Today we’ll look at the contentious issue of what is commonly referred to as, “gay marriage.” The arguments against allowing gay marriage are most often based on religious beliefs and traditional family values that are used to deny marriage to gay couples. The arguments for allowing gay marriage are based on legal, constitutional, social justice and biological issues to support the view that gay and lesbian couples are as entitled to the same emotional and legal benefits that come with marriage as anyone else is.
We approach this issue with the knowledge that the majority of a society or population has oppressed the minority – and worse – throughout the course of human history. One might think that mankind is incapable of loving one another or treating his fellow-man with dignity and respect – but we know that isn’t true – because we also know of countless loving examples that have been demonstrated by mankind throughout history. So why do the two different faces of mankind exist? Why can’t mankind be counted on to always act in a loving, caring and compassionate manner between a majority and the minority?
Many people think that in a democracy, “majority rules” always applies – especially when an election outcome is determined by a majority of voters. The founding fathers were well aware of the fact that the majority can cause great harm in the name of, “majority rules.” One of the reasons people wanted a fresh start in settling the original thirteen Colonies was to escape the religious prejudice of the majority that existed in England and Europe at the time. Throughout history, the minority were often badly mistreated and worse by the majority of a population; and the founding fathers instituted a complex set of checks and balances against any abuse of power by establishing our nation as a representative republic instead of a, “majority rules” style of pure democracy through our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Fortunately in my life I have only experienced real prejudice directed towards me once, but once is always too many times. My friend Bruce and I were on our 8,000 mile bicycle adventure around America in 1976 – the Bicentennial Year – when we entered a rural cafe or restaurant to have something to eat. We were cold and tired from a few days on the road without access to a shower, and our longer hair was not the least fashionable after a few days of sweating under knit hats; and as we entered the establishment to order something to eat we were refused service and told, “we don’t serve long hairs” – and they told us to leave – which we did. We were in a rural area, there were only two of us, we were tired and didn’t want any trouble or a fight – so we didn’t argue and just left.
The entire episode was over in probably 30 seconds, but I have never forgotten for a second that prejudice had been directed at us personally. What I learned from that experience was invaluable though, because I can empathize with anyone who has faced prejudice – and as they say, “I know prejudice when I see it.” Many times one group will say to another, you can never know what I’ve gone through; and it is true that I can’t know exactly what your specific situation felt like, but empathy allows us to feel for and through others by relating their situation back to our own. The homosexual community has had prejudice and worse directed towards them throughout history, and I believe that prejudice is the principal reason why the majority today refuses to grant them the privileges of marriage.
The lack of empathy in the hearts of mankind is often based on irrational feelings of superiority, power, strength or numbers. Anyone who is, “different” – too short, too tall, too fat, not pretty enough, not popular, not wealthy, etc. – knows the feelings of social prejudice that are directed at them for no basic fault of their own. Injustice and prejudice are always wrong wherever they exist. People are people regardless of our many differences, and we should celebrate our differences as God directs us to do in love and respect for all of His people. We are not here to judge others, and should instead treat everyone with a love that recognizes that, “all people” are created equal in the image of a loving God – and under our Constitution.
So besides the issue of targeted prejudice, what else provides evidence that, “gay marriage” should be allowed in society today? Why should we as a society grant the homosexual community the ability to, “co-op” the traditional function of marriage, that has been the bedrock of society throughout the ages for the purpose of raising children and stabilizing society? I’ll continue discussing this multi-faceted issue in Part Five, because as we take a closer look at these issues we find that – Love Changes Everything.