Community Standards Should Determine Legality of Gay Marriage


I don’t publicize this blog much. Part of the reason for that is because my beliefs are not popular among the folks I call my friends and co-workers. Not that I hide what I think, I just don’t wave it in their faces. Sometimes, though, I do have to bite my tongue (or fingers) really hard.

There are some online forums I visit regularly. These are places for horror writers and horror fans. In general, it’s a pretty liberal crowd. The subject of gay marriage comes up often and most people jump on the bandwagon to lament how backwards, how bigoted, how homophobic most of America is because we deny “basic human rights” to gay couples.

I know what you’re thinking. Oh no, not another fag-bashing column from this Okie homophobe. Well, first, I’m not a homophobe. I’m not scared of gay people, I just believe their lifestyle is morally wrong. And second, this column is about more than gay marriage. I want to ponder “basic human rights.”

Earlier today, author Poppy Z. Brite posted on her LiveJournal a rant about the recent passing of an amendment to deny recognition of gay marriage in her home state of Louisiana. She wrote, “…if you voted for this amendment, you are an evil and ignorant person who takes for granted the rights you received through an accident of birth, and would deny others the same rights because of a similar accident.”

What are these rights? Where do they come from?

A few people – very few gay-rights supporters – will say human rights come from God. However, God’s law says homosexuals are to be stoned to death, so not many go that route. Some will argue that Jesus Christ’s teachings say that we should not condemn anyone. But, if you think about the story in which Christ prevented the stoning of the adulteress he met at the well, he didn’t tell her that her lifestyle was A-OK. He told her to “sin no more.”

Christ said adultery was a sin. Homosexuality isn’t addressed in the New Testament, but if adultery, an act deemed sinful in the Old Testament, remained a sin in the eyes of Christ we can assume other Jewish taboos, such as homosexuality, were, too.

So appealing to the Bible or God or Christ as the source of basic human rights in an attempt to defend gay marriage won’t work.

In fact, none of the mainstream religions condone homosexuality. Many neo-pagan religions do not condemn it, but followers of these faiths are few and seldom united in what they believe.

Often defenders of gay marriage will say we would be writing discrimination into the U.S. or state constitutions by banning homosexual unions. This is what Louisiana did, and what Oklahoma voters may decide this November. (I say may decide because gay advocates are fighting to keep the proposal off the ballot.)

My stand here is based on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling concerning pornography in the case “Roth v. United States.” The link between gays and pornography is coincidental. Let me explain.

In this case, pornography was defined as speech which “… to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, the dominant theme of the material, taken as a whole, appeals to prurient interest” and which is “utterly without redeeming social importance…”

“Community standards” is the key phrase there.

I say our rights come from us, the community. We are a democratic republic in which the people make the laws for the communities in which they live. Marriage is not a basic human right at all. It is a privilege granted by the state. The state is a community and, through the election process, sets standards for itself.

The people of Louisiana voted about 4 to 1 to deny recognition of gay marriage. That’s a pretty strong statement of the standards to which that community adheres. If people like Poppy find that standard unacceptable, they can whine about it, as she is doing, or relocate to a community that is more reflective of what they believe.

Refusing to sanction or recognize gay marriage is not denying basic human rights. It is refusing to grant privileges to those people who are living outside the established community standards.

Now, I do have to say a few words about Poppy herself. I’ve read some of her books. She’s a fine writer. I’ve also corresponded with her via e-mail a bit some years ago and I think she’s a nice person. The books of hers I’ve read have graphic depictions of gay sex that I didn’t enjoy, but overall I did like the books. I’m trying to say that I’m not picking on her; I don’t have any grudge or vendetta against her. It was her journal entry that sparked a topic on a message board I visit, so quoting her in this blog was the logical thing to do.

I’ve devoted too many weekly installments of this blog to my thoughts on gay marriage. And I haven’t even gotten around to my thoughts on civil contracts that would let anyone of any sexual orientation choose beneficiaries, elect who will pull the life-support plug, etc. I do support that sort of allowance for all people. Hopefully I won’t return to any gay issues for a while. But … it’s a hot-button issue that won’t go away, particularly in the circles in which I move, so I make no promises.


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