Ask Michael: Ridiculous fears about Gay marriage
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Ask Michael: Ridiculous fears about Gay marriage
by Michael Raitt - SGN Contributing Writer

A few people have asked me how I feel about Gay marriage. In light of Proposition 8 and recent opinions that have been printed in the UW Daily, I'd like to share my thoughts about the issue of Gay marriage.

First, the majority of arguments against Gay marriage are based on the speculation that by allowing Gay/Lesbian men and women to marry, the gates of depravity would swing wide open and society would be flooded with sexual perversion. There is an unmistakable message insinuated in this argument; it is the idea that Gay men/women are sexual perverts and/or there are sexual deviants in the Gay/Lesbian community who will prey upon everyone and force their sexual perversions upon the general public.

Anti-Gay marriage proponents point towards pedophiles, rapists, polygamists, and people who are engaged in bestiality in an attempt to reason that if we let Gay marriage happen - one form of perversion - we will have to embrace all of these other forms of sexual deviance and, therefore, society will collapse.

Let me use that same reasoning to argue a ban on all marriage. It is a fact that the vast majority of sexual psychopaths - sexual serial killers, serial rapists, rapists, pedophiles - are straight. Do the research yourself! Using the same logic and argument; because there are members of a part of society that engage in deviant sexual behaviors (these straight sexual psychopaths), all members of that segment of society (straight men and women) should be banned from marriage so that no sexual perversions occur! I can hardly wait until I get all the supportive e-mails that I am going to receive from all of the straight religious leaders who support my argument.

My argument, obviously, is ridiculous and flawed for a number of good reasons. This same argument that is being used to deny Gay/Lesbian men and women the right to marry and is just as ridiculous and flawed when it is linked to the sexual perversions of certain individuals. I'd like to see any of these anti-Gay proponents put up a cogent, strong argument against Gay marriage without insinuating it with sexual perversion - I doubt that they can.

Unequivocally, there are sexual psychopaths in every segment of society. Yes, there are Gay pedophiles, rapists, and sexual serial killers. In my opinion, these criminals should receive no leniency and should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law! They wreak havoc and commit heinous crimes which result in untold pain and suffering. However, their depravity cannot be used vilify and deny the remaining Gay/Lesbian, law-abiding, tax paying citizens the legal right to marry. This is where the issues of equality/inequality come in.

People have the right to speak their opinion even if it is shortsighted, ignorant, and fueled by fear. I am reminded of the following quote, "Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." No truer words were spoken!

Human beings - regardless of religious affiliation, social or economic status, or sexual orientation - have a natural propensity to forge social, emotional, and economic bonds. Religious and social institutions and movements have been created to satisfy this tendency towards bonding. We've been doing this from the beginning of time. This is true whether you count the beginning of time as Adam and Eve in Genesis or whether you think time began when we fell out of the trees and stood upright.

When these bonds are nurtured and strengthened between two, they benefit the family. A bonded, strong family strengthens the neighborhood. A strong neighborhood supports a healthy community which, in turn, makes for a powerful country and society.

Socially, emotionally, and economically, we are a formidable community and a necessary part of our society. We contribute through our intellect, life experiences, and, for many, our spiritual practices. We influence and touch the people who are in our lives and, likewise, are touched deeply by those who love and support us. We contribute billions of dollars to the economy nationally and internationally. Marriage is a legal representation of the bonds within our community. This legal standing will allow us to be recognized as the equals we are and for the contributions we make, and not as the second-class, sub-human perverts some portray us to be. Marriage will only work to strengthen the Gay/Lesbian community and, therefore, society as a whole. It is another piece of recognition of the important role we have in our culture.

When fear, violence, and ignorance are hurled our way in an attempt to intimidate us or deprive us of our rights, we must channel our emotional reactions towards fact, reason, and economic impact. We must continue to stand in our pride and be open to participating in respectful, thoughtful, educated discourse. As a community, we must continue to emphasize our contributions in the advancement of our society. Our thoughts and actions must continue to reflect our pride and health. We need to continue to draw upon the love and support of our straight family and friends. We are not emotionally disturbed! We are strong and have the right to benefit socially and emotionally from the same legal rights as our straight relatives and friends. We deserve to take our place as equals because of the positive impact we have in our society - we are equal.

The evolution of the human race has been dependent upon societies being open to possibilities and cultures being able to step through their fear in order to change when it is time to do so. Cultures have been damaged and hindered when they have been stuck in fear or been content with staying comfortable. Fear is powerful, yet it is not necessary at this time or for this issue.

Let us have thoughtful, educated, fact-based discourse and step through our irrational fear around Gay marriage. The time is now.

Michael Raitt, MA LMHC, is a therapist and a contributing writer to the SGN. He writes a bi-monthly column in the SGN. If you would like to comment on this column, ask a question you'd like him to write about, or suggest another topic of interest, please contact him at .