Monday, April 15, 2013

My Evolution on Gay Marriage

Now that the Supreme Court has heard arguments on two gay marriage cases, that the number of senators publicly supporting it has jumped to more than half, and that public opinion has now shifted decisively in its favor, I thought it might be a good time to chronicle how my own views of gay marriage have changed.

For most of my life as a Christian, homosexuality wasn't even really on my radar. The concept was largely foreign to me. When it did finally trickle into my consciousness, I felt no animosity toward gay people; I just considered it a strange and sinful way of thinking and behaving.

I never held very strong opinions on gay marriage, but the issue came to a head in 2008 with the introduction of Prop 8 in my home state of California. I remember that it was something I went back and forth on, but sadly I ultimately voted in favor. My rationale at the time was that gay people could still have civil unions and get the same benefits without taking on the title of marriage.

At the time, I thought that was enough. My vote on this issue was probably the last truly harmful action I took as a result of my religious beliefs. Though I no longer think that civil rights issues should be put to a majority vote, a small part of me wishes this one would be, just so I and others like me could redeem ourselves.

I didn't think much about the issue again until what was probably late 2010—after I had started questioning my faith, but before I became an atheist. I came across this video by prominent atheist and LGBT blogger Zinnia Jones.

In the first half of the video she rattles off a number of potential disadvantages associated with civil unions, but the second half (starting at 1:30) was what really struck me. If civil unions are identical to marriage in every way but in name, why is there a need to make a distinction at all? What does marriage offer straight couples that they need and gay couples can't have?

My views on gay marriage were already tenuously held, but that video was what solidified them decisively in its favor. At this point, I think it's clear that there are no decent arguments against gay marriage, and that most secular arguments have been propped up in order to disguise religiously-motivated concerns. I'm glad to see public opinion changing so rapidly, and look forward to seeing how each sect and denomination will respond to gay marriage's inevitable acceptance.

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