Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Defense of Marriage Act: Defending Marriage from.... UPDATE: 13 DEC 2022, DOMA REPEALED!!!

The Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA): Defending marriage from... what? The same political forces that gave us the Defense Of Marriage Act also attempted to amend the U.S. Constitution to "defend traditional marriage". During Senate hearings on the proposed Constitutional amendment, Senator Cornyn (the senior Senator from Texas and one of the leaders of the charge towards a DOMA constitutional amendment) called the anti-DOMA position "my marriage doesn't affect your marriage" a myth (scroll down the link to section titled Honesty). Interestingly, Senator Cornyn calls this a "myth" because, "...A casual attitude toward divorce and cohabitation has had serious consequences for the institution of marriage in the last 20 years. Redefining marriage in a way that reduces it to a financial and legal arrangement of adult relationships will only accelerate the deterioration of family life". (Senator Cornyn is quoting the Archbishop of Boston, Sean O'Malley.) Senator Cornyn hinges his unwavering support of DOMA on the principle that society needs stable families to raise children and without DOMA, stable families will exist in ever decreasing numbers.

Ernest Hemingway coined the phrase, "built-in automatic crap detector." Mine goes off with bells and whistles screaming as I read the reasons for support of DOMA and a DOMA Constitutional Amendment. I can not fathom on an emotional nor intellectual level how my marriage, between Alma (female) and myself (male), can be affected by anyone else's marriage. I suppose I could LET someone else's marriage affect mine. But then the responsibility would still be mine for letting the affect take place. Moreover, I would think that for an affect to take place, a predilection for the type of affect would have to be present in the first place. For instance, if I were repressing issues with my sexual orientation, then perhaps someone like Senator Larry Craig (Republican, married to a woman, three children) having sex in airport bathrooms with other men might have an adverse affect on my marriage. Or if I were simply cavalier about my marriage vows, perhaps someone like Governor Mark Sanford (Republican, married to a woman, four children) having an affair with a woman in Argentina might have an adverse affect on my marriage. However, neither of these two hypocrites, nor any of the other hypocrites of the same ilk on both sides of the political aisle, have the slightest affect on my marriage. (I use Republican examples, as that is the party beating the DOMA drum as part and parcel with their political platform.) If Alma and I were the last or only married couple on earth, I can't imagine our relationship being any different. I'm pretty sure our marriage vows did not contain the caveat, " long as there are other married couples around for you to emulate." A good thing our vows didn't contain that caveat since the divorce rate in this country has been hovering around 50% my whole life. Emulating other people in their marriages could have quite the adverse affect on our or any marriage...

I can find no statistical evidence that is contrary to the statement that children do well in stable families regardless of the sexual orientation of their parents. The key word? Stable. (There is a well-rounded, general article here from the Toronto Star on the subject and another from here.) There is paranoid ranting regarding the dangers of same-sex couples raising children, of which an example can be found here, but I can find no legitimate statistical evidence supporting that paranoia.

If DOMA supporting politicians are really interested in protecting and supporting stable marriages, why are they so fixated on the sexual orientation of other people? While I could postulate that they are repressing some degree of fear regarding their own feelings, (in the extreme of this, we have the 'Senator Larry Craig' link above), I'll save following that path for another blog post. The bottom line is that the divorce rate in this country has been hovering around 50% since the 1950's, long before Bob and Bill, and Lisa and Mary began to push for legal recognition of their relationships. If DOMA supporting politicians are REALLY interested in protecting and supporting stable marriages, I can think of a law, which if passed, would actually decrease the divorce rate in this country.

Criminalize adultery.

Of course, we would probably have to lock up most of Congress. Which explains the loud and protracted blaming of "evil, gay lifestyles" destroying family values. But to actually support a law which would reduce the actions of those people in marriage which do the most to destroy the family values and stable marriages which we need to raise stable children? To actually say that society has a vested interest in the stability of marriage and therefore if you unzip your pants or raise your skirt, society is going to punish you? Oh no, we can't have that... We'll just blame the gays.

Hypocrisy is the only sin.

Christopher Dinnes
USNS Yano, T-AKR 297
Violet, LA

P.S. For any of my poly-amorous friends and readers, don't get your dander up. I define "marriage" as a blood binding contract between spouses, given before children, family, friends, society and/or whatever one perceives God to be. The terms of any other marriage contract other than my own, are not for me to judge. I feel that I have barely enough time to dedicate to what my marriage deserves, much less to be concerned about anyone else's. Which is kind of my point. If everyone focused on their own marriages and kept their respective sexual organs where they were supposed to be, the preponderance of divorces in this country would be limited to abusive situations and the need of a DOMA would rendered moot.

Update 17 JAN 2012: I came across what I think is a great article about the suitability of gay parent.  It can be found here.

Update 13 DEC 2022:  Respect for Marriage Act, H.R. 8404 signed into law, repealing DOMA!

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