Herald Journal Columns
April 3, 2006, Herald Journal

Sorry to bring this up, but...

By LIZ HELLMANN
Our nation is in the middle of a battle where both picket-trotting and sign-waving enthusiasts are equally passionate about their views.

However, some of their arguments are about as dense as the cardboard signs they carry. And no matter how twisted and faulty their logic, they cling to it with reverent fervor.

I’m speaking, of course, about the controversy between legalizing polygamy and the woman’s right to vote.

If you are confused, join the club.

Those two subjects were the focus of a recent editorial in the Star Tribune, which was, in fact, addressing neither of those issues. It was speaking to the gay marriage debate.

If you are about as sick of this topic as I am, you’ve probably begun taking dopamine daily to protect against the spin accompanying arguments on both sides.

I just about got seasick reading the Star Tribune article.

Sadly, it demonstrates the whole problem with this debate. Both sides are so busy spinning their wheels, all they are accomplishing is slinging mud on the issue.

Does this sound familiar?

In one breath, the columnist chastised Senator Michele Bachmann for opposing gay marriage.

Didn’t she know that expansion of rights can only be a good thing?

The columnist was lambasted that she, a woman, of all people, would challenge granting new rights to a group.

Why, little miss Bachmann would have never even been able to vote or complete her law degree had the women’s rights movement been stifled.

Returning to the subject, he speaks of Bachmann’s belief to let the people decide what should be legalized when it comes to marriage.

Bachmann believes that if the people want to legalize gay marriage, fine. She goes on to include the legalizing of polygamy, if that is what people want.

The columnist is shocked. Where did polygamy come from?

(Not the actual practice, but its place in the gay marriage debate.)

I’m guessing the issue of polygamy took a ride into the conversation on the coattails of the columnist’s women’s rights spiel. In this case, both are residents of inconsequentialville.

We cannot grant rights to every person or group who requests them, based solely on the example of women’s rights being a positive step for our country.

Likewise, just because some fear granting gay marriage is a slippery slope – where polygamy and beastiality will be next – the possibility of future issues is not a reason to disapprove a current issue.

That current issue is this; should gay marriage be legalized?

Don’t get your dopamine out just yet, I promise not to spin you in circles.

There are generally three ways to look at it:

1) Are the mean, Bible-thumping Christians forcing their beliefs unfairly on a sect of the population who have chosen a different sexual orientation than Adam and Eve?

(After all, if they were gay, maybe we wouldn’t be in this mess, because we wouldn’t be here at all.)

Should religious views have a place in the law-making process?

2) Are gay people threatening the sanctity of the family? Can children be raised properly without a mom or dad? Once people get to have a partner of the same sex, legally, will they want eight or nine of them?

3) Just pass the stupid thing so we can all get on with our lives.

Let’s clear up the misconceptions that (I hope) appear glaringly obvious in these three views, but I guess if they were, I wouldn’t have to be writing this.

While I cannot speak for all Christians, I am one, myself, and would like to explain the lens through which we view this issue (ah, a quiz to see who of you paid attention to my column last week. Thank you, both of you).

Being gay is a sin. Just like swearing, drinking, lying, stealing, and cheating are sins.

I do not want to beat up gay people. I do not want to be mean to them. We are to love all people in Christian love, including the gay people.

I am not a homophobe. Go ahead, walk up to me if you are gay, I will not run away screaming, shouting curses from heaven on you.

I sin, (shocking, I know), and so do all of my friends. I do not like them any less. It is the sin that is bad, not the person.

If you don’t think being gay is a sin, I would be glad to show you why I think so.

On that note, should my views, which stem from my Christian lens, be forced on others who do not share them?

If it was up to me, I would vote against gay marriage.

But if the state allows it, so be it.

Would that end the sanctity of marriage? Would it make worthless the vows of married people who firmly denounce gay marriage?

Of course not.

This law would grant legal rights to two partners based on the fact they have chosen to live their lives together. It’s a legal marriage.

I, and other Christians who might be worried about this law decreasing their marital value, need to take a look at where that value comes from.

In less than three months, I will stand before God, to be united in a lifelong union with my husband-to-be.

It is nice to know our partnership will be recognized legally by the government.

For Christians, it is not the signing of the certificate that officially declares our marriage, it is just another governmental form.

It is the promise that we make before God, who blesses it.

That is what seals the deal for me.

As for the possibility of gay marriage ruining the home and confusing children, that is not a problem fixable by the government.

Given the 50 percent divorce rate in our country, I’d say straight people aren’t making such a good go at keeping the family unit intact, either.

Again, the answer lies in people taking responsibility, not the government stepping in to make another law.

If you feel gay marriage is wrong, don’t hoist a cardboard sign in someone’s face.

Go up and talk to them, explain your point of view in a loving way, and listen to them. You don’t have to agree, but you do need to listen if you expect the same from them.

Supporting or opposing gay marriage is a matter of choice.

So is whether you will present your arguments like a bone-head, using slippery slopes until the issue is as clear as a smokescreen, or actually thoughtfully and respectfully consider other people’s points of view.

If you fit in the third category and don’t care, I’m sure you’ve stopped reading by now. I’m tempted to envy your apathy, but for now, I’ll keep taking my dopamine.


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