Those Troubling Consenting Adults

Everybody’s doing it. Well, maybe Morrissey isn’t doing it. For some reason, every interview he does, the lame nut holding the microphone feels the need to ask that question. And on each occasion, he’s dismissed it. It has nothing to do with his music, he says. It isn’t important. Good for him for holding out so long. Seriously, who cares? Just keep performing for us. Keep showing us your talents. I don’t care who you’re sleeping with or not even engaging in it.

Which gets me to thinking. Be afraid. Be very afraid when I say that.

What busy-bodies we are, going about whispering suspicions, gossiping about truths. What is the bigger trash? People magazine or it’s consumers? Perhaps I judge too soon. It might be innate jealousy to see others having all the fun. I’m afraid that I am probably correct; in that, we’re always going to be a species that meddles in each others affairs. The prime governor is that in most cases, the greatest blow is against a self-esteem, by either being the target or throwing rocks at the innocent. Because we are of such character, jealous and wanting to be saviors, we have created a second governor – Government. Government should be instituted to protect the rights and property of the people. But what happens when politicians stray from that simple premise? This one is the fire George Washington feared.

When people with power decide they don’t like your choices, they can put limits on them. Ultimate Busy-Body Bloomberg is making it his personal mission in New York to save everyone from sugary goodness, loud music, smoking and so on. There are personal choices that government has no business being in. Examples are use or abstinence of drugs, what you choose for personal protection, gambling, assisted suicide, pornography, cohabitation, fornication or religious choices. It’s Nobodies Business if You Do said Peter McWilliams, regarding consensual behaviors.

The most intimate behavior a person can engage in is sexual relationships. These acts tend to be conducted in the most private of places, out of sight from anyone not wanting to be there. Yet, in America, the home of the brave and the free, we actually have laws on the books against certain sexual behaviors. Sodomy, lewd and lascivious cohabitation, gross indecency between a man and a women, gross indecency between and man and a man, gross indecency between and women and a women, etc. Other than Sodomy, none of the others are exactly defined. It operates on the “I know it when I see it” interpretation. Be afraid. Be very afraid should law enforcement define your act as “lewd” or “lascivious”.

Alan J. Sanders did a great job in a recent article on the subject of Shame. There are ways of dealing with behaviors you deem unacceptable that don’t involve law enforcement. Feel free to shame your neighbor who has nightly visitors, but don’t send him to jail over it. Remember, if you can put on your grown up pants and tolerate a behavior you disapprove of, your neighbor may do the same of yours. We can all live a lot more free.

Tolerance.

Tolerance.

Tolerance.

Tolerance.

But a national debate was raging this week over a sexually charged issue and there was a great lack of tolerance. This one went deeper than just the act of petting and the physical side of things. This involved whether or not same-sex marriages should be legal. Here we have another consensual behavior being impeded by government.

On March 26 and 27, the Supreme Court of the United States took up the subject of same-sex marriage. From discussions of California’s Prop 8 to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), SCOTUS had to actually hear arguments on whether or not gays and lesbians could marry. The answer to this seemed so obvious that on the first day of hearings, I took out a pad and pen and went to town for an hour. But I couldn’t believe I actually had to write out a defense in favor of it. I now know what it was like for abolitionists in 1860, or a fighter for the allowance of black/white marriage in the 1960s (odd we get stupid every hundred years, and in the 60s – coincidence? Another article perhaps. One for the Skeptical Inquirer). But after several starts, stops and head shakes and deep sighs, I erased everything and typed one word: “Yes”. I think it was my best piece to date.

What gay and lesbian couples want is to have the same one-thousand-plus benefits married couples have – property rights, legal rights, insurance, right to pensions, etc. Jeff Rhodes noted some of the benefits they already have. (And I must say, isn’t it nice to see, as he said, “Gay couples in committed, permanent relationships have become widely accepted in the public eye, in the media, and in the hearts and minds of many, if not most, Americans.” That says a lot about how change can come without government). But special treatment is given towards those listed as “married” which, to date, can only be One Man, One Women. Rhodes notes you can Will an estate to anyone but that means doing so ahead of time. An untimely death without the net in place does not auto-default to the partner as it does in a heterosexual marriage. Also, when filling out taxes, there’s only an entry for married or single. If you can’t say you’re “married”, you don’t get the government benefits. The current system is more akin to a separate black and white drinking fountain. Looks equal but it ain’t.

The definition of marriage is the issue. If gay and lesbian couples could call their relationships “marriages”, they’d get government goodies. And I think it’s more the cake and cookies than actually giving a damn about a term. But let’s roll with it anyhow for shits and grins.

There are those on one side saying that the term should remain defined for One Man, One Woman because it’s a tradition and that same-sex marriage should be called something else. Civil Unions, or something will satisfy them. But I don’t think those saying such have looked into this very well. Since it’s the Judeo-Christian group that seems the most opposed to changing the definition, I wonder, do they know it’s already been done?

The great Norweigen, Annette Davis, reminded me that we’ve already re-defined the term marriage. The Religious-Right says, “One Man. One Woman” But they must be quoting some other manuscript because the Bible is more like, “One Man. Many Women.” King David had many. Abraham had his share. And King Solomon had seven-hundred! God was cool with it. And the women here were referred to as wives. That, is Biblical marriage. Even outside the Bible, polygamy was widely practiced. Mormons are the only ones doing it Biblically correct.

So the Judeao-Christians have already re-defined it by making marriage a monogamous relationship. It seems to me that the only argument left is that the Bible specifically makes it a no-no to even have sexual relations with the same sex. Here’s the kicker: The Bible is  not in any way a guide book to American government. In the Treaty of Tripoli, signed by John Adams, it is written: “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…”

The final argument against same-sex marriage is that if we change the definition to allow this, perhaps men will one day marry their Corvettes. Well if you’re afraid of that (and really, in the end, what would it matter to me anyhow?) define marriage as between Homo-Homo-Sapiens. There. Done.

If the government wasn’t handing out special benefits to a special arrangement of people, we might not be having this discussion. Step One is to get government entirely out of this. Let free people define their own relationships among each other. End government benefits for every consenting, adult relationship. Everyone could keep their definitions of marriage.

Government benefits for special groups cause war between the sides. Affirmative Action divides White against Black. Tax breaks for those with children irks those without. Benefits for a businesses with a “green” heating system pits them against businesses that can’t afford it.

A solution to ending government benefits and meddling in consensual behaviors could be to reduce political positions to part-time. This would force them to hold real jobs, live in real neighborhoods, see and meet real neighbors (real people) and live under the laws they write. Then, perhaps, they could meet once a year to discuss real issues facing the country. There wouldn’t be any time for lobbies to grind them over until they role over.

I would have been more fulfilled, making Christmas cards with the mentally ill, then having to write these words today. But leave Morrissey alone. Butt out of the sex-lives of everyone over the age of eighteen. Leave gay and lesbian couples alone and let them marry. Let the word marriage evolve and change. It’s been done before and the world keeps spinning.

POST SCRIPT

A friend of mine showed concern that the Catholic Church would have to recognize these marriages, and perhaps, perform them if this definition was changed. I pointed out that the government could easily now force women to be priests. Allowing same-sex marriages isn’t going to change the fact that government has the power to pick and choose how peaceful people assemble and associate. We’re dealing with the same problem. Government approves some relations, denies others.

Harry Browne wrote an excellent article discussing such things. I direct you to it for further reading on how even the best of intentions go wrong in government hands.

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