I’ve been debating for two days on Facebook the question of same-sex marriage with an intelligent and friendly devout Catholic. He doesn’t want to injure, infringe or oppress anyone, but he sees marriage as a naturally-occurring state. Something pre-political, and therefore something that cannot be re-defined by the state. Gay people can’t get married, because marriage is a thing that exist and it’s only for heterosexuals.
I’m simplifying the argument, he made it passionately and with the obvious conviction that follows research and reason. He’s considered this, long and hard. He’s studied others thoughts and arguments and believes with all his might.
But a lot of us believe that homosexuality is a naturally occurring state too. We have historical backing, even biblical accounts to back that up. Was the same-sex union recognized in these ancient societies as equal to heterosexual marriage? In most cases, maybe all, no. But in those societies, (in all societies until the last century, really) authority was derived from conquest. Or a bloodline that was blessed with “divine right”. In the ancient world, authority (and therefore legitimacy) was gained from “might makes right”.
Even our society was started this way. Rich, white men had authority, and freedom. But there were enough of those rich, white men, that saw the path to something more, something closer to a real, natural state. The formation of a society where authority would truly come from the individual. Same-sex marriage hasn’t been recognized before because the number of same-sex marriages was smaller than heterosexual marriages. Might made right. More of us, so they don’t count.
That’s not acceptable anymore. The fact that gay marriage hasn’t been recognized before is not a valid argument in our society for not recognizing it today. And yes, I do think that means we’ll have to have a discussion about polygamy. There’s plenty of historical precedent there too. I don’t want to marry multiple women. Or a single man. Or even a single woman. I was married once, was bad at it.
My point is that just because it’s always been that way, doesn’t mean it’s the right way. We are at the pinnacle of a rise in freedom that has been building for centuries. Millennia. It’s hard, becoming free. It hurts. Everyone gets uncomfortable with the big open spaces, but that doesn’t mean that you get to stay in the paddock. And you definitely don’t get to hold the gate closed.