Last week, the Supreme Court heard two cases on the subject of marriage equality — one involving California's controversial Proposition 8, which narrowly banned same-sex marriage statewide in 2008, and the other determining the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, which federally defines marriage as a "union between one man and one woman."
Admittedly, I had not been paying much attention to the battle over gay-marriage rights in recent months and had no idea it was going before the Supreme Court until a wash of pink Marriage Equality symbols overtook my Facebook feed.
I guess in that way you could say I'm a fair-weather fan of gay marriage: I am supportive of it, and I get excited when it makes the playoffs — but I hadn't been writing my congressmen or anything.
To further confuse you with weak sports metaphors: Maybe it's not so much that I'm a fair-weather fan (as I don't talk smack when gay marriage fails to make the championship), but that I have no horse in the race. I'm not gay and I'm already married. Gay marriage doesn't affect me directly.
I have gay friends whom I would like to have the option to get married, if they so desired. Should those gay friends ask me to march in support, I would march; should they ask me to change my online avatar to raise awareness or show solidarity, I would oblige; should they ask for my vote to help pass legislation, I'd be first in line (well, maybe not the first; daddy needs his sausage biscuits).
But I'm also a human being with inherently lazy tendencies, and I think that's pretty universal — gay, straight or Gordon Shumway. Where in my schedule is the extra time and energy to bring about social change?
Anyway, in response to the events, the Onion ran the following headline:
"Supreme Court on Gay Marriage: 'Sure, Who Cares?'"
Which pretty much sums up everything I feel about the issue.
Perception is reality, and in my world the grass is green, the sky is blue, water is wet and some people are gay. It just is what it is. I have no emotional attachment to that whatsoever.
If you prefer chicks to dudes or dudes to chicks or chicks who look like dudes or dudes who look like chicks, rest easy in knowing that I do not care. Like I said, I have no horse in that race. I'm not going to be dating whomever you're dating, I'm not going to visit their families for the holidays, or buy them tampons from Walgreens in the middle of the night. It does not concern me.
But, as I am reminded every presidential election cycle, there are some people in this country who find themselves very concerned. And it confounds me: Even though they also have no horse in the race, they feel the need to go to the racetrack and try to shut the whole thing down.
So why do these people care?
If you ask opponents of same-sex marriage why they are so passionate about their point of view, most cannot provide you with an honest, direct answer. (Much like opponents of interracial marriage once upon a time.) That is because there is no logic supporting their opinion. It is the byproduct of some illogical, emotional response.
I can only think of three reasons why someone might be bothered by gay marriage:
1. Because they are ignorant.
2. Because they are hateful.
3. Because they are afraid.
The ignorant probably don't know many homosexuals, and maybe they've read a lot of scary stuff on the Internet (or hastily photocopied pamphlets) about how gay people like having sex with children and want to marry goats and listen to pulsating house music while torturing bunny rabbits. You can usually identify these types of gay-marriage opponents by their inability to differentiate between "your" and "you're" in the comments thread of a gay-marriage debate.
The hateful don't like people that are "different" from themselves: skin color, nationality, religion or sexual orientation. Often their rage comes from feelings of personal inadequacy; they redirect feelings of worthlessness and anger at an external target. They are bullies. They have not changed much since the playground.
Those who are afraid believe gay marriage will bring down the wrath of God. These people live in fear their entire lives, always toeing the line, afraid that if they screw up, they will be burned and tortured for infinity years. (Infinity, y'all!) These are anxious, reactionary and hypocritical people.
They will gladly reference a quote from Leviticus to justify their homophobic views, while ignoring many of the other arcane "laws" contained within the Bible. (If you are against homosexuality for religious reasons, I certainly hope you've never cut your hair or worn two different fabrics at the same time: If you have, this angry, old-timey God holds you in the same amount of contempt as the gays.)
You can quote as much scripture as you like, but you will never convince me that Jesus Christ built a clubhouse and then hung a sign over the door that read "No Gays Allowed." And if you claim to be against gay marriage for religious reasons, that is essentially what you are purporting to believe.
So, those of you who fall into the third category, allow me to set the record straight. I am a legally ordained minister. That means, legally speaking, I am just as godly, if not more so, than you. And I am telling you this:
— God created gay people.
— Or evolution did.
— Or both. Or whatever.
And if I'm wrong, and if God really does hate the gays and wants to send them to hell for infinity years to burn in lakes of fire with no hope of rescue or solace, then you know what? That heaven doesn't really sound like the kind of place I'd like to hang out.
In that case, I guess I'll see you in hell. Where at least you know the parties will be fabulous.
Ryan Jackson would be happy to officiate your gay marriage. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.