I have some random thoughts about the Defense of Marriage amendment to the Constitution. These may seem contradictory, but these are things rolling around in my head right now.
- Politically speaking, this debate and its timing right now seems nothing more than pandering to me. Republicans have been in a bad place lately. They have failed to make any traction with the war, the economy, or immigration. The President's poll numbers have been horrific. The hiring of Tony Snow as press secretary seemed to be a ploy simply designed to win back some from social conservatives. With the mid-term elections around the corner, this current debate has the same kind of smell. I am not necessarily opposed to it, but it seems to me that there are bigger fish to fry right now.
- On a personal level, does limiting marriage to a male and a female do anything to really protect or defend marriage? If an solitary gay couple wants to have the legal status of "married," what affect does that have on my life or anyone else's?
- On a societal level, I can see that a case can be made that redefining marriage could have a corrosive effect on the culture. To my limited knowledge, no human culture ever has gone down this road and survived to tell the story. There may well be a reason for that.
- However, - try to follow my logic on this one - if the basic rights of Americans are "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," then health care has got to be a key component of "life," right? It is the means of preserving life. And, what is the primary way of gaining health care in our society? It is health insurance. And what is the primary way of gaining health insurance? It is through your employer or through your spouse's employer. It seems to me, then, that allowing gay marriage would be a key way to protect the basic rights of a significant segment of Americans by giving them a pathway to health care and, thereby, life.
- Furthermore, while I would never argue that a gay household is the ideal one, if it can provide a stable and loving environment for children who would not otherwise have such an environment, should we be so quick to dismiss it? In Arkansas alone there are 18,000 foster kids needing homes.
- Finally, I think that the discussion by Christians of homosexuality, in general, and gay marriage, in particular, needs a lot more nuance and care than it usually gets. I don't have the answers. I am far from even knowing what the right questions are. But I do know that we need to be thoughtful, considerate, and gracious - not just cut-throat about Congressional elections.