ryan hill instagram pictureSome political issues are hard to deal with. In fact, I rarely talk about some things like abortion, the death penalty, marijuana. These topics have a way of polarizing a room very quickly, and I’m not a person who likes to stir unnecessary trouble. I get enough trouble without trying that hard already. Another difficult one for me is the national discussion on same-sex marriage. I didn’t want to say it, but here’s my take.

Here We Go…

Suppose for a minute you are a young, religiously and fiscally conservative, libertarian Republican who lives in Oklahoma. Oh, that would happen to be me! Your generation has more people identifying themselves as homosexual than perhaps any generation in history. You’ve grown up in a Christian environment, being taught that it is wrong as long as you can remember. You yourself are heterosexual. That’s me. But at the same time, I have always had friends who are gay, both male and female, since probably middle school. It’s never really bothered me, even though I haven’t agreed with it. And if you’re gay, it really doesn’t make that much of a difference to me! It isn’t really any of my business who you like and don’t like in the first place. I have friends who listen to country music, too, and believe me I am not in love with country music.

Well that’s all fine and dandy, but now the Supreme Court is dealing with this issue in the legal world, for all of us. Their decision has the potential to affect the laws of every state

What role should government have in marriage? Should it be involved at all, even recognizing the institution? Some passionately argue no, that citizens should only be recognized as individuals, but others hold that marriage is a foundational component of society necessitating government regulation.

It should be noted that the U.S. Government is not a religious institution, like these crazy Republicans in North Carolina think:

But it should also be noted that governments of the people will reflect the morals of the people. Being religious and being moral are different. You can be a moral atheist, or you can be an immoral Christian. I believe in government that does not legislate religion, but moral matters are candidates for legal regulation. Stealing is immoral, because it takes what belongs to someone else. Killing and assault likewise, because they take life or injure. If you sign a contract, you are obligated legally to fulfill its terms and can be prosecuted should you breach them. This is law because the keeping of oaths is a moral thread holding together the fabric of society.

Same-sex marriage, however, is not necessarily even a moral issue. What two other people do in their private lives does not affect me. I cannot be harmed by their choices in love. Gay and lesbian couples are not robbing me or harming me. There is no contract or statute that requires them to be straight. Just because I don’t participate in or agree with something, it doesn’t mean I have to make it illegal. I’m not a cigarette smoker. I’ve never smoked one and don’t plan to, no matter how bad my day job gets. Smoking cigarettes is very bad for you, and people in my family have died from related illnesses, but I don’t want it to be illegal. If you want to smoke, you have the right to do that! It is your choice – nobody’s making you light the things on fire! I think it’s a bad choice, and I’ll encourage you to quit, but if you decide you’re going to keep smoking, you should have every right to do that.

So is that the answer to same-sex marriages? You make your own choices and leave me alone; I make my own and leave you alone as well? There’s one more point to consider. The government doesn’t recognize ‘smoker’ as an official taxable status. Marriage is a status officially recognized by U.S. Government, since the late 1800’s at least. Personally, I don’t believe the government should have gotten in the marriage business in the first place, but in the current legal system it would be rather difficult to abolish marriage by government. By giving it a status, government in a way endorses it as legitimate. The result of the Supreme Court decision will tell us whether the government considers same-sex marriage legitimate.

 

A New Idea

Although the idea of homosexuality is about as old as the human race itself, the marriage of same-sex couples is something relatively new to the United States. One of the main reasons, if not the only one in many cases, for leaving Europe to settle here was to practice religion, giving our country a rich and diverse religious lineage. A heritage that has given us what we call traditional marriage. The Supreme Court has even hinted they are hesitant to deal with this issue because it is so new.

Federal Reserve Chairman Barney FrankBut then again, it’s not so new. Last night I watched a 1994 episode of Seinfeld where Kramer thought another man was romantically interested in Jerry. In 1997, Ellen “came out” on national television about her sexuality. Ever heard of Elton John?  Barney Frank? When was the last time you even heard the term coming out of the closet? People still do that, but it’s much less of a big deal in 2013. Western society as a whole has accepted homosexuality as an acceptable, hardly alternative, lifestyle.

I have to say that I really don’t have a problem with same-sex marriage. Call me a millennial, a liberal, an idiot, whatever. I’m a Gen X conservative with a high enough IQ to know laws in this country are not in place to get people to do the things you want them to do. I’m not in religious agreement with the practice of homosexuality, and I’m not apologizing for that belief. It’s as much my right to believe as it is anyone else’s to believe differently. Laws are in place to protect people from having their rights infringed, and same-sex couples do not infringe my rights, recognized by government or not.

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