It seems like that in 2013 — when gay men and lesbians can serve openly, vote Republican, and shame the president into supporting same-sex marriage after his vice president does so on television — that the argument over California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act would be long over.
But, in both laws’ cases, conservative Christians can’t let the old arguments go. They’re so dogged to prove that they wrote the book on marriage that, when the governments responsible for defending each bigoted law in court refused to do so, they had to hire their own lawyers.*
So, for the fourth time (counting when Prop 8 was originally on the ballot in 2008), we get to hear the same old, tired arguments from people who believe that God tolerates child soldiers but hates it when two men or two women register at Bed Bath & Beyond.
For instance: did you know that God created marriage? There are only three problems with this idea:
1. According to biblical scholars, God didn’t create the Earth until 6000 years ago, man six days sooner than that and marriage however-many-days-it-took-Adam-to-name-every-plant-and-animal-in-Eden sooner than that.
Marriage or standardized monogamy, however, originated anywhere from 20,000 to 4 million years ago, depending on whose genetic research we go by.
2. Even if we give conservative Christians the benefit of the doubt that they’re not all being silly Young Earth Creationists, Judaism (the original movie that many would argue was better than the sequel) is only 3000 years old. So, when it comes to marriage, you didn’t build that. Somebody else’s God (or lack thereof) built that.
3. And, for the sake of argument, let’s say that all of the geological and genetic research was fooled by Satan burying fake bones deep in the Earth, and marriage really is as old as God deciding his human needed another human the way we justify adopting another cat. So what?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 2,326,000 weddings in 2001 alone (excluding Louisiana for some reason). And in the 18 states that track marriage, more than 40 percent of those were performed in a civil, or non-religious, ceremony.
And of those 60 percent that were outright religious ceremonies? At least a few of them were conducted in accordance with the doctrine of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Shinto, Wiccan, Pagan, Zoroastrian, Baha’i and countless other religions that certainly aren’t in the Judeo-Christian tradition, and some of them predate both.
So, if the Judeo-Christian god invented marriage, he was probably only invited to a slim majority of U.S. weddings. Whether his patent on marriage expired, or he never had one to begin with, it is clear that marriage in America is neither based the Bible, nor has it ever been in accordance with the establishment clause in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
And, hey, if you think I’m cherry-picking ridiculous ideas to refute, then I’d love to hear your rational, well-thought-out reason why same-sex marriage is wrong.
*In the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, California’s Proposition 8, which amended their state constitution to permit marriage only between a man and a woman, is being defended by the political activist group and the non-profit organization that wrote the bill and collected signatures to put it on the ballot. And in United States v. Windsor, DOMA is being defended by the House of Representatives’ Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, who were put on the case by Republican members.