After the Carroll County commissioners made their marriage pronouncement, someone suggested I watch a video of one of their recorded meetings. I wish I hadn't.
I've never seen such a public display of the absence of wisdom.
Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier implored God to protect us from Annapolis, which she accused of attacking the "very America we know and love," as if God has nothing better to do than tend to the petty paranoia of some small-time politicians who've decided they're the last bastion of Christian America. She beseeched God in the name of Jesus to provide her with wisdom. I wish he would.
Frazier says marriage is in danger. She says a vote for marriage equality is a vote against children, because that's what marriage is about. Children.
But tell that to a married woman who aches to have kids and can't. Or a widowed old couple who marry to comfort each other in their final years. Or a veteran of Iraq whose wounds make it impossible to be a dad.
Tell it to any loving couple who wants to spend their lives together, but can't have children. Or choose not to. Tell it to my gay sister.
When she told my mom that night, she could hardly talk. She drank, cried and finally blurted it out.
It was like a bomb went off in our family. We overreacted.
We all suffered in our way, but none like my sister, who grew up in a large Irish Catholic family that would take a while to understand and fully sympathize and accept.
Being gay is not some simple lifestyle choice. It has no advantages. I know firsthand there's a terrible amount of emotional anguish involved. And when two people love each other and want to get married, I can't see preventing that commitment as anything other than cruel.
Commissioner Richard Rothschild, naturally, disagrees. Barely controlling himself, Rothschild shouted about "Gestapo tactics" and "tyranny" and some large effort to "silence us." In his mind, those who support expanding the right to marry have become a boot-stomping Gestapo.
The Gestapo, of course, was an integral part of a slaughter machine that annihilated 6 million Jews, along with countless other enemies of the Nazis, including socialists, Catholics and the ever dangerous homosexuals. And their tactics involved broken glass, broken bones, broken hearts, broken lives, torture, forced labor, gassing, incineration, insidious propaganda and brutal repression.
Rothschild railed against tyranny. But in my view it's Rothschild who plays the tyrant, furious at those who would stretch the boundaries of freedom, as we've always done in America, for those who weren't granted full freedom at the start - such as women and African-Americans, who had to wait some 300 years, endure slavery, lynching and all manner of deprivation before they began to fully realize the promise of freedom.
In many states for much of our history marriage between the races was illegal and considered an abomination. Would Rothschild and Frazier have supported that view?
Why is it that those who rant most about tyranny and threats to our freedom are least likely to grant freedom to others? Why is it that those who rant most about reducing the influence of government are so supportive of government when it suppresses minorities?
Tyranny suppresses rights. Gay marriage expands them.
Rothschild questioned the value system of those who support gay marriage. He implied that if you don't oppose it based on religious grounds then you must support it based on nothing. It's his values or no values.
I read recently that the entire New Testament could be summed up as "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." That's my value system.
And if I were gay and wanted to marry some guy, I'd expect you to do unto me the kindness of honoring my desire. The government has no right to stop us. It's between me and the person I love, and all I'm asking you to do is respect our commitment, and if you can't be happy for us, just leave us alone. We're not hurting you.
Do unto others. Live and let live.
It's simple human decency. And that's what Frazier should pray for.