Mike Lawrence: The politics of absurdity

Goldfish-marrying makes mockery of serious issue


In 1829, Scotland-born activist Fanny Wright pointed out the hypocrisy of American women not being able to vote.

"Your political institutions have taken equality for their basis; your declaration of rights, upon which your institutions rest, sets forth this principle as vital and inviolate," Wright wrote after a visit to the still young United States, in her "Course of Popular Lectures." "Equality is the soul of liberty; there is, in fact, no liberty without it."

Few of us would argue with those words. Wright was advocating for women's suffrage, an effort that became successful in 1920 with the passage of the 19th Amendment. More than 80 years later, and nearly 180 years after Wright's publication, the same principle of equality is again being tested - this time in the debate about same-sex marriage.

On Nov. 7, Colorado voters will decide on two ballot questions related to the issue. Amendment 43 would define marriage in the state Constitution as a union between one man and one woman. Referendum I would allow same-sex couples to apply for a state-recognized domestic partnership and receive all the "benefits, protections and responsibilities" of spouses - such as shared health care plans for state employees, worker's compensation and retirement benefits, hospital visitation rights, access to terminal care documents and the ability to make emergency medical decisions.

The two ballot issues may seem to conflict, but that is not the case. The language of Referendum I clarifies that "a domestic partnership is not a marriage," and defines marriage as "the legally recognized union of one man and one woman." The referendum is about providing equal rights for citizens, not about changing traditional marriage.

Yet, as in much of the country, a marriage tempest is brewing in Colorado - not in a teapot, but in a fishbowl.

Last week at Mesa State College in Grand Junction, eight people were "married" to goldfish in mock ceremonies intended to make a statement about same-sex marriage.

What that statement means is not exactly clear. After members of the college's Young Republicans club sponsored the event, club president Allen Haggerty told the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel that "lines need to be drawn" in order to preserve traditional marriages of one man and one woman.

But doesn't it seem a bit absurd to link bestiality - or whatever you would call a union with a fish - to two men or two women spending their lives together?

It's not the first time Colorado Republicans have made the leap from gays to goldfish. Janet Rowland, newly-appointed running mate for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez and a Mesa County commissioner, recently came under fire for statements she made in March during an interview aired on Rocky Mountain PBS.

"Homosexuality is an alternative lifestyle. That doesn't make it a marriage," Rowland said. "Some people have group sex. Should we allow two men and three women to marry? Should we allow polygamy with one man and five wives? For some, bestiality is an alternative lifestyle. Do we allow a man to marry a sheep? At some point, we have to draw a line."

Rowland and Beauprez have since apologized for the statement, which makes a blatant misconception by using one word: lifestyle.

Staying in shape is a lifestyle. Driving a Harley is a lifestyle. Not wearing white after Labor Day - get those pants out, it's coming up fast - is a lifestyle.

Homosexuality is not a lifestyle.

According to every homosexual friend, family member and acquaintance I have, homosexuality is not something you choose, but something that you are.

Like being black. Like being white. Like being Hispanic. Like being Asian.

Like being a man.

Like being a woman, wanting to vote.

Like being a citizen of this state and of this country, asking for equal rights.

I have no problem with drawing lines about marriage. But I draw mine at two consenting adults. Or, if you like, at two consenting adult human beings.

In 1893, thanks to citizens like Fanny Wright and Susan B. Anthony, Colorado became the first state, by vote, to allow women the right to vote.

In November, the state can help lead the charge for another long overdue civil rights movement.


SnowCountry 10 years, 8 months ago

At some point in time, wrong needs to be considered wrong. Political correctness needs to be overridden by common since and logic. At the most basic level, we are animals, more specifically mammals. If homosexuality is a natural unsought after feeling then you would see other animals (horses, cows, sheep, goats, dogs) that have the same feeling. You would see cows in a pasture that are in season shunning the herd bull for the company of female companions, you would see stallions not interested in mares that are in season. I would take geese as an example. They mate for life, however they will not mate goose to goose and gander to gander. Homosexuality is caused by people needing a cause, and people needing to cause turmoil. The only specific purpose of anything on earth is to reproduce, homosexuals do not have that ability. That in itself proves it is wrong. If you reduce anything in life to its basic purpose, and that purpose is unfullfilled, then there is no point to that particular thing even to exist. That takes care of nature's part in the homosexual debate. Then there is the religious debate which I 'm sure no one wants to hear again. Then there is the medical debate which points to homosexuality spreading disease much faster than heterosexuality. Then the most basic argument of all. Homosexuals content that they don't have a choice, they were born that way. I have been married for eleven years, and I can honestly say that being attracted to my wife is a choice. I could choose to not be attracted to her, and after a fight or argument, there are times when that choice can be alot more difficult, however I choose to remain committed to her, I was not born to be attracted to her and I could certainly choose to be attracted to Angelina Jolie, or Christie Brinkley and in reality, I am attracted to them, however I am not going to act upon that idea with them or anyone else. Homosexuality is a choice and a wrong choice and should be treated as such. A good plan would be to let them create a country of their own, one generation later, they would be gone, no reproduction. There are things in this world that are wrong, and people need to have the guts to say it is wrong.


6624sw 10 years, 8 months ago

So SnowCountry, you say that it is a choice for you to be attracted to your wife but when did you choose to be attracted to females in general?


6624sw 10 years, 8 months ago

By the way, you're wrong about your assertion that animals do not exhibit homosexual behavior. Check out this article from National Geographic. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/07/0722_040722_gayanimal.html


Justme 10 years, 8 months ago

SnowCountry, I'll see your geese example and raise you a pair of penguins. My good friend worked in the Boston aquarium for over a year and she said that of all the penguins, the most loyal couple happened to be composed of two male birds. It couldn't be called experimentation because they were always together and didn't go off with other birds. I'm not sure either of us know enough to say that has never happened with geese. It is true these two male penguins could not reproduce but I challenge you're idea that if it can't reproduce then there is no point in its existance. For that statement to be true, there has to be nothing to contradict it. So I am wondering how you feel about straight women or men who are infertile. Does their life serve no purpose? What about people who can't afford to have children? Should society simply forget about them? What about women like me who choose not to have children? Are we just godless hethans who are wasting our gift to be baby machines? I would like to know your thoughts to my questions. Reproduction is important to continue the species but it is not a requirement for every member. It's not like if there are gay people out there the human race will suddenly stop reproducing. Not all straight people have children anyway, so why does it matter if two men who are together are physically unable to have a baby? If you think society and the human race is so fragile that it will be depopulated by gays then I pity your faith in humanity.

PS. I am wildly attracted to my boyfriend but I don't feel it is by choice. I look at him and it is not a decision to think, wow, I love him. It is a feeling and not a thought. It is not a choice to remain committed to him because it is something I do naturally out of love. I am faithful because our love is so fulfilling, it doesn't give me any desire to do anything with someone else, it is not something I have to struggle with everyday. You make it sound like you are constantly fighting tempation. That doesn't sound like love to me. I hope my relationshipe doesn't turn into a daily decision. If I, as a straight woman you can trust, can testify to the feeling of love (instead of the decision of love), then it might be possible for this feeling to pass between two men or two women. So I don't get that part of your argument. Because you choose not to sleep with angelina, gays can decide to be heterosexual. Don't see the connection there.


Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.