This Post is, like, Totally Gay

After reading Max Gordon’s piece at Democratic Underground and Christopher Rice’s column in The Advocate (via AMERICAblog), I happened to be watching an old episode of Six Feet Under, where one of the characters, David, is wracked with confusion about his own homosexuality. He’s haunted by a young man who was the victim of a hate crime, killed simply because he was gay. In an effective sequence used to recreate the ongoing debate about homosexuality, he argues with the specter of the young man, who tells him that men like them should be able to overcome the urges handed to them by a testing God.

This is the position that is advocated by many Christians, particularly the hate-the-sin-love-the-sinner variety: homosexual acts are sinful, and the desire to engage in them is a test issued by God. It is up to the homosexual to resist these temptations to live a righteous life. The oft-cited reference evoked to make homosexuals feel as if they are not alone in such a struggle is alcoholism; just as alcoholics must reject the urge for another drink, so gays must reject impulses to have sex with a person of the same gender.

There are several problems with this analogy. First of all, alcoholism is considered a disease, so the comparison is offensive right out of the box. But the main issue with the argument is that it compares action to action (sex to taking a drink), ignoring all other components of homosexual relationships. The allusion to urges suggests compulsion, which may be appropriate in discussing an action (sex), as all humans find themselves so compelled from time to time, but is entirely inappropriate when discussing love.

One might successfully argue that falling in love is in fact an action, but rarely does anyone suffer from a compulsion to fall in love, and even more rarely to stay in love.

Love, of course, is one of those ethereally indefinable notions, that you can really only recognize once you’re in it, and even then its true nature can remain frustratingly elusive. It is ever-changing, as those who are bonded by it are, too, ever-changing; poor Cupid’s mark is a moving target, rendering a singular definition unattainable. And so it is that we have decided to leave its meaning to those in its capture, with each couple living its own version of the thing we call love.

The Christian celebration of love is called marriage, and it is considered sacred. It is the regard for this practice as sacred that informs their argument against gay marriage. Gay marriage, it is said, would undermine the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman. What do they mean, exactly, when they refer to the sanctity of matrimony? Well, sanctity is defined thusly:

1. Holiness of life or disposition; saintliness.
2. The quality or condition of being considered sacred; inviolability.
3. Something considered sacred.

Marriage then, the celebration of a love between two people, is recognized as holy, or having been sanctified by God. I trust you will find few Christians who dispute that the love between a married man and woman is anything but a gift from God.

Which necessarily begs a few questions.

If the love shared by a man and a woman is considered consecrated by God, why not the love shared between two men or two women? I imagine the argument would be something similar to the one outlined above, that if a person feels that particular brand of love for someone of the same sex, it is merely a test issued by God and must be resisted. But if the love between two people, honored by Christians through the marriage ceremony, is sacred, why would God grant something sacred to someone with its express purpose being to exist as an urge to be refuted? Doesn’t it seem particularly cruel that God, whose love, Christians say, is supposed to be our salvation, would create a love within someone if it’s only meant to be ignored?

I imagine then the argument would be that the love issued as a test is not real; God would only give such a love to a man and a women. So then only one question remains. If that were true, if God would place a false love in the heart of a person—equal in strength and intensity to that of a married man or woman, but lacking in the sanctity, instead just an approximation of sacredness, a ruse so cleverly disguised as truth that its dupes cannot discern its artifice—doesn’t the existence of such counterfeit love undermine the sanctity of real love more than homosexual marriage itself ever would?

I find it astounding that (some) Christians would rather believe that God delivers a mock version of eternal love to homosexuals than to acknowledge that love between two men or two women is just as authentic as their own. And yet, there it is. Isn’t that what they mean when they call a homosexual relationship “unnatural”? Not of nature, not of this earth, certainly not of God. Of whom, then?

The Devil? Well, if the Devil’s going around issuing unnatural impulses masquerading so convincingly as love that it fools those subjected to it and those who bear witness to it, then how can anyone be sure they haven’t fallen victim to his folly? No, the only work of the Devil here is that the debate about gay marriage remains in the realm of who someone fucks and how they fuck them, down to urges. But marriage isn’t about getting off, getting laid. It’s about love (or it should be). So let’s talk more about the love between two men or two women, because when you talk about love, you win.

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