Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Because I like positive thinking better than negative, I would like to start with something positive about President George W. Bush... Someday that might be possible-- but not this day. I could lay out a string of policy choices I disagree with him on but will stick to the one this week where he announced his intention to press for passage of a Constitutional amendment to ban states from allowing gay marriage.

Of course, this has nothing to do with his fall in the polls. Bush doesn't care about things like polls. He's a man of honor-- everybody knows that. Well 30% of the people in this country still believe it, and the rest might be convinced again by some quick foot work, a little swift-boating if needed. It's not that he and his people enjoy playing dirty. They are Christians after all. It's just sometimes, for the higher good, one has to accuse a war hero of being a traitor to his country or a coward. If it works, it must mean god blessed it, right?

It's not surprising he and his handlers would think gay marriage would once again be the way to turn things around for him. When he ran against John Kerry, that was a factor in the narrow win-- no matter what Republican strategists want to admit. People went into a tizzy in one state after another at the sight of two men on a courthouse step kissing, two women plighting their troth.

It's not like this was an issue that only appealed to the religious right. There is apparently something threatening to a lot of people about gay marriage. Here in Oregon, where we used to have a live and let live attitude, the ban on gay marriage was voted into the Oregon Constitution in 2004 by around 60% of the voters. It blew me away but there it was.

So now, when in trouble with popularity (which of course he doesn't care that he is) and with an important mid-term election coming up (which he does admit to caring about), out comes the gay marriage ban.

It's not enough to let states individually decide this. States can't be trusted to do the right thing. The anti-gay marriage contingent already know some states haven't been wise. Although they do have the satisfaction of waiting patiently for a hurricane or tsunami to punish the errant ones. Which, as an aside, seems a bit ironic that Pat Robertson said God told him a tsunami might hit Oregon this summer. I mean Oregon did the right thing and banned those gays from marrying. How could God forget so quickly? Or is that because Oregon is allowing dying people to choose their own time and method for death?

For Christians, at least those who don't pay too much attention to what Jesus actually said about gays (answer: nothing), this is a hot button issue. The cry is we must prevent homosexuals from being married as it will ruin marriage for everybody else-- not to mention risking having ourselves turned into salt pillars. The issue doesn't hurt fund raising for James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and their ilk either.

Is there any logic to the idea that homosexual marriage will somehow hurt heterosexuals? It's not like homosexuality is catching. To see a happy homosexual couple down the street, raising kids like everybody else, how is that threatening to you or me?

How can Bush not sink into the ground with embarrassment (I know after 6 years seeing him in action that is a rhetorical and dumb question)? But come on, given all the important issues facing this country, and he is out there promoting this one! It's as bad as Hillary with her proposal to ban flag burning-- say what!?!

To me, pagan Christian that I am, we should be encouraging gay marriage as a way to give homosexuals a way to live their lives with normalcy. Whether marriage makes anyone else happier is something for them to decide, not someone else for them. It makes no sense to try and force people to live phony lives, marrying sometimes and ending up with divorces, running around from partner to partner, or even living celibately to satisfy some misconstrued sense of what is normal. If people are born desiring their own sex, and many say they were, that's what is normal for them. I do not desire men because I chose it. It is simply what appealed to me from an early age-- not saying how early.

And for all you who love Bush and everything he does, hopefully you are at least aware of the hypocrisy in his latest foray into invading the rights of adults to live their lives in ways that harm no one else. Maybe you can be embarrassed for him since he appears to not know how.

When it was originally said Bush would be giving his news conference regarding his support for the gay marriage ban in the Rose Garden (which he didn't end up using), I thought -- perfect, I'll use photos of roses to illustrate my opinion that love is love regardless of the sex of the partners.

Roses are a beautiful symbol for love-- the purity of the colors, the delicacy of the petals, the wonderful fragrance, even the thorns. Each rose blossom only lasts for a bit and then is gone, but even the dried blossoms can carry the feeling of what the rose once was. Roses can be wild or very refined. Some have ancient histories and stories that go with them. Roses don't come in one color or even shape. Nobody expects them to.

(These are roses from my garden and up the gravel road along the fenceline. Photos taken June 5)


Dick said...

Well, that is probably a big can of worms that you are opening with this one. I think it is mostly a matter of semantics. "Marriage" is a church term and it's definition should be left to churches, not the State (notice I said State, not the Republic.)

What the State does is create a legal union between two persons, kind of a form of a corporation, where you have created a new whole out of it's parts. There are legal definations about this relationship and also legal requirements relating to ending it. I see no reason why this couldn't apply to same sex partners as well as a man & a woman. It would have the same "problems" of "divorce" for same sex unions as exist now for husband & wife. It would also have the same benefits.

Perhaps we should change the wording on the certificate issued by the State to fit this defination and let the Church issue it's own "Marriage Certificate" to those couples who have met their defination of a "Marriage." Thus, if a man & woman are joined by a Justice of the Peace in a Civil Ceremony, they, too, are issued a "Civil Union" certificate. That would be a real seperation of Church and Caesar (the State) on this issue.

No way does this issue belong in the Constitution of the United States! It is a Church issue and there is supposed to be a seperation between these two. If my proposed changes are not adopted it should at least be a State issue, not a Federal one. But I think that church and state should be seperate at the State level, too. Does any of this make sense to anyone else but me?

Rain said...

You not only made sense, but I agree with you, Dick. It's what I believe also, call them all civil unions on the legal side. I'd never believe anyone should force a pastor to marry someone they felt was in sin. Many won't marry couples living together. Let state stick to the legal ramifications and churches sort out moral ones to suit their own doctrine. I think you are right for how to deal with it, but it's too sensible and would take away the hot button issue for both sides. They all like something they can use to rally their people.

Ingineer66 said...

I think you nailed this one Dick. I have no problem with same sex couples getting all the legal benifits of being married, but I dont think I want to officially call it a marriage. Civil union sounds fine. Many people think I am just playing with words on this one but thats how I feel.
A marriage is what 2 people make it and now that I am divorced from a cheating wife, my gay ex brother in law has the longest running relationship in his entire family including their parents. So maybe we should let them get married, hell 50% of straight marriages end in divorce so apparently it doesnt mean a lot to most people.
Anyway enough rambling. You are right on it should not be in the constitution or even be a federal issue.

BobW said...

The problem is that most statutes, whether state or federal, do not refer to "contracts" or "civil union" but use terms like "marriage" and "married persons." "Marriage" and such words carry an emotional baggage with them, and it's questionable that many on both sides of this issue can really appreciate that what means one thing in Caesar's realm means another in Christ's.
On one hand are those who would get every civil right they say they want under a civil union law but who insist that they be "married," (otherwise they are still victims of "discrimination); and on the other those religious who think it's Caesar's job to get people to heaven.
Frankly, that marriage remains as strong as it does after thirty years of no-fault divorce leads this Christian not to worry whether it's civil status, under any name, is extended to same-sex partners. If no-fault didn't kill it, same-sex ain't gonna. In the long run it's the two partners; not the courts, the various legislatures or even the electorate; who determine whether a marriage (by whatever name) lasts.

Rain said...

BobW, were you against no fault divorce? Wanting someone to have to nail another with adultery or some religious reason for the divorce???

Jude said...

Hi Rain, I'm Jude. Dick sent me here, as he just read my blog post tonight on this very subject.

I'm a straight married Canadian female. I side with you on this subject, right down to "love is love regardless of the sex of the partners", and I am an avid believer in gay rights.

Great post, great thoughts, great comments. Thank you. It is always so refreshing to know that there are many like myself who believe in humanity as a whole, not just the ones who are white, or Christian, or heterosexual.

Rain said...

hi Jude, welcome and thank you Dick for sending out the link to here for her. Comments (disagreement or agreement) are always great, the icing on the cake for any writer, I think :)

BobW said...

I do not like legal reforms which throw out the baby with the bathwater. In fact, by the time no-fault came in, even New York had done away with adultery-only. Many, perhaps most states included "incompatability," which to my mind covers no-fault.

No-fault makes firing one's wife hardly more difficult than firing one's maid. One party simply asserts that there are "irreconcilable differences" which have led to an "irretrievable breakdown," and need one bring forth one fact as proof. The other has no way to assert that the differences can be reconciled and the breakdown retrieved. (And my own experience is the strongest, most loving couples do this more than once in the course of wedded life.)

The stated purpose of no-fault was to eliminate the acrimony and emotional baggage of divorce. I see no real evidence that it has done so. We did well to do away with gumshoes and bust-ins; but we hardly "defend marriage" by turning judges into clerks wielding rubber stamps.

Rain said...

Bobw... We will have to agree to disagree on this one and big time! You folks (am assuming you are on the right politically from your other posts) are always trying to blame the courts for overstepping and yet here, you'd like to allow a judge to say-- no, you two should stay married because one of you doesn't want a divorce; or because that day the judge sympathized more with one than with the other; or maybe the judge was a Christian who didn't believe in divorce at all?

It's 'no fault' because it's hard to define fault when a couple get divorced. Even things like adultery are not always clearly one person's fault; who knows the why of such? Or whether one got away with it and the other didn't? To me the fact that one partner was an adulterer or abusive is not the business of the community, and is not going to make any children happier to have dragged out for all their friends to know. That's a lot of why 'no fault.'

Incompatibility as a reason is as meaningless in the end and a lie in some cases. I don't even like the term 'no fault.' Sure it might be someone's fault but is that for the state to decide? I would let people end marriages when one wants that enough to do so. Just as it takes two people to start a marriage-- it should take two to stay with it. I don't see marriage as bondage but as a contract between two people and sometimes they both no longer want to maintain it. It's not up to the state to decide that. If God considers that a sin, it's up to God and the people to deal with that-- again, not the state.

Yes, it's sad when wants out and the other does not and maybe unfair-- but that's life. And these days, it's as often the woman wanting out as the man...

goldenlucyd said...

Rain Dear,
Thanks for visiting me yesterday. It means a lot to the old girl! I'd love to comment on these comments but I need to keep my heartrate down. Just mentioning Dubya has already sent it soaring so I'll close for now. Have a lovely day in anycase.

Ingineer66 said...

boy there is so much to say here. I have had the term "no fault" thrown in my face so many times in the last 8 months. It has come out that my ex had slept with many of her co-workers and for quite some time. Now she feels that she deserves half my retirement and tells me I shouldnt have got married in California if I dont like it. Funny how she felt like it wasnt really a marriage when it came down to sleeping around but now that money is involved we have to go by the letter of the law. What a bunch of BS. Dont get me wrong, stay at home moms deserve to not be left out in the cold during a divorce but she makes almost as much as I do and could make more but chooses to work part time so she can play more. She has her own retirement and has bought her own house from me cashing her out of the family home where our son and I now live. It seems that most people I talk with would be happy with what they had and figure they did ok if they would have been the cheating one, but not her she wants all she can get.

Winston said...

Well thought out and written post, Rain. I agree with all you said and the way you said it. It is such a sad commentary on the devolving state of the Union that a president, even one like Bush who is nothing but a sick caricature making a mockery of the office he was selected to, has to stoop to such obvious underhanded tactics in a dying attempt to reverse the trend of the polls. May his downwaard slide continue unabated. I do wish him a soft landing, since otherwise would damage the country even more than he already has.

Rain said...

ingineer, that's not the problem of whether one calls it adultery (with a big A branded on someone's forehead) as a reason or no fault; that's about support laws-- the business contract end of marriage which is really what the state's end is all about.

Support and division laws vary from state to state and can be changed if enough people agree. If she gets half your pension, why don't you get half of hers? Not all states are the same about this.

I have a friend in Arizona and her husband ended up with the daughter because the daughter chose to live with him. The husband went to court to get support from the mother who doesn't work as much as she could either. The court said she was making a choice and demanded she take other types of work (which she had to do). If your son chooses you for custody, you might see what your state's laws are regarding that. Don't just count on what the lawyer says, they often take the easy path, do some research.

RavenGrrl said...

thanks for bringing this subject up, Rain. I side with you on the issue of gay marriage/civil unions/ whatever they are named. But, like someone else said, just the mention of GW Bush gets me so angry I have to refrain from commenting further. I might blow my top. I'm glad you can stay calm and level headed enough to comment with intelligence, which is more than I can say for the subject of your post (GW)