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Gay Marriage: What Are Conservatives Afraid Of?
April 10, 2004
By Scott C. Smith

I'm very excited. I am now an ordained minister! And no, it didn't take me years of study. I didn't just graduate from a seminary. I filled out a form online, for free! I now have a snazzy print-out of a certificate listing my credential to perform marriage ceremonies and other duties. The next step is taking the form to my county clerk and pay a $20 registration fee. I'll then be duly authorized by the State of Oregon to conduct a legal marriage ceremony.

Republicans like to talk about the "sacred" institute of marriage, and they believe that by allowing homosexuals to marry, it will destroy this sacred institution.

Hey, guys, it's already been destroyed. By heterosexuals. We've been running the show for a long time now, and the damage has been done. The fact that I can perform a ceremony with no formal education or training is proof enough that marriage is not as sacred as Republicans make it out to be. I think homosexuals might have a real shot at actually repairing the foundation of marriage. A real shot if we'd let them.

In the United States, a gay couple that has been together 20 years cannot get married. Yet a convict serving a 20-year sentence in prison can - even a prisoner on death row! Just think: you can commit horrible crimes against humanity, but as long as you're heterosexual, you don't lose your right to get married. You know, if I had to choose, I'd think the convict would do more damage to the institution of marriage than the gay couple with a murder-free background. Call it a hunch.

Yet Republicans are so threatened by the possibility of gay marriage that they're ready to amend the Constitution. And let's be honest, some of the more vocal Republican voices speaking out against gay marriage do not exactly have a great track record with this institution. Newt Gingrich comes to mind. There's an old joke:

"Republicans believe so firmly in marriage that they do it over and over and over again."

Republicans who believe in the sanctity of marriage surely have never been to Las Vegas (one exception: William Bennett, although he probably was a little distracted by his gambling). Or Reno. Head into one of the resort hotels and you'll find a chapel. Hell, head into a 7-11 and the clerk can perform the ceremony in between waiting on customers.

Do you want Elvis to perform the ceremony? Done. Want to be married in a limo? How about underwater? Sure. Don't have the time to actually get out of your car? No problem! Las Vegas can accommodate any wacky wedding idea. Take that, traditional marriage.

Reality television has also made a mockery of the sanctity of marriage, with shows like Married by America and Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire. Complete strangers get on television for quickie weddings.

Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon are the lesbian couple that got the gay-marriage ball rolling in San Francisco. They've been together 51 years. Yet, until recently, the State of California would deny them the opportunity to marry. Oh, sure, let the reality TV couple get married for ratings, but a real, committed couple, who have done so much for their community, are not allowed to marry because they are lesbians. And that's the only reason.

Quick, can you figure out who in the following list is not allowed to get married? Drug dealer; murderer; abuser; adulterer; crack whore; child molester; serial killer; cannibal; Sean Hannity. The answer: they all can!

The divorce rate in the United States is still about 50%. The Religious Tolerance web site, which complies divorce data, reports that the divorce rate among Conservative Christians is at 29%. This is the group that has been the most vocal about homosexual marriage. Maybe they should fix their own problems first? If they can't get marriage right, maybe it is time to let a different group have a shot at it.

This whole issue seems like a no-brainer, although since right-wingers are involved, it's more complicated than it needs to be. For instance, allow churches, synagogues and other houses of worship to decide if they want to conduct a homosexual wedding ceremony. Existing U.S. laws will cover the goofy "slippery slope" arguments right-wingers give. If homosexuals are allowed to marry, I really have a hard time seeing the law changed to accommodate someone who wants to marry their dog. It's not going to happen. It's already illegal to marry a blood relative or to be married to multiple partners. What are Republicans so afraid of? Maybe we could ask Newt Gingrich.

Scott C. Smith is a freelance writer from Beaverton, Oregon. In addition to writing for his web magazine, What's In Scott's Head, Scott is a regular contributor and columnist to the Democratic Underground and Smirking Chimp web sites.

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