The Government and Human Nature
The passage of the equal marriage law in New York this past Friday was a great day for the US, and it is exciting to see so many more Americans living with the right to marry, regardless of orientation. My enthusiasm for New York’s wonderful change is about as high as can be from a straight, married man living in St. Paul. That said, I wasn’t going to write about the NY gay marriage law here because there are others who have more intimate stories and better voices with which to celebrate this. I have decided rather to write a little about our government.
Today, after a convoluted series of linking from blog to story, I ended up reading an editorial in the USA Today by Maggie Gallagheris, who is the chairman of the board for the National Organization for Marriage. Obviously we are not going to see eye-to-eye, so I read her piece not planning to much engage in her argument, or at least, not planning to allow it to affect me. But it did anyways, when she said this:
Gay marriage is not an increase in liberty; it is a government takeover of an institution that government did not create and should not redefine. When the government endorses a lie about human nature, there will be consequences.
I don’t like this. I don’t like Ms. Gallagheris determining what is human nature nor what government should or should not do. Any good civics student knows that government does not make determinations about human nature (nor should anyone else, or any religion, or culture), nor does government endorse or oppose lies, or truths, about human nature. Government does operate within it, and tries to do its best to seek justice in society. Those societies, by the way, tend not to agree on what justice looks like, or what human nature is, or even the idea that there is a single thing that can be called human nature and defined, and thus lied about.
The government, especially the US gov’t, is not an arbiter of authority cramming “false equality” down the throats of unassuming Americans who are just hoping to avoid contact with the homosexuals. Instead, the government is quite literally the American people, and the people do the best we can, understanding the world the best we can from our limited perspective. Unfortunately, that means we don’t have the ultimate knowlegdes of human nature. For most, it means that if we see what looks like inequality, we try to fix it. And that means marriage equality.