So, I’m sitting on the couch at home minding my own business when my wife of 36 years complains that I’m not pulling my weight around the house. There’s no reason, she says, that I can’t be more help in cleaning up, washing the clothes, and vacuuming.

Wisely, I apologize but offer a defense. “It’s not my fault,” I sputter. ‘It’s those damn gays. they’re undermining marriage, and it’s hurting our relationship.”

Seriously, the campaign for same-sex marriage is a boon to husbands everywhere.

Not giving enough attention to your wife? You’re just too distracted about the devastation of the gay agenda.

Derelict in changing the kitty litter? It’s a too painful reminder of the crumbling state of American marriage.

Forgot to put the clothes in the washer? They were just too soiled, reminding you of what our moral fabric will become if gays marry.

Spending too much time with your friends? The perfidious gay influence in the movies and media had me unthinkingly wanting to spend more time with the guys.

I’m Know I’m Right. Far right.

I know I must be right.

After all, Tennessee ranks in the bottom third in the U.S. in per capita income, economic growth, state and local revenue, spending on police protection, and spending on parks and recreation.

It is dead last in K-12 education spending per capita, dead last in environmental spending, third from the bottom in higher education spending, fifth from the bottom in per pupil spending, and in the top ten in toxic releases and punitive sales tax rates.

If that’s not enough, to add insult to injury, we’re ranked # 3 in the ranking of states whose residents have the fewest number of teeth, beaten out by Kentucky and West Virginia.

And yet, all of these pale by comparison to the threat imposed by the notion of two gays saying wedding vows. I know that’s a fact, because in the face of all of these pressing, serious problems, Tennessee is gearing up to do something much more important – voting on a definition of marriage that would reserve it just for heteros like us.

Bizarro World

Thank God, because if gays can undermine marriage even more than we straights already have, they may truly deserve this omnipotent image as the force shaping the culture decisions in this country.

I just think the television commentator was right who said: “Why shouldn’t they get married? They deserve to be as unhappy as the rest of us.”

There are times when these issues do seem to exist in a kind of Bizarro world where everything is done contrary to logic and reason. But, apparently Superman wasn’t the only person exposed to the strange gravitational pull of this alternate world. After all, our president and the far right religious fringe put forth an argument that goes something like this: gays live in a culture of promiscuity, gays serving in the military would undermine morale, gay rights is different than civil rights, and gays can’t raise children because they’ll all be gay (strange, since straight parents aren’t just raising straight children).

It’s almost too much for the mind to take in at times. Once, gays and lesbians were attacked as promiscuous and unable to form lasting relationships, and they confused things by asking for the right to marry. It was bad enough when they were just asking for the right to serve in the military, but now they want on all of our battlegrounds.

The Constitution as a Club

But on November 7, we Tennesseeans can take a stand for moral decency by voting for a state constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage in our special bastion of moral certitude. It’s always reassuring to the cynics among us when people are so anxious to appeal to the basest aspects of human nature – the urge to marginalize those who are different, to dehumanize other people’s basic humanity and to use the Tennessee Constitution as a club to beat up some of the state’s own citizens.

Hopefully, if the amendment passes, Republican State Senator David Fowler of Signal Mountain, who conveniently also heads the Family Action Council of Tennessee, can finally rid those tormenting dreams in the showers on Capitol Hill. It’s just all too confusing for us, because we thought he was against big government intrusion into the private lives of Tennessee, but apparently, the chance to expand Signal Mountain morals to the vast swampland that makes up the rest of Tennessee is just too tempting to him. We thought he was against activist judges, but he certainly relied on them to get his pet cause on the ballot.

In his pleas for the referendum, Sen. Fowler frequently echoed some of our president’s statements about marriage being the fundamental building block of civilization for 2,000 years. (Apparently, they aren’t so sure about Jewish civilization before Christ.) Of course, it’s not worth mentioning that women were essentially chattel during most of those 20 centuries, but no matter, we’re supposed to be listening to the red meat rhetoric, not choking on the lapses in logic.

The last refuge of the scoundrel is to argue that the majority of Americans oppose same-sex marriage. That is true, but the tide over time is definitely running in favor of equal rights for gays, and at least civil unions. Of course, if public opinion is the standard for deciding our rights, interracial marriage would be illegal. Even as the law was being changed back in the day, the majority of Americans opposed it.

Déjà vu All Over Again

In fact, some of the defenses against interracial marriage seem oddly familiar today. It was all about tradition, public opinion, morality, erosion of American life, and besides, it just made so many Americans just plain uncomfortable.

And as we learned in the days of the civil rights movement, laws that refuse to allow men and women to connect fully with their own identities in the end only rob all of us, not just members of the minority. In fact, it is in how we treat the minorities among us that we most define who we are and what we believe as the majority.

Unfortunately, November 7 is predicted to be one of those days when the 90 percent of us who are in the majority deny rights to the 10 percent of us in the minority. Hopefully, we can see this referendum for what it is – a serious civil rights issue that defines who we are as a people. For that reason alone, we should vote against the amendment, but most of all, we should send the message that we categorically reject the calculated, gay-bashing agenda that pushes one of these referenda to coincide with each Congressional election to get out the vote for the far right’s candidates.