“Citing the House Report on DOMA from when it was being deliberated in 1996, Justice Kagan points out that its goal was “to express moral disapproval of homosexuality.” (From thedailybeast.com by Adam Winkler Mar 27, 2013)
In deconstructing this argument, I can think of two main issues that loom up. The first is the religious admonition to “judge not.” The second is the issue of displacement of our morality onto an invented god in another world.
Here’s the confusing part for me: Our moral displacement has resulted in major religions which we hold with a great deal of reverence. And then when we find it convenient, we ignore the wisdom that comes from our invented religions. We seem to want it both ways. We want to invent them, fill them with our wisdom, and ignore that wisdom when it suits our purposes.
To put a finer point on this little exposition, I’ve written about our displacement of the sacred onto an invented god with human characteristics, faults, weaknesses and all. It was titled God vs. god and my main point was that we allow a great deal of inhumanity by displacing our morality onto our invented god. (Please note: I’m not arguing for or against the existence of an ineffable real God)
In the instance of same sex marriage, a good deal of the emotional agita has to do with our schizoid morality. I call it schizoid because it describes a personality that suggests inner conflicts and exhibits outer contradictions. Can you think of better term to describe society’s response to this issue?
To wit, then President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law September 21, 1996,. Now he says he doesn’t believe it constitutional. President Obama moved from anti to pro as did Former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, within the last several months, as have other politicians.
The percentage of Americans opposed to same-sex marriage in 1996 was 68 percent, according to a Gallup Poll. The percentage of Americans opposed to same-sex marriage in 2012 was 48 percent, according to a Gallup Poll.
Wonder of all wonders, from Jeff Cook-McCormac posted on MSNBC.com , “More than fifteen million Republicans currently support the freedom to marry, while another twelve million are on their way there—backing civil unions. Together these pro-freedom Republicans comprise nearly 60% of the party.”
The good news in all this schizophrenia is the responsibility for our morality seems to be coming home. In other words, some of us think morality is made by humans and we take responsibility for it. Some of us think same sex marriage is none of our business. Some of us think our religious beliefs or non-beliefs are personal and not guidelines for others. Finally some of think we have enough trouble living up to our own standards and have no desire to tell others how to live their lives.
As to the fear that same sex marriages are going to destroy the institution of marriage, it doesn’t seem to need any help in that regard. From WBEZ.org “According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the divorce rate of first marriage is around 50 percent; second marriages are at 60 to 67 percent and third marriages are at 73 to 74 percent.”
Finally, regarding the invented god, I think Anne Lamott says it best, “You can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”