I can’t think of a better way for “All Saints Day” to begin than to read that the “Reverend” Fred Phelps and his clan of cretins have lost a lawsuit brought by the grieving father of a fallen Marine, at whose funeral Phelps and his “church” protested. 

They stand to lose more than $11 million as a result of this judgment.  Of course, they plan to appeal but I think that it’s highly likely that they’ll not find a lot of sympathetic jurists out there to rule in their favor.

As I understand it, even though there’s a right to free speech, there’s also the consequence of that free speech and that is what tort law is all about.  Hopefully the man who brought this suit against the Westboro Baptist “Church” and some of it’s “congregants” will make and maintain constant contact with Fred Goldman for pointers on how to get every little thing out of the loser in a civil trial that he can.  (Goldman found out that O.J. Simpson had a Rolex watch in the property envelope where he was incarcerated upon his most recent arrest, and he sought and obtained a court order that the Rolex be turned over to him in order to satisfy the enormous financial judgment against Simpson in his lost case to Goldman.) Maybe the Phelps clan will have to get REAL jobs in order to pay the damages and that will make them too busy to travel around showing their ignorance.  One can hope, right? rainbow.gif Lance Bass (N’Sync), who is openly gay, admits to having married a girl friend (not a girlfriend but a female frient) in Las Vegas 5 or 6 years ago so that “…we could get gree drinks all night.” In much the same light as Britney Spears’ foray into a 2-day marriage, this illustrates how easily heterosexual marriage is obtained and then revoked, thereby “preserving the sanctity of marriage.” rainbow.gif An article in our fine educational institution’s student newspaper last week prompted me to wrie a letter to the editor in response.  Normally, I let homophobes and bigots rant away without response from me — after all, ignorance isn’t a curable disease.  But this one really set my ass on fire.

Last I checked, this was still “one country, under God,” and being under God, it needs to get in line with the divine.  We may have new quarters, new fuels, new phones and foods, but do we need to rehash our morals?  I may have to tolerate their parades, their discos and their rainbows, but I draw the line at my marriage.

I know the whole “church and state separation,” but part of my church and, in my opinion the “real” church, is the concept of the crusade.  I’m calling for a crusade of morals.  But I’m rational, so let me tell you about my more secular rebuttals to your “Brokeback.”

Can homosexuals ever have what I have?  No.  I know that when I hold my wife’s dainty, testament-turning hand, that what the two of us share is genuine.  Could two members of the same sex ever feel like we do?  I find it hard to believe.  I have liked my male peers, but I haven’t ever felt the need to marry them.  I’d question any homosexual if they ever had any close friend of the opposite sex, and why they hadn’t decided to marry them. 

Can homosexuals have children? No.  I may be impotent, but theoretically, my wife and I could have had children ourselves, but we subsequently decided to adopt (and love our son greatly, even if he isn’t “ours”).  Could it be that homosexuals’ inability to reproduce is a sign that they are not meant to be?  I think so.

My final case against gay marriage is that it taints the beauty of my own sacred union.  I may not have to hear about it, see it, or read about it, but just KNOWING that somewhere out there, somewhere in MY country, that two homosexuals, who think they have “love” and “happiness,” are getting a marriage viewed as EQUL to mine, makes me sick.

So, I got out my soapbox, and penned this response:

In response to Mr. A.G.’s rant against same-sex marriage in the October 22 issue of the Monroe Doctrine, I’d like to submit my own thoughts on the subject.

First and foremost, while the expression exists “…one nation, under God…” there is no national doctrine that dictates that American citizens are obligated to live by Christian standards.  We are, after all, a “melting pot” of cultures – and many of these cultures bring with them their own belief systems which are not tied in any way to Christianity.  To advocate forcing Christian values on a nation as vastly diverse as ours defies everything for which our Constitution stands. 

Let’s not forget that the phrase “under God” wasn’t added to the Pledge of Allegiance until 1954, during the McCarthy era and the fight against “godless” Communists.  The concept of “Freedom of Religion” also holds that freedom FROM religion would be a freedom that American citizens would enjoy. 

Mr. G. asks if we should have to rehash our morals.  I think this is an appropriate question, and one that begs a response from every person who read his article and who reads this one.  Yes, we do need to rehash our morals.  We need to take a long and hard look at how easily obtainable divorces are these days when heterosexual couples decide they’ve had enough of each other.  The divorce rate in this nation is approaching 60%.  There is a new term out there that young heterosexual couples use – “starter marriage.”  I think this term amplifies the concern that young children see quitting as an acceptable alternative and one that is a first choice rather than a last resort.   

Mr. G. also asks “Can homosexuals ever have what I have?” and then answers his own question with “No,” and tells us how he can hold his wife’s hand and know that what he shares with her is genuine.  How can he claim to know what is in the heart of another human being?  How can he dare to claim that the same-sex couple that has shared 35 years of life together in every way doesn’t have what he has? 

Mr. G.’s next point is that homosexuals can’t have children and that, if they can’t, it might be a sign that they are “not meant to be,” yet in the same sentence he admits to impotence while stridently claiming the exclusive right to marriage, based solely on his opposite gender attraction.  In fact, in any marriage, there is no requirement to procreate.  Procreation is an individual choice just as much as what style of clothing to wear, what car to buy, and what religion to belong.  He goes on to say that he and his wife adopted and “…love [their] son greatly, even if he isn’t [theirs].”  Homosexual couples adopt all the time.  What makes their family inferior to Mr. G.’s?

Finally, Mr. G.’s “final case against gay marriage is that it taints the beauty of [his] own sacred union.”  This is an argument that is parroted constantly but there is never any information offered as to how my marriage to my long-term partner taints his own – only that it does.  Frankly, if my same-sex marriage taints Mr. G.’s, I’d have to suggest that maybe his marriage is in trouble anyway and my same-sex marriage is just a convenient scapegoat for his own failed relationship if, in fact, that is the case.I love my spouse – deeply.  I cannot imagine my life without her and I measure my life in terms of before I found her and after I found her.  We are financially interdependent and own a home together.  We own a business together.  We have exceptional compatibility and share our hopes and dreams with each other.  We laugh together.  We cry together.  Sometimes we fight with each other but, even when that happens, we don’t look toward the door as a means to solve the problem (the way so many heterosexual marriages have gone).

I’m sorry my marriage makes Mr. G. or anyone else “sick.”  I respect his opinion on the matter because we all have feelings about hot button issues.  But, what makes *me* sick is that some people feel that, because they don’t understand something, they have to mock it, or beat it down, even go so far as to deny civil rights to those that they don’t understand.  It makes me sick to see the billions of dollars being funneled into the Middle East when there are children in our own back yard without the simple necessities in life that we all take for granted.  It makes me sick to watch the likes of Britney Spears get married and then get that marriage annulled two days later.  It makes me sick to listen to anti-gay politicians rage against homosexuals while they enjoy their third or fourth marriage.  It makes me sick to see sports take a higher priority in our school than academics.  It makes me sick to hear about some kid shooting up a school because nobody stopped the bullies from sending him over the edge.  It makes me sick to read about the killing of 400,000 people in Darfur.  It makes me sick to think that our planet may be unlivable for our grandchildren.  It makes me sick to think that my marriage is considered the biggest problem this world has to face.

Mr. G. doesn’t make me sick.  He makes me sad – for him.  It saddens me to see that someone who seems to truly believe that they are good Christians would publish such a hate-filled, uninformed article, blasting a group of people that he clearly has no understanding of, and finish it up by saying that the group of people make him sick.  These aren’t Christian values, thankfully. This is my country, too.  I served it for 24 years because I believed in what I was doing.  I also believe that ever citizen in this country deserves all the rights and liberties that are afforded to everyone else, whether everyone likes it or not.  That is, after all, what America stands for – “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

 The argument [that permitting gay couples to marry will diminish the meaning of marriage] supposes that the culture that shapes our values is the property only of some of us — those who happen to enjoy political power for the moment — to sculpt and protect in the way we admire.” — Ronald Dworkin

I cannot truly articulate how angry it makes me to see these arguments that are devoid of fact — they’re merely statements that resemble “It’s so because I say it’s so.”