It’s important for a writer to grab the reader’s attention. So, how did I do? I hope okay. Also important is honesty. So I may as well get to that right off and admit I don’t have anything of special value to say about sex. I’m old enough that most of what I did know is bogged way back in memory. I knew so much more when younger. That plus limberness of mind and body made a workable combination, though I will not confess to or admit any particular abilities beyond the ordinary observation that nudity and ample time generally aided the situation, especially in a humorous sense.

I chose a sex theme this week because driving to and in Duluth the past week, I observed a near tie between the YES and NO marriage amendment signs and signs for real estate. That’s saying a lot. If the amendment signs mean anything, NO is well ahead, but really, I have trouble getting too het up over the question at all. I can’t see oddments of people wanting to get married posing much threat to the institution. If your aim were the protection of marriage, wouldn’t you go after divorce or philanders? Maybe that would be too much on-target and cause an excess of upset among the common faithful who don’t get out the garlic or wolfs bane over the word “queer.” A wider marriage definition does not remove or do away with a narrow religious definition for those wanting one. If your faith insists on arranging marriages at age ten, then by all means continue to arrange away, but with consummation put off until the condemned are old enough to form their own contracts. That’s not so difficult or intrusive, is it?

I have wondered about the argument aspects of YES and NO. If we compare a marriage license to that for driving, the YES side’s contention is the majority are ordinary drivers and licensing commercial or motorcycle drivers weakens the majority. Well, that’s more or less the argument, so don’t blame me if it doesn’t make good logical sense. It is a more predictable and compact world if one mommy and a daddy limit themselves to the deed done missionary. But, if one is actually protecting marriage, aren’t they really supporting its purpose of family/children? Maybe marriage without “issue” is invalid, mere legalized fornication, so to speak. Odd marriage takes place in nursing homes and between couples with no intention whatever of family making. If the reason of companionship and legal status for insurance and benefits is okay in those cases, then why not for others equally non-reproductive? Your grandmother at age 93 getting hitched to an equally seasoned Lothario is not a traditional family without doing handstands to make it so.

Religious belief says man-woman is the moral choice. But religious beliefs also hold moral a lot of things easily questionable. What’s moral about the religious quarantine of human sexuality as a dirty and shameful thing? What’s moral in the strongly-put sexism of traditional marriage? Where is the morality in religion-approved female circumcision? (I’m not going into detail, but believe me, the female version practiced is WAY more consequential than the male form you know of.) How is a rule of abstinence and denial more moral than the practice of compassion and understanding? If a thing is claimed as more moral, shouldn’t it be demonstrable that this is so, and that it isn’t simply a sanctimonious form of discrimination or prejudice? We know enough history to see the results of strict gender regulation done by religion. (Marriage regulation along narrow lines is essentially that.) If you doubt it, look at the forms where a man’s face is required to be covered in beard and women must wear wrapping or what amounts to a sack. You tell me where the morality lies in any of that. Confinement, restriction, and strict dress codes are not moral. They are elements of strong social controls meant to restrain individual freedom of thought and action by imposing Thou Shall Not.

I find that in my inner heart, I long ago keened onto the notion that an awful lot of what we call sexuality is really about gender roles. The way a person experiences his or her gender is not something I think society should regulate or mess with. If instead of gender roles, we focused on any of the many other ways people experience their talents, it’s obvious we’re better off accepting and aiding than limiting or regulating. If a child is drawn to mathematics, do we discourage this on moral grounds? No, of course not, because it is a legitimate and authentic part of the individual. We cultivate that as we would athletic, artistic, musical, literary, mechanical, or other inclinations. People’s response to their gender and that of others is probably a deeper and more fundamental part of their integrity as beings than is a love of basketball or trigonometry. We don’t make the most of our gifts by having to repress or disregard them. We find out about our talents and abilities by use and not from denial. A person does not grow into being a skilled surgeon by not performing operations. I think encouragement and practice count for a lot more human value than does slapping down more rules to bind people to this or that because someone claims a supposed holy book demands it.

To me, what’s bare naked in the YES versus NO debate are the bare naked lies and deceptions used to justify maintaining a stranglehold around what’s in your heart and spirit and the hearts and spirits of your family now and in the future. Now look at it. Is it truly more moral for me to rein in my view of the family to genetic loin products, or am I more moral by claiming and calling as many groups as possible “family” in a broader humanistic sense? The family I love does not need me to control it.