By Ben Hoffman
Let me tell you a story about a man named Jim-Bob Cornball. Now Jim-Bob, or just plain ol’ Jimmy as the yokels down home prefer to call him, had two favorite hobbies: polishing his sleek phallic .12 gauge masterpiece, and reading the bible. His favorite book was Leviticus, in particular the verse 18:22:”You shall not lay with a man as you lay with a woman; It is an abomination.”
You see, ol’ Jimmy was terribly afraid of gays. It didn’t matter that most of the book of Leviticus was devoted to proper methods of slaughtering animals in the name of God, he subscribed to the most literal interpretation possible of that one verse. I mean, gays are gross, right? Certainly, they shouldn’t be allowed to encroach on the sanctity of marriage as it is defined in the good book.
This was all particularly ironic, because ol’ Jimmy was divorced from his bitch of a wife; they didn’t really get along very well. What’s that, Mark 10:9? “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate?” Hmm, well that certainly is something to ponder.
Ol’ Jimmy is a fiction, a horribly ignorant archetype, but the irony is real. Last week, amidst an ad campaign aimed to rally people against gay marriage, Conservative leader Stephen Harper claimed that allowing gay marriages would eventually lead to legislation accepting polygamy. Problem is, polygamy isn’t strictly prohibited in the Bible.
So there you have it, definitive proof from the right that the issue of gay marriage isn’t about religion (or if it is, that they are being hypocrites about it).
This comes in a time of much political unrest, with both Harper and Liberal leader Paul Martin making claims and campaigns that even their own MPs don’t support. They have been egging each other on for a couple of weeks–Martin claiming he would carry the issue to election, Harper releasing views some of his subordinates feel are intolerant.
Is it really such a big deal to change the words “gay civil union” to “gay marriage”? The argument comes down to the semantics of word choice: there is no legal difference as it stands between the civil union recognized currently and the proposed marriage. The difference is entirely embedded in religious connotative values, values that Harper has effectively written off by his equation of gay marriage and polygamy.
The meaning of a word is inextricably linked to its evolution through cultural usage. The word “marriage” has historically been tied to the concepts of love and religion. If those against gay marriage are willing to foolishly write off the religious aspects of the word as Harper did, then arguments against gay marriage are arguments marginalizing gay love, love that is both real and consensual.
If the right ever want to purge themselves of the image of hypocrisy or stupidity, the image of ol’ Jimmy Cornball, they should trade blunderers like Stephen Harper for people that don’t fuck up arguments in such asinine ways.