs were based on a religious perspective and failed to make the argument. My position on marriage is that it is a contract between 2 consenting adults, their church, and their god. I believe that if a couple wants to be considered "married", it would be left up to the church. In other words, I believe the word "marriage" is religious in nature and can hold different standards depending on the religion. The government shouldn't be the arbitrator of what constitutes a marriage. I also feel that any relationship officiated or not should get the same recognition when it comes to taxes (complete with loopholes and credits until the tax code is changed), insurance, and kinship. No one should be granted special rights or privileges based on religious beliefs or religious affiliations. Marriage as currently defined as one woman and one man, creates a protected class that is given special privileges and should not have its legal definition reliant on a religious foundation. We are not a theocracy. We live under the constitution, not Leviticus.We obey the rule of law, not a priest.

Rights are not contingent on personal moral convictions. Most people who oppose gay marriage do so because they are morally opposed to Homosexuality in general. But personal disgust and visceral reactions are not moral positions- they are mere reactions and they shouldn't be an influence on public policy. Show me an example of Homosexuality harming society and I will give you 10 examples showing how theocratic beliefs have harmed society.

I'm not gay but I do believe in equal rights for everyone and I also believe people should be able to do what they want as long as they don't interfere or violate the rights of others. It's time the Tea Party, Mr. Cain, and anyone else who lives in America and loves our freedoms to start considering the real meaning of individual rights.

*follow up will be on marriage licenses


  1. The problem I have with the entire issue is the LGBT community seems like they want special rights (privileges), much like one finds granted to minorities, as evidenced with hiring quotas (also wrong). This has spilled into the arena of marriage. Their attempts to seek marriage "rights" has pissed off the majority into creating state constitutional amendments that define marriage. It appears to me they have brought this snap-back upon themselves.

    Why is the government involved in the marriage debate at all? This should not be a part of public policy. The government is supposed to represent individuals, not groups (including couples or families) or organizations. However, if marriage must be defined as a matter of public policy, then I will be opposed to "gay" marriage.

    The best we can do is remove any privilege associated with marriage and treat everyone as individuals. If we had a proper (flat) tax system, then there would be no marriage penalty or disparity. The privileges they would hope to gain would be moot.

    I really don't care what people do in the privacy of their own home, but when its shoved in my face it becomes my business.

  2. I agree with you that advocates of the LGBT community want to create their own special protected class. It seems like try to force their lifestyle on people (most who are opposed) and end up oppressing themselves. This absolutely is an individual rights issue and theocratic beliefs shouldn't be influencing public policy. I'm glad you mentioned the flat tax as I feel our current tax code has either penalized or incentivized certain people. My point of the post was to make the case that marriage is religious and should be separate from the state.

  3. Thomas Sowell has written a number of articles on the issue of marriage. I will try to summarize them here.

    First, the legal institution of marriage has evolved throughout centuries through case law and legislatures passing laws all centered around the relationship between one man and one woman. As Dr. Sowell states, to transfer those sets of laws to a different type of relationship would be like taking the rules of baseball and applying them to football.

    Second, marriage is not an extension of rights. From a legal standpoint, it is a restriction on the rights the two individuals have. For example, before I was married, I had my own condo. I bought it years before I even met my wife. Yet, once we were married, I could not even put my condo on the market without her signature on the paperwork. Also, by default, I have to designate her as a beneficiary on my life insurance. I can't name another primary beneficiary.

    Third, throughout history, but less so in recent years, in most cases, the wife will sacrifice her career development for the sake of the family. Marriage laws protect that party because, should the marriage end, the husband would usually have continued his career, leaving the wife with lower marketable skills. Again, that happens less than it used to, but those are the reasons those laws have evolved that way over time.

    For two men in a relationship, or two women, it's much less likely that either one will need to sacrifice their career development for the relationship.

    For a final point from Dr. Sowell, he mentions that the reason the state got involved in the institution of marriage is because it's the one relationship, a husband and wife, that produces children, our next generation. As such, the state has an interest in the stability of that relationship, and gets involved in it. Does the state have a reason to care about a relationship between two men or two women?

    Now that I've quoted Dr. Sowell's opinion, here's some of my own. There seems to be little understanding of the history of marriage, beyond the anti miscegenation laws of the past. (I'd argue that those laws were more about stopping interracial sex and children than marriage itself.) We should ask questions like: why do these marriage laws exist (community property, for example), do the same reasons they apply exist in a same sex relationship, and does the state have a reason to get involved in that relationship.

    Finally, you mention the LGBT (the B being bisexual) community. The obvious final endgame to the marriage debate, and not necessarily in our lifetime, is that marriage will ultimately be redefined to include up to 4 people, two men and two women. After all, if a gay man can marry a gay man, why can't a bisexual man marry a man and a woman? And the woman in that marriage, why can't she also marry a woman? So you end up with four people married to each other. To those who agree with same-sex marriage, but oppose more than two people marrying each other, I'd ask why? Is there a reason to be judgmental about such a relationship?

    Ok, I think that's a long one. Just some food for thought.