The Sanctity of Nonsense

David Tveite reviews Proposition 8, the latest blockbuster from the state that brought you The Governator.

It’s been a weird, rainy November for me so far, watching this strange national drama unfold from Tacoma, Washington, where the sun never wakes up. In a presidential election that seems to have dominated the news since before I was born, Barack Obama rocked John McCain’s bonch all over the swing states. The students at my liberal arts school filed out of their dorm rooms and congealed into a crowd, swarming across campus, chanting, “Yes we can.” Bizarre scene. I went out to see what was going on because lord knows I love a good mob scene. Got a pretty decent “Wu Tang Clan ain’t nuthin’ to fuck with” chant going.

But the young lefties’ joy has since been mitigated by the news coming from Mr. Freeze’s state, California. Proposition 8 passed by a margin of about five percent and marriage is now defined as being between a man and a woman, even in San Francisco, that terrible godless village of anti-American guerilla terrorist hippie communist sodomites. In one of those special little moments of irony that only real life can give us, it was the turnout among black and hispanic voters (demographics that voted overwhelmingly in favor of Barack Obama) that tipped the scales for Prop. 8, with black voters in particular breaking at about two to one for the measure.

The people have spoken, and they don’t want gay people anywhere near their marriage (“not that there’s anything wrong with that”). I gather there’s something about it in the bible somewhere.

I’m concerned about the precedent set by a law like this. You can quote the bible and the Pope, you can find a guy who looks exactly like Jesus and have him give me a sermon, but there’s one important sentence that nullifies all of that.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”

That’s from the First Amendment. The bible may say some pretty specific things about homosexuals, but if that’s your only source you need to go back to the drawing board. We have no state religion in this country. Even if the word “God” does turn up in our documents from time to time, to assume it refers to your God seems a little presumptuous.

Anyway, if California can make a law based solely on a passage from Leviticus, then what’s next? Are we adopting the laws of the Old Testament? Will we soon be officially prohibited from shaving our sideburns? Banned from eating meat on Fridays? Legally obligated to wander beyond the city limits with a shovel every time we have to go to the bathroom?

Well interestingly enough, you don’t hear people clamoring about these kinds of things. That’s my biggest problem with the anti-gay crowd. There’s no consistency. If you can pass one law based on ancient Jewish scripture, you can pass a hundred.

The other argument against gay marriage is that it ruins “the sanctity of marriage.” Again, no consistency. If it’s illegal to disgrace marriage, why isn’t anyone legislating against adultery or divorce?

And anyway, how do you ruin the sanctity of marriage? Marriage is just a word. Saying that gay people getting married ruins the value of your own marriage is like saying that people who watch baseball wreck your enjoyment of football. I’ve got news for you: People you don’t approve of—and people worse than them—have been using the same words as you since the dawn of human civilization. If you can’t deal with that, then how small of a world do you live in?

So in the end, what does this come down to? We enforce this one law based on a bible verse, we enforce this one law to protect the sanctity of marriage, but we never go all the way with it. Why the nickel and dime stuff?

Because you’re afraid. Because you’re wound so tightly with terror that the “homosexual lifestyle” (whatever the hell that means) is going to start creeping into your daily life that you forget to think. Because the bible verse and the sanctity of marriage are only rationalizations for a prejudice you already held. You act as if homosexuality is going to spread like a disease if it isn’t swept back under the rug, as if you can keep gay people at bay by pretending they don’t exist. Congratulations on your crusade, I hope you enjoy it while it lasts.

Here’s the thing: People will continue to be gay and you will continue to know almost nothing about them. Believe me, they’re not going to invite you to their weddings.

You might think being gay is a sin, you might think it’s not right, but if you think that you are so important that everything you disagree with should be illegal, you’re taking yourself far too seriously. Gay marriage has nothing to do with you. In the words of Thomas Jefferson, it neither picks your pocket nor breaks your leg. Your sanctity of marriage is just another empty buzzword, like, oh, I don’t know, “freedom lover.”

Support the troops, fight for freedom, united we stand, and so on and so forth. Feed your idols with three-word catchphrases and worship no God higher than thyself. Above all else, keep your eyes closed and your head tilted back and protect with jealous fury the sacred illusion of your empty words. Make a stand for the sanctity of nonsense.

David C. Tveite, Esq. is an English and history student at the University of Puget Sound. His coming of age was badly stunted by Hollywood fame when he appeared at age fourteen on the hit CBS series Survivor: The Moon. He still considers himself a celebrity, and it's beginning to make his family and friends sad. He also writes A Regular Dude's World Atlas.