Gay marriage is now legal in New York, after the Senate passed the bill by a narrow margin of 33-29. I view the passing of this bill as a victory for love, compassion and equality. The following has been around the Internet a bit, but I can't resist sharing:
- First cousins can marry each other in: AK, AL, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, HI, MA, MD, ME, NC, NJ, NM, NY, RI, SC, TN, VT, VA and Washington DC.
- Gay partners can marry in: CT, IA, MA, NH, NY, VT and Washington DC.
The result is that you can marry your gay, same sex as you, cousin in: CT, MA, NY, VT and Washington DC.
The third precept in the Buddhist religion is to abstain from sexual misconduct. According to the Dalai Lama, the third Buddhist precept means that oral, anal and manual sex are not acceptable for Buddhists, which is why homosexuality is problematic in his view. He feels that the only type of sex that is proper is using the sexual organs in the way intended for reproduction. However, he does believe that consenting same-sex partners, who do not contribute to the suffering of others, should be tolerated from a secular point of view.
This view is very similar to the view of some followers of Spiritism, although I cannot say that the Dalai Lama's beliefs represent Buddhist beliefs as a whole. The views of the Dalai Lama and Spiritism can be summarized by saying that gays and lesbians can engage in same-sex relationships, but the objection arises when they engage in sexual activities. This type of argument relies on natural law, but I don't know if there are very many followers of natural law anymore. And, hello!? How many heterosexual couples are engaging in the supposedly objectionable sexual activities? I'd guess a lot.
My personal view is that separate but equal is never truly equal, which is why I support gay marriage. This view is also centered around my Buddhist beliefs in compassion, equality and basic human rights. The most beautiful relationship and marriage I have ever observed in my entire life is a gay marriage. (Yes, CC and DD, I'm talking about you!) I also believe that every person deserves dignity, compassion and respect and deserves to love and be loved.
In the case of cousin marriages, I understand the problem. There is a high risk of genetic defects and serious illness and disease resulting from close family members reproducing with each other. Gay marriage, on the other hand, doesn't present the same problems or potential for suffering as cousin marriages. So why do we police gay marriage but not cousin marriages so much? Is it tradition that dictates? Religion? Something else?