Saturday, July 12, 2014

A common misconception

Have you seen this comic before?

Maybe you've seen one like it.

Comics like this aren't really that funny. Not because it's attacking those who disagree with gay marriage, but because it isn't using the same argument that those who disagree are using.

It's a complete misunderstanding.

A lot of people think that when Christians, or conservatives, or your grandma, says that "gay marriage ruins the sanctity of marriage" it means that a same-sex couple getting married with specifically ruin my marriage (assuming I was married). That's not at all what it means.

People who don't believe in same-sex marriage aren't morons. They have never once said "that gay couple getting married is going to tear my marriage apart!" HELLO! No one believes that! What they have said is that they believe marriage is between one man and one woman. They have said that if a man marries a man (or a woman marries a woman) it will mock the sanctity of marriage.

Let me break that down a little more. Those who believe marriage is sacred don't necessarily believe that those who are attracted to the same-sex should be denied basic rights. (Some might, but that's an individual thing. No one in their right mind believes that someone should be denied a job if they are capable, no matter who they are... but that is a discussion for another day.) People who believe marriage to be sacred believe that if you change the definition of marriage, you are disregarding the sanctity of it.

Many people believe marriage = one man + one woman
Others believe marriage = two people in love

Those who believe the first believe that the second group are disregarding their beliefs. Those of the second believe that the first are being prejudice. That's where the problem lies.

We are not all defining marriage as the same thing.

The first group might care a little less if the second group referred to their idea of marriage as a civil union, or something along those lines. The first group isn't necessarily offended that a man wants to marry another man, they're offended by the lack of consideration the second group has for their definition of marriage.

So when the Christians, conservatives, grandmothers, and anyone else says that homosexuality is ruining the sanctity of marriage, it doesn't mean that your choice in partner is going to destroy their personal marriage. It means that they are hurt that someone would disregard their beliefs and try to change the meaning of what they have believed for their entire lives.

Those who believe that marriage is between one man and one woman have looked at that as a happily ever after. They have looked at that as magical, as sacred, as something worth valuing. When others come in and tell them that their magical dream is wrong, it hurts.

It's as if someone had this amazing car that they worked for their whole life. They saved every penny until they had the million dollars needed to purchase the fast, sleek, sexy car. But then, their neighbor pulls up in a similar looking car. The difference is that the neighbor's car is made of a different material, it doesn't have the same engine, the seats aren't real leather. But it looks the same. It sounds the same. But the first person feels a little bummed, possibly angry, because he worked for his car, and then someone else came along and didn't put the same effort in to get his car, but now the first person's car isn't as unique.

Now that's a terrible analogy, but it's similar. The neighbor with the car didn't damage the first person's car. He didn't take the value of it down. The first neighbor is simply hurt because he valued that car, and someone is parading around town with one that looks the same but isn't.

A marriage between two men (or two women) appears to be a marriage, but to a lot of people it isn't a marriage. To a lot of people, that is a cheap replica of a marriage. That's not to say that the two people don't love each other, but it just isn't what many define as a real marriage.

To say that the first group is old fashioned is right. They are. And they like it. There is nothing wrong with being old fashioned. The first group thinks the second group are disregarding traditionally held values. Both groups could be right. The thing is, there is probably a compromise that neither group wants to look for. Instead of changing tradition, why not create a new tradition. Give a same-sex marriage a different name. Those who believe the idea of marriage being sacred cannot complain then. And those who want the same benefits of being married to the one they love can have them.

Until that happens, though, we need to realize that the groups arguing are not arguing on the same page right now. So before everyone gets all bent out of shape, just breathe, think it through, and explain your position in a more specific way, using less trite phrases such as "it ruins marriage"... Clearly the way things are being explained right now isn't helping, so try thinking of a new way to explain how you feel instead of spewing the same things repeatedly.

That's all.