A Conservative Guy on Why Gay Marriage Should Be Legal
by Mike Trivella | University of Notre Dame
When I am able to reflect on my life as objectively as possible (but let’s be honest, bias often makes our self-portraits quite convoluted), I picture a man who more or less can be defined as conservative. I was always taught never to spend beyond one’s means, and I still do so today. I tend to find a lot of things in modern-day society to be distasteful, especially the music. It’s almost like there is no need for innuendo anymore, because people just tend to sing directly about anything sexual or erotic.
Above all, I strongly believe that the government should have as little an influence in my life as possible. We need government to make laws, conduct relations with foreign nations, distribute justice and other things of that nature, but any thoughtful and knowledgeable man or woman is more than capable of running his or her own life effectively. With that being said, I find it slightly confusing when I read in CNN the huge fuss over gay marriage. Romney is against it, and the religious right is in an uproar over it. I am a practicing Roman Catholic myself, and all I can wonder is why is this a problem? It doesn’t take that much thought to come to the conclusion that gay marriage should be legal, or at the very least that it’s not a government issue.
If you search marriage on the Internet, it will take you no more than two minutes to find websites with different definitions. While Merriam-Webster defines marriage as “the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.” Wikipedia defines it as, “a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship.” What is the reason for the apparent discrepancy? Why do some people define marriage more loosely than others? It’s evident that bias can affect even such things as supposedly concrete definitions.
It seems that the Merriam-Webster definition is derived from the religious view of marriage (the union of man and wife so as to procreate), for indeed that is what the term implies. What exactly would this mean for the state of gay marriage in the United States? Well, considering that the U.S. was founded on such notions as separation of church and state and freedom of religion, I find it wholly unfair and contrary to our nation’s cherished values that gay marriage should be banned because a religious definition excludes it. Oh sure, one could counter and say that the U.S. was founded on Judeo-Christian values, and then you could show me Bible verses where God forbids a man and a man or a woman and a woman from loving each other, but this still doesn’t change the fact that church and state are not one and the same in this country.
I do not wish to sound blasphemous, but in the end does God really care with whom we fall in love and want to spend the rest of our lives with? The God of love that Jesus describes in the New Testament is always willing to forgive our various “transgressions,” and wants all his creation to be one with him in love.
Thus, we see that it is somewhat hypocritical to be against gay marriage from a religious standpoint, but this hypocrisy extends to the political realm as well. As most people who have witnessed this debate can attest to, most of the people in this country who are against gay marriage would be inclined to describe themselves as conservative. And as I stated above in my own self-critique, perhaps the greatest conservative desire above anything else is to have limited self-government, laissez-faire at its finest. Indeed, I feel I can get along just fine without the government telling me I have to buy health insurance, or I have to pay taxes to fund causes I don’t believe in, etc.
How can one claim to be a conservative and at the same time still claim that gay marriage should be illegal? Why should the government have the right to tell me who I can and cannot marry? Everybody knows from experience that we don’t choose who we fall in love with — never in a million years would I have thought that I wanted to marry a certain girl at the University of Notre Dame (whom I shall not name for fear of her knowing how I feel), and frankly, I would be pissed off if I was not allowed to marry her because some constitutional amendment banned me from doing so. Even more so with gays and lesbians.
It’s been scientifically proven (Read The Red Queen: Sex and The Evolution of Human Nature, written by Matthew Ridley) that some men and women are more likely to become gay or lesbian than others. To ban gay marriage is like punishing someone for having a different set of genes, which is beyond anyone’s control. Conservatives champion limited government, to ban gay marriage would be to fly in the face of that core value.
In the end, what’s the real difference between marriage between a man and a woman and a marriage between people of the same sex? No longer can you say that only one relationship produces children, especially now that many gay couples adopt and there are many heterosexual couples who have trouble having kids of their own. Society should cherish relationships that promote love and stability, and certainly a loving marriage is a relationship that does that. Why deny those who love and want to start families the privilege that heterosexual men and women have?
By no means do I consider myself a liberal, but this almost seems like common sense. As Americans, we must do a better job of bringing our fellow countrymen and women together. We need to stop being so divisive on almost every issue. Serious ideological differences do exist, but in situations like this espousing hate is nonsensical. Whenever you can, espouse love, not hate. It’s the only way to even begin bringing a fractious world back together.Mike Trivella is currently a junior at the University of Notre Dame. Majoring in Accounting and minoring in Philosophy, Mike splits his time between classes, working out with friends, balancing debits & credits, pondering the true essence of the universe, and as always watching the New York Football Giants.