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Gay Marriage and Atheism

While there is no religion of atheism nor is there a doctrine of atheism to which all atheists need to subscribe to, many atheists have united together and formed freethought and humanistic communities which promote rational thinking, education, and reason over superstition.

Because of the emphasis on rational thought and education it is not a surprise that most of the People of Reason in these groups support gay marriage and equal rights for our friends in the gay, lesbian, and transgender communities. In fact, the only reason people seem to give against equal rights for gays seem to be religious in nature. While some religious people will try to give non-religious reasons, it quickly becomes clear from the poorness of those reasons that the real reason really is religious.

The Religious Right has made this issue one of the top issues in their Culture War, but that is not the only reason why this issue has become so important to the larger atheistic community. Our community values equality and fairness and in general we see no valid reason for restricting the rights of our homosexual friends. Such an attack on their rights and the rights of others is irrational and based solely on bronze aged mythology, fear, and ignorance.

So when I hear the Religious Right or anyone else for that matter attacking gay rights or trying to ban gays from marrying, I feel like I have to step up to the plate and defend them. So I would defend gay rights even if it weren’t part of the Culture Wars simply because it is the rational and humane thing to do. But since it is part of the Culture Wars, I am even more motivated to fight side by side with my gay friends against the attacks from the Religious Right and others.

The greater atheistic community has a lot to learn from the activism of our friends in the gay community. As our rights are constantly under attack from the Religious Right, we walk in similar paths and have to fight for our rights in much the same way. Their fight is our fight and we must stand with them and hope that when the time comes, they will return the favor.

It is also important to note that many gay people are also People of Reason. Because the Religious Right and other religious people have such big issues with homosexuality, many gay people end up leaving their religion for more secular company. Gay people are more than just friends of the greater atheistic community; many of them a part of it.

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  • Mr. X

    “So when I hear the Religious Right or anyone else for that matter attacking gay rights or trying to ban gays from marrying, I feel like I have to step up to the plate and defend them.”

    And when I hear someone label them as “deviant perverts”, I feel the need to stamp them across the forehead with my red-hot “FASCIST IDIOT” branding iron! MWA HA HA HA HAAAAaaaaa….

    Just kidding…in the future I’ll try to refrain from that kind of reflexive attack.

    I admittedly have strong personal biases when it comes to this issue. But then, I think everyone has some bias, and the correct approach is to confront it and be open about it.

    Several of my close friends (and a scattering of other acquaintances) are either homosexual, bisexual, or “suffer” from some form of unusual gender identity.

    Personally, I’ve never felt homosexual inclinations, but I have wrestled with our cultural concepts of “masculinity”; there were times when my own self-image seemed “effeminate” by comparison. But I’m sure everyone wrestles with their self-image (and cultural expectations) at some point in their lives.

    From what I’ve seen, the important thing, in life, is not to strive to conform to other people’s expectations. The right course is to seek to understand yourself, your own desires, and to fulfill them.

    The only restriction I believe in, is that one person’s freedom can’t extend to the point of harming or oppressing others; beyond that, everyone needs to throw other people’s expectations out the window, and be true to themselves. The people who can’t accept you for who you are, don’t actually CARE about YOU; they care about some constructed image of who they expect you to be.

    This is the attitude and philosophy I bring to this “Culture War.” I am an implacable opponent of tradition for its own sake; as Staks put it, “I would defend gay rights even if it weren’t part of the Culture Wars simply because it is the rational and humane thing to do.”

    Growing up, my best friend was a girl who lived down the street from me. She always had a very confident, assertive, and extroverted personality, to the point that I’m still tempted to describe it as “masculine” – but then, she was always more confident, assertive, and extroverted than anyone else I knew, male or female.

    As we entered our teens, she became very promiscuous, and eventually began to experiment in bisexuality, open relationships, and the “swinger” lifestyle. She had several steady boyfriends, but no permanent girlfriends that I was ever aware of. It seemed like she was always trying to find the right “fit” for herself.

    Last summer, I attended her wedding. She had met someone who, although physically a male, viewed himself as a female. When they met, her now-spouse already had breast implants, dressed and presented himself as a female, and went by a female name.

    At the wedding, both of them wore dresses; they were referred to in the ceremony as “bride #1″ and “bride #2.”

    My friend’s entire immediate family (both parents and three siblings) attended, along with some of our other childhood friends from our old neighborhood. There was never any question of whether or not they supported this couple or their lifestyle.

    That day still stands out as one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, one of the best events I’ve ever had the privilege of being a participant in. So when I say that life isn’t about conforming to tradition or societal expectations – but about knowing yourself, accepting yourself, and being true to yourself, regardless of other people’s judgments – I mean it, with all of my being.

    My friend, and her spouse, have had the courage to look into themselves, to know who they are who they want to be, and to truly accept both themselves and each other. As a couple, they may appear strange to outsiders; but because of their honesty, self-knowledge, and security in themselves, I believe that their marriage will outlast that of many traditional, heterosexual couples.

    • SamStaurophobia

      Wow, that story about your friend is interesting.

      I try hard to stand up for myself and my beliefs, and to stay true to myself, but like I said in another comment, it’s hard with the way my family is. My friends are openly accepting, and my sister more than anyone else in my family; in fact, she defends me sometimes when I get attackedby my father or grandmother, though she is a devout Christian herself.

      • Mr. X

        “My friends are openly accepting, and my sister more than anyone else in my family; in fact, she defends me sometimes when I get attackedby my father or grandmother”

        I’m not familiar with your own story/ experience/ preferrence/ lifestyle/ etc.

        What is it about you, that your family members attack/defend?

        • SamStaurophobia

          The fact that I believe that the belief in God is only superstitious and that he isn’t real.

          They attack me for that all the time.

          They think I’m possessed by demons and all kinds of idiotic crap.

  • Barry

    Again, I say, “Here, here!”. Not that it matters, ’cause i don’t think that you like me very much since the Ashley MaAdison thing!

    • admin

      I have nothing against you personally Barry, I just disagree with you on the whole Ashley Madison thing. I still think you don’t fully understand temptation and it’s hold over you. But that isn’t a personal issue, it is a philosophical/psychological issue which we can continue to debate when those topic come up again.
      -Staks

  • http://www.atheistinsurgency.com Atheist Insurgency

    Attempts have been made to scientifically articulate sexual preference and physical sexual traits (Masters and Johnson). It is clear that there are degrees of sexual preference and physical traits. The only remaining scientific debate is measuring the subdivisions of the scale in between. All the symbols, language and rituals involved in marriage are purely subjective exercises. Meaning is in people, not in things. Religion is nothing but a tool that dictates and reinforces subjective useless meanings on people. Marriage is a meaning with no independent physical attributes.

  • Logic

    Someone was saying even that they wonder if coming out as atheist is similar to coming out as gay/bisexual. What do you think? I guess it wasn’t for me b/c none of my family or friends disowned or ridiculed me for being atheist and I became atheist as an adult. I realized I was bisexual at a very young age and was in denial for awhile, first thinking that checking out girls made me a sicko (despite having a non-homophobic family) and later thinking it was the worst, most humiliating secret in the world (this was around middle school, so it kind of was). So for me I think coming out as gay is still harder than coming out as atheist, although there are similarities…and it’s usually the same people who make it difficult for both!

    • SamStaurophobia

      Actually, yes, it kind of was for me. I was 17 when I came out as an Atheist, and my grandmother and my father are both religious extremists, so it was hard for me. The first time I revealed it wasn’t to their faces, but on my Myspace, and since I don’t have my own computer, they both told me I had to take it off because “I wasn’t really Atheist. I was just going through a late rebellious phase.”, so I did take it off, but I put “No answer” as my religion instead of anything else. Though, now I do a daily blog defending the Atheist POV and I proudly have it displayed on my profile and everything. I still get criticism, but it’s not as bad as before.

  • SamStaurophobia

    Hey… I sent you that song on Myspace I wrote about Fred Phelps, just so you know who I am.

    :)

    But, I totally agree with you, in every blog I’ve read on here, it’s basically the same as my POV.

    Interesting.

    I tend to label myself as a Secular Humanist, so yes, I do believe in fighting for gay rights though I am not gay myself. One of my best friends is gay, though, and he’s a better person than most of the straight people I know, so I think that says something, maybe?

    I don’t know.