It’s rare that you’ll hear me recommend something a politician has said, but if you get into an argument about today’s gay marriage decision by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, have your opponent read the recent op-ed by Alan Simpson, former Republican Senator from Wyoming.
He preaches tolerance, and quotes Dick Cheney — whose daughter is a lesbian — who said during the 2000 Presidential campaign, “The fact of the matter is we live in a free society, and freedom means freedom for everybody…. And I think that means that people should be free to enter into any kind of relationship they want to enter into. It’s really no one else’s business in terms of trying to regulate or prohibit behavior in that regard.”
To date, no one has been able to give me a rational, logical answer to my question about the gay marriage issue: What’s the downside? If two guys or two women get married in Massachusetts, what does that have to do with anyone anywhere else? Truth is, your life would be no more affected by that than by a man and a woman marrying each other (unless you knew them personally, of course).
I heard one opponent of gay marriage say today that it would “destabilize” the institution of marriage. I have no idea what that means. Would straight couples no longer marry? Would currently married couples be forced to become single again? The argument makes no sense.
Another claim is that “this sort of thing is what’s going to eventually destroy America.” Wrong. Two lesbians getting legal protection for their loving relationship isn’t going to destroy anything. The two things that most endanger America from within are hatred and intolerance.
The basis of the opposition to gay marriage seems entirely religious: “It’s immoral!” Fortunately, in America, our laws are not based on a narrow reliance on biblical morality. If we did, a lot of people would be locked up for eating a ham sandwich and working on Sundays (or Saturdays). If you want a country based on one group’s strict interpretation of religious law, you may want to revive The Taliban. Personally, I prefer The Constitution as the rule of law.
Which brings me to the large number of requests I’ve received for the Dear Dr. Laura letter that I read on my radio show today. It’s been going around the net for several years, and I have no idea who wrote the original, but it’s good to bring out again on occasions like this.
The letter was even paraphrased and adapted by Aaron Sorkin in a “West Wing” script for the second episode of the second season (“The Midterms”), which aired on October 18, 2000.
In the scene, a group of radio talk show hosts are visiting the White House. President Bartlet enters the room and they all stand, except one woman, Dr. Jenna Jacobs (obviously modeled on Dr. Laura Schlessinger). The President then lays into her over her claim that The Bible, in Leviticus 17:22, says homosexuality is an abomination:
President Bartlet: “I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I had you here. I’m interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She’s a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While thinking about that, can I ask another? My chief of staff, Leo McGarry, insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or is it okay to call the police? Here’s one that’s really important because we’ve got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side-by-side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions, would you? Oh, one last thing. While you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, in this building, when the President stands, nobody sits.”
Everyone remains silent as he stares her down until she finally stands up, defeated.