Chief US District Judge Vaughn Walker overturned California’s ban on same-sex marriage today. His decision is based on his ruling that Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution. Walker ruled Wednesday that California’s Proposition 8, which passed via a 2008 ballot initiative, violates the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. This is seen as a huge victory for LGBT rights, but we need to be wary of celebrating too soon. The religious fundamentalists are not going to take this lying down. This decision is undoubtedly going to wind up before the Supreme Court, and proponents need to dig in for a long and ugly fight. Almost as soon as the decision was publicized, religious conservatives vowed to fight the ruling until the Supreme Court, saying the decision threatens gay marriage bans nationwide.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins stated, “This lawsuit, should it be upheld on appeal and in the Supreme Court, would become the ‘Roe v. Wade’ of same-sex ‘marriage” .
Another shining star of the religious right, Brian Brown, President of the National Organization of Marriage, stated, “We expected nothing different from Judge Vaughn Walker, after the biased way he conducted this trial. With a stroke of his pen, Judge Walker has overruled the votes and values of 7 million Californians who voted for marriage as one man and one woman.”
These individuals and all the religious fundamentalist like them may shout out their pious pleadings of self-rightousness, but they are nothing but garden-variety bigots. Their actions and activities are based on the fear that granting rights to homosexuals to legally marry threaten heterosexual marriage. Just how that would happen is never explained, but as with many arguments based on religious morality, there is the notion that an explanation is not necessary. They perceive a threat, and that is enough. It is an emotional reaction rather than a reasoned argument, which is common amongst bigotry. They believe what they believe, so therefore it must be true, and that is good enough. No evidence is necessary. This is a natural reaction by the bigoted, because they feel the need to control their environment and exposure to another individual who lives life in a manner quite different from their own represents a threat. This threat is an emotional one and emotion is what drives bigotry.
What they probably don’t realize due their willful ignorance of human evolution is that the reason behind these emotions arises from a very primal instinct. The dominance-submission behaviors found in other species often have definite sexual overtones, particularly in other primates. If a dominant male wants something possessed by a subordinate male, the dominant will often bite the subordinate, causing a painful reaction which results in the subordinate releasing whatever the dominant wants, then the subordinate will present his rump. Anyone who has more than one male dog knows this from experience. It is the presentation of the rump that is important. This action lets the dominant male and the rest of the pack understand that the subordinate male is submissive and that the dominant male may have his way with him, regardless of the extent that may take. It’s essentially a submission to rape, should the dominant male desire to do so.
While this is normal in the animal kingdom and the rational human being understands that we have evolved beyond this behavior, it is this instinctual fear of rape is what drives much of the bigotry toward homosexuals, and because the religious fundamentalist views marriage as the only approved venue for sexual relations, they see homosexual men as a threat of a loss of control, of dominance, of status. They view themselves as “better than” the homosexual, and granting the right to marry to a homosexual puts them on equal footing on a playing field they believe the homosexual is not worthy of or even entitled to, and they have their bible, the very word of their god, to back them up. Ignorance and bigotry are very familiar bedfellows, if you will pardon the pun. On a side note, it is interesting that this fear of male/male dominant rape is the origin of the often used phrase “cover your ass”.
The fact is, same sex marriage threatens nothing, least of all heterosexual marriages. Society as a whole pays a steep price for bigotry against homosexuals because it distorts how we deal with sex, sexuality, perception of strangers, interaction with co-workers and reacting to public health issues. Add to that the prevalence of which religionists appeal to prejudice and you begin to see that the cost to society is enormous. The fear of homosexuality among heterosexuals remains one of the most prevalent causes of sexual dysfunction and the only thing standing in the way of finally getting past the issue of same sex marriage.
Homosexuals deserve unreserved participation in all aspects of American life and discrimination of any kind against our homosexual neighbors need to be relegated to the same status as racial discrimination, and not just on paper. Religious doctrines that spew hatred and intolerance toward homosexuality should be treated just as those doctrines that advocate slavery and the belief that black people are an inferior people group. If you remember, interracial marriages used to be illegal. That was wrong, and so is the opposition to same sex marriage.
In closing, with regard to the image that is at the heading of today’s entry, those horrible, ignorant little bastards that show up at the National Organization of Marriage rallies holding these banners up that offer the solution to same sex marriage as the murder of homosexuals, they should be arrested and imprisoned. Free speech does not mean the right to advocate the murder or physical assault of anyone. It is a right that comes with responsibility. Bigotry and intolerance have no place in modern society and if getting to a place where we are all treated equally regardless of who we are sexually means the wholesale eradication of religion, then that is yet another reason why we’d be better off a completely secular society.