I don't mean to offend. It's probably going to happen anyway.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Red Squares

AKA, the post in which I irritate everybody and possibly receive a few death threats. What can I say, it's been boring lately.

Anyone on Facebook recently has no doubt seen the rash of red squares with two pink lines cropping up as profile pictures. The rhetoric over the entire Gay Rights/Gay Marriage issue has flared up hugely on both sides, and I'm sitting crossly in the middle getting sick of my feed of interesting factoids, tumblr reposts, and spotify notifications being flooded with poorly thought out, vitriolic, simplistic, and sarcastic posts on the subject.

I feel like I'm in prime snark form today.

Getting down to the serious issue, I've posted once before about my stance on gay marriage. I feel like some of it bears returning to. For those who for whatever reason don't want to click through to my old link, I have a short set of basic questions. First off, what exactly is the 'right to marriage' so often talked about? What exactly is different between legal marriage and contractual stipulations of the various aspects of? How do you intend to to elicit societal change through law? And lastly, What business is it of the Fed what anyone's marital status is?

This last question I feel deserves a greater degree of investigation.

I have a number of friends who are of the LGBTLMNOPZetc. persuasion, both in the flesh and on the WWW. I think they are all good people, else they wouldn't be my friends. I am all for the government keeping its nose out of the private details of their lives. If they want to live together and love each other and call each other Frankie, I really do not care. If these people are of the same gender, I don't happen to agree with it for personal and religious reasons, but I am absolutely not going to try and stop them. Here's the thing. All of this applies to heterosexual couples as well.

Where do we as a society and those in government get off on trying to tell other people what they should do?

I am a Mormon planning on going on a mission. Clearly, I don't think everyone in the world is always doing the right things, or are on the right track with their lives. I want some people to change. I want it for their benefit though, and I will never force any of my beliefs on anyone else. Different people believe different things. I don't have to agree to respect that.

The problem I run into, personally, with the gay marriage issue is that it just doesn't make sense. It's a contradiction of terms, like saying bluish orange, or broiling cold. Marriage in my book and in the traditional sense is a union between a man and a woman, covenanted with God. It seems like everyone who  is not married in a religious sense is just pantomiming. Civil Union, Domestic Partnership, these are more accurate labels for a great many 'marriages' across the country than marriage. You can call your best friend your brother or sister all you want, and the emotional bond may be just as strong, but you will never be biologically and technically accurate.

In the end, I know that this comes down to an issue of semantics. It's a case of "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it does." If the governmental institution of marriage, which admittedly has its usefulness in convenience of such things as power of attorney and visiting rights, wants to exist, I personally would change its name to something more accurately reflecting the nature of the arrangement and extend that arrangement to any pair of adults who wish it.

This seems to me to be a bridge that covers the gaps in what most people are talking about. It preserves the sanctity of marriage by recognizing that it doesn't really happen in many typical US marriages. It provides equal protection under the law to all couples. The people who think all gays are spawns of satan, and the people that try to convert everyone on earth to being gay free lovers, are both left out of this consideration, but both are fairly small minorities and both are unrealistic to accommodate.

The broadest points I can make are these. The .gov really doesn't have any business in this issue on either the straight or otherwise position. If a system has to be for stuff (I do see legitimacy to some government awareness of relationships) I think it needs to be extremely limited to emergency power of attorney and other similar things. Taxes should have nothing to do with marriage. Employment benefits should be a contractual matter between employer and employee.

You don't get to call your relationship something it isn't. If you want acceptance for your relationship, don't try to get it by pretending it's marriage. Words have meaning.

This brings me tangentially to the other thing I wanted to talk to on this issue. The red squares. Turning this into an "Us V Them" situation and heckling those who disagree as haters and bigots. Caring more about being seen doing something than actually doing anything. Simplifying a complex issue into "I want it and you're a meanie and a bigot for not wanting to give it to me".

Just... stop. I keep this blog for my political rantings and ravings because I know no one has to look at it who doesn't want to. Facebook is not your soapbox. Feel free to get one, just don't force it on anyone. (Yes, I am guilty of this at times. I try to avoid it)

In a way, that's the fundamental issue. I just ended a long and grueling conversation with a gay marriage activist, and the end result was that he wanted to force everyone to accept it by fiat. I have a problem with that. Just let it go. Drop the empty gestures and shrill cries. Learn to accept that not everyone is going to agree with you. Tolerate intolerance. And just give it a rest. The SC will decide what it will entirely independently of how many red boxes turn up on Facebook.


  1. Great post and very little to disagree with.
    However, that wouldn't be much fun so I'll quibble a bit :)

    Taxes should have nothing to do with marriage

    Agree and disagree - if you phrase it "Taxes should have nothing to do with relationships" then I completely disagree.

    There is a considerable body of research showing that stable, long term relationships are good for a society, people in general and the country. Therefore the government, in enlightened self interest, should be able to provide incentives to people.

    I absolutely believe that the power to provide incentives should be greatly restricted; in no way should any money flow from the government to the person - just a reduction of the amount a person or person owes the government.

    The tax breaks for being in a stable relationship are simply a recognition that likely less money will need to be spent on education, law enforcement, etc. We know the government can write tax code to cover any situation and that is what I would prefer.
    As you say, the government has no business in determining what is or is not a marriage.
    But should it be able to say "If you are in a stable, long term (actual or planned) relationship, deduct $1,000 or $10,000) from your earned income."

    Define stable, long term as we want...say a covenant relationship recognized by an established religion or a contractual domestic relationship of 5 years or more in actual or planned length.
    --There will be planned marriages that are short term 3 months to a year if the SCOTUS recognizes anything other then 'traditional marriage' - bet on it.

    Later I'll debate the "Facebook is not your soapbox. Feel free to get one, just don't force it on anyone." :)

    1. Agreed entirely. I do differentiate between marriage and relationship. Figure out some way to define it (I rather like your idea of contracted domestic relationship of 5 years+ term. I think the religious issue should be left out entirely, with lifelong partnership contracts available from the .gov in place. Just keep the issues entirely independent.

  2. Okay....it's later.

    "Facebook is not your soapbox. Feel free to get one, just don't force it on anyone."

    How is Facebook different from a blog? You have to click on 'add a friend' or click to go to the blog, right?

    Personally, I think Facebook is a huge soapbox -- I would rather learn of someone's political leanings than what they had for lunch or the aftermath of their lunch.

    I read what people post and then determine if I want to continue reading them or not -- the FB settings allow me to hide their posts or not. Many people on my Friend's list I have to go to their wall to read......and that isn't a bad thing in my opinion (usually due to the inanity or silliness of their views).

    Instead of discouraging people to speak out, encourage them. Even if we don't agree with their views, we need more people involved in the political process. Engage them in discussion; show them the righteousness of your views. One of my favorite sayings "You can't be an influence in someone's life IF you aren't IN their life."

    1. I suppose it's just a case of the particular way I compartmentalize my life. I am growing increasingly tired of everything on FB, what with the funny picture shares and the inane opinions and the flaming. I mostly just use it for chatting and group coordinating at this point.

      I try to keep Facebook social. I frankly don't have the energy to debate stuff all the time. I find it tiresome that while I care about the people I'm friends with, I can't see anything on fb other than absolute inanity dotted sparsely with things I actually need/want to see. This may be an issue with me more than Facebook though.

      The way I differentiate my blog from my Facebook is that my blog is my personal board for posting my views and my thoughts. I know a great many of my friends don't agree with various things I hold to. As such, I give them the option to come see if they wish, but I don't like to put them out in such a way as to be seen regardless of choice (beyond being friends on FB) Most of the time, most of the people I am friends with post purely social stuff, which makes me disinclined to hide their stuff.

      I suppose the root of the issue is that these issues turn what is normally a light hearted friendly environment into a bleating echo chamber of political vitriol. It's not what I'm there for. When I want political opinion, I either look for it or ask in person. I think Facebook is an atrocious medium for real discussion, and I think most people are not looking for it. It just comes off as a hit and run thing, put your viewpoint out there knowing that few will bother discussing it. I am happy to try and talk things out, but I feel like the Facebook context makes an even footing and mutual agreement of terms for discussion very difficult.

      I know I'm explaining this very badly, but I just got back from The Redneck Engineer's place, where we built a couple AR lowers, and I am very tired. I might have a post up about the building Monday or Tuesday if I can find the time.

    2. Scribbler,

      I understand the compartmentalization; I really do. If you looked at my FB page you would see a few political posts, a few game updates, lots of silly stuff and family updates.

      But I have an outlet, like you, that most people don't - our blog. They don't have that place to separate out their lives- and that can be a mixed blessing.

      On the positive side, by watching FB, I have been able to contact with others with the same views I have regarding firearms, prepping and political views in general.

      All information can be a double edged sword and your point about FB's context/set up is well taken.


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