On my earlier squib pointing readers to the Albuquerque Journal’s gay marriage poll, I drew several unexpected responses from readers who think same-sex unions are “abnormal”. Josh Marshall last night published an amazingly touching letter from a reader about another time and place in our society in which the same argument was made:
I’m 62 years old and grew up in Missouri. When I married my first wife, who was Japanese American, we had to do so in another state. At that time it was against Missouri state law for interracial marriages to take place. Times change.
40 years later the pain of that state-sanctioned inequality, which made some couples second-class citizens, still stirs an old, deep-felt resentment. While I’m not gay, I certainly have sympathy for the state-sanctioned unfairness that gay couples endure and believe that in another 40 years (probably much sooner) gay marriages will be a simple, accepted fact of life.
Sure this a sad story, but, I don’t feel it’s relevant to this situation.
There is no difference between the races, but there is a difference between a man and a woman.
So I feel that the unions (Straight Vs. Gay) are rather distinct in this manner.
Besides, “marriage” is just the fascist state co-opting love.
But who the hell am I?
But in fact it’s perfectly relevant.
There obviously are differences between the races – different skin tones, differently shaped eyes, stuff like that. People used to argue those differences were sufficient to prohibit marriage. We now understand that to be wrong.
To make the case you’re arguing, you have to show what it is about the differences in this case that are sufficient to prohibit marriage.
The standard argument offered here by critics of same-sex marriage is procreation – that because a man and a woman can create a child, they should be permitted to marry, while a same-sex couple cannot and therefore should not be allowed to marry. But until the opponents of same-sex marriage also argue against marriage by a couple of 80-year-olds of opposite sexes who met down at the senior center, or against marriage by heterosexuals who for medical reasons cannot have children (and you never here ’em arguing that), the procreation argument is not one I’m willing to buy. Lots of heterosexual couples marry and don’t procreate because they can’t, or because they don’t want to, and there is no call for a constitutional ammendment to prevent it.
So exactly what is it the difference here that’s relevant?