Whenever the issue of gay marriage comes up, you’ll often hear the opponents talk of it meaning “re-defining marriage”.

Does it really mean that?

I’m not so sure.  All I ever heard all my life was that you were supposed to marry the person you fell in love with.  For a long time, this has always been the standard.  Now, society assumed for centuries that you could only have romantic love between a man and a woman.  But gays obviously show that is not the case.  So, if you have two people of the same gender in romantic love, the logic suggests they should be allowed to marry, under the current definition.

Of course, marriage was not always based on romantic love. In other cultures through history, there have been examples of arranged marriages, or marriages made to cement some treaty or alliance between families or some such.  So, it’s true that at some point, a re-definition of marriage went on.  But it obviously happened quite some time ago; as for centuries now people have been getting married based on love.

I talked before in this post about why opponents of gay marriage use the Bible to justify their position.  And I’ll say this: given the circumstances of the tribes wandering in the desert, the Biblical prohibition of homosexuality makes sense.  The mortality rate must have been extremely high back then, so I figure they knew that they needed everyone who could reproduce to do so, regardless of preference. “Needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”, and all that.

But of course, that was then, and this is now.

The same sort of thing applies to this “re-definition” claim. It would be right if this were five hundred years ago.

This week, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed a bill that would have allowed businesses to refuse to serve gays for religious reasons.

The question that has always fascinated me about Gay Rights controversies like these is: why is it such a huge deal?  There are not really that many gays in the population, and yet Conservatives make it sound like (for example) allowing gay marriage would mean the end of civilization itself.

Personally, while the anti-gay groups frequently resort to citing scripture, I have always believed this is simply a red herring.  The Bible is one of the most-read (and believed) books in the world, and happens to have a few passages forbidding homosexuality, which are convenient for them to cite.  If it had nothing whatsoever to say on the topic, I think they would oppose gay rights just as vehemently. (The same thing goes on with the NRA and the Second Amendment–if it didn’t exist, they would be no less zealous in their opposition to gun control laws.)

My reason for thinking this is that the Bible also forbids, for example, the loaning of money at interest, and yet I haven’t seen any preachers holding rallies to condemn banks.  Indeed, the Republican party as we know it would likely destroy itself within a day if the social conservatives ever decided to enforce that particular point with the same force they do the issue of homosexuality.

So, if not religious, what exactly is their reason for opposing gay rights so strongly?

In the past, I’ve occasionally mentioned how nationalists (which I believe is what the Republican rank-and-file is) believe in a society based on blood and heritage.  Naturally, this prejudices them against gays, since by definition they cannot contribute to the heritability based society.

I bring this fact up not because it is terribly significant in its own right–the social conservatives oppose gay rights, nothing new here–but rather because I think it helps give the interested political observer a better idea of the logic behind the social conservatives’ policies.  Contrary to appearances, I don’t believe they just picked a random part of the Bible to passionately uphold, but rather, it is part of their larger worldview.