Looking at Nevada’s history, our ban on gay marriages was out of character. We are the only state in the nation that legalized prostitution and, for a time, the only state that had legalized gambling. We were also known as the divorce capital of the country. Even though we did all these things, we continued to prosper.
Allowing quickie divorces seems to me to have been much more of an attack on marriages than same-sex unions but we did it and it was a boon for our local economies. We could have done the same with gay marriages. Being one of the few states that allow it, we could have had people coming from all over the country to get married. By banning gay marriages we lost out on a great economic opportunity. And we all know our economy could use the increase in tourism.
But somehow a gay marriage was elevated as a sin above gambling, prostitution and divorce. It was alleged that it would ruin marriage for the rest of us. I frankly don’t see how it could. Our current divorce rate is about 75 percent and we have many incidents of spousal and child abuse. It appears that marriage is not doing so well with heterosexual couples. I doubt gay marriages would be any worse.
I heard that some people said that by legalizing gay marriage we would be encouraging more homosexual behavior. Imagine a couple of guys sitting at a bar when one tells the other that it is legal for a man to marry a man and the other responding, “Really? I guess I’ll do that instead of marrying a woman.” The availability of marriage will not determine a person’s sexual orientation.
Then there is the biblical argument. The Bible has been interpreted to ban homosexuality as we know it today. Assuming that is true and that is the reason for not allowing gay marriages, what about the other passages in the Bible that condemn other lifestyles? For example, the Bible states that the Sabbath is the holiest day and shall be observed by all. There is even an example of a man who worked on the Sabbath who was stoned to death. So should we condemn and put to death everyone who works on the Sabbath? Technically a violation of the Sabbath is a much more serious offense than homosexuality and should be enforced first. But I think if we did that there wouldn’t be many of us left.
The ban on gay marriages is very similar to older laws that banned interracial marriage. It was illegal for a black man to marry a white woman. The reasons given were the same ones now being applied to gay marriages. An interracial marriage would somehow bring down our society. It didn’t happen then and it wouldn’t happen with gay marriages.
I don’t see how a gay marriage has any impact on my marriage or my children’s marriages. It is no different than blacks marrying whites, Christians marrying Jews or even Protestants marrying Catholics. All of these at one time were forbidden.
We don’t need the state telling us who can be married and who can’t. We need to get over our homophobia and get on with more important issues like health care, education and our slumping economy. Whether two men or two women live together as a married couple has little to no affect on our day-to-day lives.
Jeff Blanck is an attorney in private practice in Reno. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.