This entire discussion is based solely on my opinion of how anti-gay marriage individuals react to criticism. Now, while this may be my opinion, I am very well aware that this does not make it immune to scrutiny, nor does it suddenly elevate it to a point of sainthood that no one dare attempt to criticize. What I am saying is, this piece is from my own perspective, my own point of view. This may be an entirely unfounded observation on my behalf and if such is the case, I am more than willing to be corrected.
So what exactly is this opinion on which I opine? It is about gay marriage, a topic I am only half familiar with, being a gay single man with no clear, definite plans to marry (although it would be nice to know I have the option). The “opinion” is that gays and lesbians should not be allowed to marry. That is an opinion shared by many in this country and worldwide, and while others are swayed by empirical and statistical evidence showing the little to no effect it would have on their daily or personal lives, the rest remain unswayed, firm in their convictions or should I say, “opinion”? But are we really talking about “just an opinion”?
One of the many charges I hear from those who oppose gay marriage is, “Why am I called a bigot for having a different opinion?” While I will say that having the opinion that gay marriage is wrong based on your opinion is itself a bigoted opinion (you are saying that based on your personal beliefs or opinions, a class of people should not have the same right or liberty that you have). But in my opinion (I like that), that doesn’t make you bigot. What makes you a bigot is when you put your opinions into action, voting on anti-gay legislature, taking active measures to deny gays and lesbians rights based solely on your “opinion.” I say that because your reasoning is not based on facts, or rather scientific facts. It is no secret that most Medical, Psychological, and Sociological fields no longer classify homosexuality as a mental disorder and that children of same sex couples fare just as well as those of opposite sex couples. Yet, for most the opponents to same sex marriage, the opposition stands. Why? Well, let’s be honest: the biggest opposition of same sex marriage and homosexuality in general comes from religion.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have no problems with other people’s religion, and for the most part, many proponents of same sex marriage have tried their hardest to assuage the fears of many in the religious community that somehow fear that us getting the right to marry would somehow force them to perform unions that go against their beliefs. Never mind that this is a completely unfounded fear, the religious community seems to forget that they have always had the right to perform services as they see fit and deny services at their discretion (i.e. Interracial marriage, interfaith marriage, if the marrying official deemed the couple not compatible, etc.). So I’m confused as to how they think us getting marriage rights suddenly means we have the power to usurp the law and impose our “lifestyle” on them. In my opinion (there I go again), this is fear-mongering at its finest, designed to not only keep opponents weary of same sex marriage, but to also instill a sense of terror in them that we are on the verge of attacking their faith and bringing our “sin” on sacred ground.
However, it goes deeper than that. For just one moment, I would like to see one opponent of same sex marriage make a sound argument backed with facts and based solely on those, not their personal religious beliefs. As an atheist, I can respect that they hold those beliefs, but their beliefs are personal and do not dictate the lives of those of us who do not submit to their god, or even believe their god exists. It would be like me saying that because I am a vegetarian, all meat consumption should be banned, based on my personal beliefs – ahem, I mean, my opinion. What does your personal god and your personal faith have to do with my personal life? How does my getting the right to marry the man I love interfere with your worshiping your god and continuing to believe that same sex marriage in wrong. In short, it doesn’t.
So what is the real problem here? I think I have an idea (but keep in mind, it’s just an opinion): I think the real issue is that most individuals against same sex marriage do not want the government recognizing that gay and lesbian couples are of the same status and that this secular government has to recognize that such is the case. But because most of them believe that marriage is a sacred, holy, institution made by God (or whomever they worship) for a man and woman, the government acknowledging same sex marriages is an attack on their religion. I am sorry you feel that way, but I think we have already established that the United States of America is not a theocracy, and therefore, the holy doctrine of any one religion is not legislated in our Constitution, or at least it shouldn’t be.
So what is the opinion? That same sex marriage is wrong? Okay, that is a fine opinion to have, but could you at least have the fortitude to actually defend it? Don’t just say it’s an opinion when you don’t want to be challenged by someone who may have an issue with your opinion. The fact that we are all entitled to our opinions do not guarantee them immunity from scrutiny and criticism. We’re all entitled to believe anything we want, but we’re not all entitled to push those beliefs or opinions on those who don’t buy into them. Because in order to do that, we need evidence to back up those opinions. And once those opinions are backed up with evidence, they become facts. Until then, your opinions are yours and yours alone, and should not be factor in me or those like me getting the nationwide right to marry. Yes, it is a “right,” in my opinion.