By Katie East
The true problem that is plaguing our country right now is a lack of empathy. We live in a time of faceless cyber bullying where it’s easier to cast a stone than to lend a helping hand. Our country is so polarized right now it’s near impossible to agree on even the simplest of ethical truths.
Last week on This American Life they talked about a very interesting political study done after Prop 8 in California. Gay rights advocates went door to door talking to voters who voted against gay marriage with the purpose of changing their minds on the issue.
Apparently, this had never been done before. Political advertising is always aimed at people who agree with the message. The point is to get people to the polls, not tot change their minds; that’s near impossible.
Well, the campaign worked. What ingenious deception did these political savants use to sway these conservative voters? Honesty.
Apparently, when a nice gay stranger showed up at someone’s door and just spoke honestly with that person about gay marriage, he or she very often changed their mind on a huge matter. All it took was listening and communication. And, being forced into someone else’s shoes through conversation.
Let’s get real, the sanctity of marriage ended along time ago. Not just because divorce has been the norm for decades, but because of our country’s flippant attitude toward marriage.
If you want to get technical, the sanctity of marriage died in February 2000, with the TV broadcast of Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire. If you don’t remember the show, it’s where a bunch of women competed in a beauty pageant to win a husband, three-carat diamond ring and $100,000. Then, one mysterious millionaire pointed out which prize, I mean woman, he wanted to buy…I mean marry. Then, they married on the spot. This wasn’t an isolated incident, right now there is a show on television called Married at First Sight where, you guessed it, two straight dummies marry strangers.
As a straight person who is about to get married, the premise of this show upsets and offends me; I can only imagine how gay people feel about it.
Couples who have been together for 20 years, cultivating their love and commitment to each other, can’t get married. But these superficial attention whores get to go on national TV and make a huge life decision in a split second.
Most people who are against gay marriage claim it’s due to a moral obligation. The only valid argument for morally believing two consenting adults shouldn’t be allowed to be married is that perhaps you think same-sex parents aren’t good role models for children.
Sure, a mother and a father are what’s best for children. But, plenty of single parents do an amazing job at raising children. One great parent is better than two neglectful ones.
Not to mention, in most same-sex couples, one person often takes on the role of the father and the other as the mother. Gender has nothing to do with it.
If you have any other moral arguments against gay marriage you actually have a religious argument against it. Well, I’d say that really has nothing to do with why a law should be made but it’s laughable to even pretend that there’s any sort of separation of church and state in this country anymore. So, sure, let’s say that’s a valid argument.
The Bible mentions homosexuality as a means of excess six times; never does it address committed gay relationships. But, let’s say the fact that it’s called “unnatural” is enough for you to condemn it completely. Well, around that same verse the Bible also says eating pork and shellfish are unnatural. And damn if you straight people don’t serve bacon-wrapped shrimp at weddings just to throw it in gay people’s faces.
Let’s get down to the real reason you’re against gay marriage: you think gay sex is gross. I honestly think it’s as simple as that most of the time. Our country is totally obsessed with a book and movie where a man tries to persuade an unsuspecting young woman to try bondage, butt plugs and fisting yet we think it’s gross when two men are in love. Here’s the thing: sex is gross in general. If you’re not doing it, it’s best not to think about it. I have many friends who are in a couple that it grosses me out to think about them having sex. In fact, it grosses me out to visualize any of my friends having sex except maybe four of them. And really I’m the gross one for that.
Still, that doesn’t mean I don’t think my other friends should be able to get married. I know that they enjoy sex with their partner and to them it is just an expression of their love. And personally, I couldn’t be happier that they found it.
And that, my friends, is empathy.