I feel like I’ve done a darn good job of avoiding the typical run-up-to-the-elections-political-bullshit that happens every election year the weeks (and even months) before the elections. I don’t have a television, so I don’t see those repetitive advertisements during commercial breaks. There’s plenty of things to read on the internet other than politics. And until recently I avoided most of the political chatter on radio shows.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to be voting, and I consider myself an informed voter, but rather than following what in my opinion resembles a circus more than politics, I read up on the issues in a few editorials, talked with friends whose opinions I respect and then did a pretty good job of shutting it all out.
That all changed recently when my favorite radio show, KPBS’s These Days (affectionately referred to as “The Tom Fudge Show” around here) started talking politics nearly every segment sometime last week. I started getting annoyed, but kept listening, at least while in the car, segments that I missed when they originally aired I would just delete from the podcast before listening to them.
One segment I did listen to was the debate over Proposition 8, the measure to define marriage in the state constitution as only between a man and a woman. I’ve known how I was going to vote on this since the moment I heard about it. So I started listening to the debate knowing that nothing either side said could sway my opinion, I just wanted to hear what they were saying.
I was half listening when Ron Prentice, (the yes on prop 8, meaning anti-gay marriage) guest on the show, President of the California Family Council and chairman of the Protect Marriage dot-com Coalition said something that totally caught me off guard. As is often the case in these loosely moderated debates they got slightly off topic and started talking about children growing up with gay or lesbian parents, then Ron said:
“I think it would be beneficial to say, lets go back to the reasons that governments and societies over the course of ages have chosen to give a special right to a man and a woman in marriage. And that purpose is not for two people in love, that purpose has been for societies sake for the next generation.”
I couldn’t believe what I just heard. Is this guy arguing marriage isn’t about love but about a duty to society and the next generation? Sure, I understand the societal aspect of marriage. But to me marriage always seemed like something a lot more than that duty to society. I have to wonder, what is the role of marriage in society when the divorce rate is somewhere around 40 percent?
If I felt like that were the purpose of marriage, I would unequivocally say right now that there is now way in hell I’d ever get married. And I would wonder why anyone would want to get married under that definition. That definition seems to lack authenticity, to betray oneself and ones partner, even if the two people getting married are in love, their marriage should be about their love, not for societies sake.
You can listen to the segment on These Days at their website.