Stop the Wedding! I Think the Groom is
November 15, 2004
By Brian Gougherty
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I'm confused. Haven't the last four years been a crusade against
religious fundamentalism? I know there's some uncertainty surrounding
the issue, but at least what we're claiming is that the terrorist
threat of Islamic fundamentalists is what hurled our military into
the Middle East to restore our nation's security, right? So, one
would guess that by now Americans would generally be intolerant
of fundamentalists and their medieval values, right? Wrong.
Last week's banning of gay marriage in eleven states was a grim
reminder that America still has some fundamentalists to deal with
at home. The people I'm specifically talking about are our country's
beloved right-wing radical conservative Christian fundamentalists;
those who are quick to denounce the oppression of women by the over-bearing
traditions of Islamic society, but then turn around and deny two
men or two women the right to get married in their own society because
it would violate the "sanctity" of their own most valued tradition.
What's even more shocking is that many of these Constitutional
amendments ban civil unions too, a status that has no religious
or traditional connotations but would merely provide for gays and
lesbians the many benefits that are provided for heterosexual life
partners. This goes beyond any fundamentalism - its blatant discrimination.
But for now, let's limit our analysis to the sacred tradition
of marriage. Many people I've talked to who are equally appalled
by the ban on gay marriage "have no clue what those people are thinking."
So for those deprived of any reasonable explanation (and that's
okay, most of us are) allow me to enlighten you with my own theory.
Psychological studies have shown that many homophobic people have
insecurities surrounding their own sexuality, and sometimes are
latent homosexuals themselves. But homophobia comes way down the
road. An initial evaluation of one's "preference" would probably
stem from a much more innocent thought; say a heated daydream about
the milkman or mail lady.
This could confuse people. So, why not turn to religion for consultation
and guidance as people often do at troubling junctures in their
lives? Yes! Here lies a simple solution; "It's wrong! It's wrong!
Rather than help make sense of these feelings, those who turn to
the Church are provided with a comfortable abode where they can
simply deny they ever had feelings. Here, fantasies of bike shorts
and biker chicks are no longer products of their imagination but
deviant thoughts they can completely detach themselves from because
they were probably put there by the Devil.
After these people convince themselves they're not gay, then it's
time to convince the world - and what better way to say "I'm straight!"
than to get married?
But wait! Nobody gave them a pill to make them magically attracted
to the opposite sex. So when do the lambs stop crying, Clarice?
What if they become jealous of those religiously-challenged infidels
who are carelessly living out the "deviant thoughts" they've so
desperately repressed? And now they want to get married? Doesn't
anybody respect a little sanctity these days? They must suffer!
I'm not saying that everyone who voted in favor of these proposals
is some kind of closeted homosexual. But, I think it's realistic
to say that people whose every decision is dependent on religion
generally lack the ability to objectively address issues of sexuality
outside of boy-plus-girl. What results is a great deal of sexual
repression and a great deal of insecurity revolving around these
issues. It's one thing when people repress their own thoughts, but
it's much more serious when dealing with your own insecurity means
controlling the lives of other people.
When do "sacred" traditions do more harm than good? What is the
danger of evoking an ancient and irrelevant mentality that's completely
unadjusted to the circumstances of the modern world? You'd think
these were questions that Americans had dealt with since 9/11, if
not earlier. However, our country's position on fundamentalism,
or even freedom and oppression is still unclear.
The recent elections have proven that Americans are still willing
to sacrifice the civil rights of others while enjoying the exclusivity
of their own lives. We've seen this happen before with blacks and
women in our society, and just how a small voice became a large
one in these movements, the same will happen in defense of homosexual
rights. No more gay pride, now it will be gay rights.