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Dr. Joe Wenke Headshot

The 'Struggle' Over Marriage Equality

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A lot of people say they struggle over the issue of marriage equality, and I can certainly empathize with them. In my standup act I do a joke that goes like this:

It took Barack Obama a long time to tell everybody what he really thought about gay marriage, and it's taken me a long time to come up with my position too. You see I was really in a dilemma. I'm pro gay, and I'm anti-marriage. But after a lot of soul-searching I've finally taken a position that I'm comfortable with, and I'm here today to announce that I am coming out very strongly in favor of same-sex divorce. Yes, I believe that, regardless of your sexual orientation, there is indeed an equal right to misery under the Constitution of the United States of America.

To be honest, I've never had a problem with heterosexual marriage. In fact, I've always strongly supported the right of heterosexuals to marry so long as they promise never to procreate. I mean, look at the results so far.

But what are some of the reasons that people give for their struggle over the issue of marriage equality? Well, some people say that marriage is sacred and if gay, lesbian and transgender people marry, they will destroy the institution of marriage, as we know it. This is, of course, a very offensive point of view. It's as if these people were saying that if gay, lesbian and transgender people were to marry suddenly more than half of all marriages would end in divorce. Oh, wait a second. I'm sorry. That's how it already is.

I will agree, however, with these people on one point. They are right when they say that marriage is sacred. What's more, it is true that the sanctity of marriage was established once and for all in the Bible. I'm something of a biblical expert, and I've actually found the exact passage in the Bible that forever establishes the sacredness of marriage: In 1 Kings, Chapter 11, Verse 3, we read that Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Now how's that for sacred?

What's another argument that people use for denying gay, lesbian and transgender people the right to marry? Well, a lot of these people say that marriage has always been between a man and a woman and that same-sex marriage redefines marriage. They act as if this is a really powerful argument that nobody could possibly refute. I call it the argument from history, and in reality this argument from history is the weakest argument of all. It could have been used in exactly the same way at any point in history whenever an executive order was issued or laws were changed to grant people rights they already had. The Emancipation Proclamation? What do you mean, Abraham Lincoln, blacks have always been slaves. The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? Oh, that's silly. Women can't vote. Separate but equal? Laws against miscegenation? Laws against sodomy? In every instance people have made the argument from history to oppose overturning unjust laws or granting people rights they already had. In every case they've been wrong, and in every case their arguments have failed.

Finally some people say they struggle with the issue of marriage equality because they were brought up to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. To these people I say, upbringing is no excuse for bigotry. Think for yourself. In fact, as much as I try to empathize with good people who struggle over the issue of marriage equality, I really have to say that there is no issue over marriage equality for people who truly believe in freedom and equality.