Maggie Gallagher, You've Got Mail!

Dear Ms. Gallagher:

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Rev. Shelly Strauss. I'm a mother of two sons, a former Cub Scout den leader, pack treasurer and secretary, school volunteer, domestic violence shelter intake worker and volunteer, certified Braille transcriber, graduate of Marquette University with a degree in civil engineering, owner of my own business (two of them, in fact), writer, homeowner, taxpayer and gay woman.

Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to give you my take on your article regarding gay marriage and the significance of the date, May 17.

But first, let me refresh your mind with respect to a bit of history, since you seem to have forgotten it. The United States of America is NOT a democracy and the founding fathers never intended it to be a democracy. The US is a constitutional republic. Now I know you may say it's a representative republic and you would be right, but not completely right because the WHOLE truth is that the actions of our representatives are limited by the US Constitution. In this country, the majority rules only as long as it doesn't violate the constitutionally guaranteed civil rights of even one citizen of this great nation. While you may decry the rulings of "activist judges", please remember that it was activist judges that gave women the right to vote, gave blacks the right to be free and in 1968, in the Loving v Virginia decision, gave blacks the right to *gasp* marry whites! I was nine years old when that decision came down and I very clearly remember discussing it with my mother and being simply outraged that the government would dare to try to tell someone who they could or could not love. Little did I know they'd still be doing that almost 40 years later.

Now I would like to educate you since your ignorance of what it means to be gay is so glaringly obvious. You seem to think its all about sex. Well, it's not. No, really, it's not. Sex is as important in gay relationships as it is in straight relationships: more so to some, less so to others. One's orientation, be it straight or gay, is not about who you have sex with but about who you can fall in love with. Lesbians can fall in love only with other women. Straights can only fall in love with someone of the opposite gender (although truth be told there's really more than just two genders, but let's not go there just yet. I don't want to confuse you too much.)

OK, NOW I can get to your article.

First, let's deal with your assertion that marriage is primarily more than couple love— that it's about children and raising families. Then why, pray tell, are people over childbearing age given permission to marry? Why, can you please explain, are those couples who choose— CHOOSE, I say!— NOT to have children given permission to marry? Why in heaven's name are those couples who prove infertile allowed to remain married? And why, for God's sake, do we ever permit birth control to be used? If you want to use the Bible as proof that man and woman are supposed to procreate, go for it. But give the whole story: God did not create Eve to be a mother to Adam's children, did he? He created Eve to be a helpmate, a companion. That was her primary role and therefore that is the primary role in marriage to. He created Adam and Eve NOT to show that heterosexual love was the only appropriate love, but to demonstrate that the genders were equal: both required and necessary in order for the human species to continue. But then to show mankind that not all relationships MUST be heterosexual, he created homosexual animals in more than 450 species. He even created transgendered animals like the frogs that can change genders if there's too many of one gender and not enough of the other. And yet you ignore all this evidence around you that homosexuality is normal and natural. (OK, I admit it's not "normal" if we define "normal" as being something that the majority does, but it is more normal than, say, being a concert pianist!) Nowhere on any marriage license does it ask if the couple intends to have children. No marriage has ever been declared null and void because the couple could not have children. No couple past the child bearing age has ever been denied a marriage license simply for being past the child-bearing age. So the ability to have children is irrelevant to the law's idea of marriage.

Now let's get to the issue of how marriage has always been about (fill in the blank since it varies from bigot to bigot.) In the days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, marriage was between a man and his chattel. A little later on, marriage was between a white man and a white woman— blacks were not allowed to marry at all. Then the courts (damn them!) said that blacks had the right to marry, so whites decided that blacks didn't have the right to marry whites (which took away the rights of whites to marry blacks too, but what do the rights of a few white folk matter in the end anyway, huh?). Then 1968 came around and blacks gained the right to marry whites. And you know what? Every time the laws changed regarding marriage, guess what we heard from religious conservatives such as yourself? "How dare the courts change marriage from what God intended it to be to what man wants it to be!" Your argument is getting old and tired. Can't you think up a new one? (Of course, that's forgetting the fact that religious beliefs of one faith are not to be made into law according to the first amendment.)

As for your assertion that gay marriage is the white elite trying to impose their morality on blacks, I must applaud you. You have come up with the most ridiculous argument I have ever heard! Now, I realize that that is a subjective judgment and I really do try to avoid those kinds of things. But for this, I must make an exception. I did not realize that I was a racist elitist hell bent on destroying the black race because I believe that everyone has the right to marry who they love.

You quote the decline in European birth-rates as "proof" that those cultures that embrace gay equality are going to die out. I could throw statistics at you that shows that Christianity is growing at only a rate of 5% a year compared to more than 700% growth rate for many other faiths. Other conservative writers are saying that the marriage rate in countries like Denmark, which has had gay marriage for almost ten years now, is decreasing. What those same writers don't tell you is that the marriage rate began decreasing years before and the decrease since the legality of gay marriage is only part of the continuing trend. So as you can see, statistics can be manipulated to pretty much prove whatever you want, so as far as articles on opinion go, they're pretty useless. Seventy-five percent of syndicated columnists agree!

Really, Ms. Gallagher, if you intend to try to turn public opinion against gay marriage, you should try to come up with some logical reasons. You know, how about if I challenge you here and now to provide me with a logical reason for denying gays the right to marry. But please note that arguments based on faith will not be considered since faith is not bound by logic and therefore the reasonsings of faith cannot be decreed logical or illogical.

How about it, Ms. Gallagher? You up for the challenge? I'm going to post this on the site where I am a regular writer, that way a whole lot more people will see it and maybe, if you don't get this message being sent to you from the site, someone will point it out to you on that site and you can read my response then.

I look forward to your reply.

Love and Light,
Rev. Shelly Strauss

PS: This challenge can be taken up by anyone. Email me through this site with your logical argument. I will refute them here on this site so please check back often!

PPS: One more thing, Ms. Gallagher.

You are correct when you say that traditional marriage WILL prevail. The traditional marriage that I speak of is that created by people who are in love with each other and who plan to spend the rest of their lives together. If you choose to get hung up on gender and bent out of shape if they happen to be the same gender, the choice is yours. But there really are much more important problems that need addressing in this society...

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