I pulled up the New York Times homepage and noticed an article entitled, "Amid Acceptance of Gays, a Split on Marriage Issue." Hmm. What does the dek say?
Judging from interviews with people in the swing suburbs of Philadelphia, many voters sharply differ on gay marriage but share a high degree of tolerance toward gay people.
Woh. How can you be tolerant of a gay lifestyle but be opposed to the concept of gay marriage? That doesn't make much sense to me. I made my way into the article to see what's really going on. Right away I come upon the following quote that shed a little bit of light:
As Ms. Hall, 55, listened, her eyes widened. "I just don't agree," she said. "You marry to procreate. You can't procreate if you marry someone from the same sex. As a Catholic, I feel very strongly about this. My religion doesn't permit me to agree with that kind of lifestyle."
But she made it clear that beyond the question of marriage, she would not want to interfere with private behavior. "If you choose to be with a female partner," she told her friend, "I wouldn't tell you what to do."
Okay, I get it. You are viewing marriage as a religious bond between two people and therefore there is no room for gay marriages. This statement is quasi-logical. The problem is that this woman claims that homosexuality is fine so long as she can't see it. Maybe the phrase "private behavior" was a creation of the author, but the quote suggests that Ms. Hall is not okay with this idea.
It seems to me that many people are becoming less homophobic, but there is still not a general acceptance for gay people unless they are amusing, hair stylists, or helping to refurnish your apartment on a cable television show. I am happy that there is progress being made in the minds of Americans, but I am frustrated by this assumed tolerance. This last quote really illustrates the point:
"I'm not against anybody living that way," said Mr. McConaghy, a Roman Catholic. "It's just the way I was brought up. Gay marriage is taking it way too far."
The bottomline is that you cannot be "okay" with gay relationships if you are against gay marriage. In fact, relationships should be more egregious if you believe the purpose of marriage is for procreation. I would be much happier if the quotes went like this, "I am homophobic to the point where it is socially acceptable."
For a moment, let's assume that you are comfortable accepting this opinion. At this point you must consider the state of marriage in this country. Aside from the majority of marriages ending in divorce, it has become less a of a religious institution for many people. It allows you a number of political and social rights that single people are not privy to (hospital visits, tax breaks, etc.). At the very least dissentors of gay marriage should be willing to accept a gay union of some kind in order to create a nation that is truly for us all.
A discussion for another time might be the concern over the government regulating a religious institution. Isn't one of our founding principles the seperation of church and state? Sometimes the backwards logic our government and people drive me to the brink of insanity. If I didn't drown myself in movies, popular culture and the few tolerable people on this planet then I would probably be crying a lot more often.
Also: Aaron linked to this OP-ED piece in Saturday's Times. It is an excellent piece. Here's what Aaron thought about it.