Saturday, May 12, 2012

On Marriage Equality, and Not

I was surprised this week by a colleague of mine. I had forwarded to her an email about the President's comments on marriage equality. She's rabidly anti-Obama, but I thought she'd appreciate his position, since one of her sons is gay. Her response? She doesn't support gay marriage, because God created marriage to be one man and one woman. She hopes her son will find someone to love and build a life with, but he shouldn't be able to marry.

I don't know whether I was more surprised that she would cast her youngest son into the twilight zone, or her idea that God created marriage.

The Greeks were noticeably not Christian. They were polytheists, didn't even think of being monotheistic. They had marriage. Of course, they didn't call it that (probably because English hadn't been invented yet, nor would it be for many, many centuries). The concept, however, was alive and well in Ancient Greece. Until much later, the Romans were polytheistic, as well, and had marriage. It seems, in fact, that every society that ever existed (and left records) has had an institution that nearly everyone would recognize as marriage. I say nearly to account for those die-hard, blinded-by-the-light fundamentalists that claim everything was created by God, long before any group even knew He existed.

Instead of being created by God, I think marriage was coopted, as so many rituals and institutions were, by the early Christians in their zealous take over of the various groups. They reassigned all sorts of feast days to Saints Days, Christ's birthday, His death, etc. It's how they replaced the older gods or other deities. Wow, everybody has a big to-do in winter. Let's call it Christmas, and say it was the day our Christ was born, and soon they'll forget it had anything to do with those heathen gods. It was a brilliant political move, and the early Church was highly political.The Church created new rituals to replace the older, non-Christian ones they found. They created a ritual for marriage, for baptism, for dying. The world hadn't existed without these prior to the rise of Christianity, but the Church supplanted all the older rituals and belief systems, both stealthily, and when necessary, forcefully.

I don't claim to know what God thinks, or wants. I've never spoken to Him in person, you know? And while I may have prayed now and then, I didn't, and don't, think He was listening. I know He never responded.I honestly don't believe anyone, ever, has truly heard from God.Ever. I know the Bible says some folks did, but then, the Bible was written by primitive men to explain their world, and their hierachical control of it. You can't really accept it at face value. I mean, really. What sort of omniscient, omnipotent, super-evolved deity would accept slavery as okay, would condemn women for having a vagina, and exalt men for having a penis? No, thanks, I'll pass on worshipping that sort of god.

So, I guess I'm just more troubled by my colleague's indifference to her son's status. He has always been the best of her children. Her oldest, a girl, put her through hell, got into drugs and illegal activities, spent some time in Juvie, and then in jail. Hated her mother. Her other son tends to use her rather than really support her. (She's divorced, has been for years.) He mooches off her constantly. Borrows money, never repays it. Doesn't have his own cell phone, so uses one on his mother's account, but doesn't pay the bill for it. Lives with her even now, but pays no rent, and doesn't do anything around the house. He even brought his girlfriend, with her two dogs, to live with him for a while, then left the dogs there when his girlfriend had to return to Canada because her visa was expiring. He's going to marry this woman someday, but he hasn't yet asked her. He just assumes she'll say yes.

The youngest son, the gay son, has been independent for some time. He ran into some difficulty with employment for a awhile (he got injured in a motorcycle accident, and was laid up for a long time. His company went out of business while he was recovering.), and moved home. He pays rent, he buys food, doesn't ask her for anything. He's a good guy.  And this is the son she says doesn't deserve the right to marry, should he find someone he wants to spend his life with.  I just don't understand this at all. You're supposed to love all your children equally, albeit in different ways. How can she work so damned hard to rebuild a relationship with her daughter, who is finally on the road to recovery, or allow a son to take such blatant advantage of her, and still consign the third child to a never-never land of not-quite-equal, not-quite-entitled to the same civil rights as others?

She's my colleague. They aren't my kids. But I just can't wrap my head around this, and I'm hurt by her cavalier attitude towards her son. I guess I expected more, better, from her.