I have always been a romantic. When I was growing up, I would sit by the window in my den with a notebook and a pen, writing poetry and fantasizing about a “Prince Charming” that I wasn’t even sure existed. In my dreams, we would marry, have two children, and live in a large house with a wraparound porch and an oak tree in the front yard. It was a nice love story.
As I have grown older, I have learned that there are all types of love stories other than the typical “boy meets girl.” Sometimes “boy meets boy.” Sometimes “girl meets girl.” Sometimes, love isn’t as clean-cut as a little girl’s dreams, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real and shouldn’t be valued just the same.
Until now, I haven’t given my opinion on gay marriage for two simple reasons: First, I didn’t think I had the right to speak about the topic because I have always felt like an outsider because I’m straight. What experience can I bring to the table? What understanding do I have other than observation? Second, I didn’t think I could speak intelligently about the subject because I haven’t experienced the same stigma, discrimination, and other challenges that are faced by my friends in the LGBT community.
Still, I feel compelled to speak out in support of gay marriage, not for political reasons, but for personal ones. I have so many friends with same sex partners that are deeply in love. To me, it is illogical for them not to be allowed to get married and have that marriage recognized in every legal and social way possible.
I have personally seen just as many loving, long-term gay relationships as I have long-term straight relationships. In this world where unconditional love is incredibly hard to find – when meeting someone that shares your dreams, your goals and your values can be an almost impossible task, why prevent two people from committing themselves to one another if they so choose?
Perhaps I’m being too simplistic in my analysis. Why don’t I just discredit some of the arguments against gay marriage.
THE “IT’S NOT NATURAL/IT’S A CHOICE” ARGUMENT
Let’s start with the assertion by some that being gay is unnatural. My initial response is YES IT IS. I’m not an expert, but I knew at a very early age that I liked boys. It didn’t matter if they liked me or not, I liked them. I never had a doubt or a question. It was natural for me. It was something that I didn’t have to think about. Individuals who are gay (and this is just a guess) probably feel drawn to the same sex when they reach that critical age of sentience. The difference is that these individuals are often told that how they feel is “wrong.” They are sometimes told that who they are is wrong. They may not grow up with the benefit of a supported family that accepts them unconditionally.
Scores of gay and lesbian teenagers don’t enjoy this kind of comfort, and they deserve to feel loved and accepted for being themselves. They don’t deserve to feel marginalized, nor do they deserve to experience depression so severe that sometimes they feel no other choice than to take their own lives.
Being gay is not a choice! It is a fact. It is a reality and not something that can be created or changed by some external force.
Sexuality is so much more complicated that sex and romance. It is more complicated than the person you date. It is about the reason you date them. Sexual orientation is a part of a person’s identity and an important part. It includes a manner of feeling and relating to the world and to others. It encompasses an entire worldview as well as understanding one’s place in that world. It’s not simply a lifestyle – it is a life.
Once again: BEING GAY IS NOT A CHOICE. The only choice a person makes is whether or not they are true to who they are and date based on their attraction and happiness.
MYTH: ONLY MEN AND WOMEN SHOULD GET MARRIED BECAUSE ONLY MEN AND WOMEN CAN PRODUCE CHILDREN, ETC., ETC.
It may shock some people to know that woman can get pregnant without being married to a man. I know. Scary isn’t it? Nevertheless, it happens quite often (too often actually, but that’s a blog for another time.)
At any rate, it doesn’t take a man and a woman to make a baby. It takes access to a sperm and an egg to make a baby. A family is made up of so much more, and in this ever-changing social climate, it doesn’t make much sense to simply limit the definition of family to heterosexual married man and woman.
While I can appreciate the reality that the sexes evolved to continue the human race, there is such a thing as adoption and in vitro fertilization that allow loving and committed couples have children and grow their own families.
There are also millions of children out there that need loving homes. Both gay and straight couples can provide a positive environment for children. Both gay and straight couples can teach children love and kindness, compassion and patience, honesty and forgiveness.
Oh, and one more thing: gay couples don’t make gay children simply due to proximity. Sexual orientation is not socially passed from one person to another.
MYTH: GAY MARRIAGE ERODES THE VERY FABRIC OF SOCIETY AND PROMOTES IMMORALITY
I have a confession to make: my guilty pleasure is watching the Maury show. I know. I know. It’s terrible of me and I don’t watch it every day. I suppose I could rationalize it by saying that it has to do with my curiosity at examining the human condition. I could say I’m engaging in some sociological research, but the truth is, it’s like watching a scary movie. You know it might scare the crap out of you, but you just can’t take your eyes off it for some reason.
Every now and again, I see these people – all straight – yelling and screaming at one another about how they got drunk and slept with someone; that the child on the television screen doesn’t look like them and they didn’t believe that one sexual encounter could result in a life being born. I watch them talk about threesomes and not knowing who the father of their child is, but chastising the person they brought to be tested for not “stepping up to be a parent.” I watch them talk about how “it just happened,” and “one thing led to another.”
Tell me something: how are these heterosexual hookups more valid relationships than two women that have loved each other for 15 years and want to enjoy the emotional, social, and legal benefits of marriage? How could this loving lesbian couple be damaging to society when we have straight men attributing their manhood to how man women they can “tap” and straight women using sex as emotional currency? How are two men that that dance together on a first date more of a threat than the two straight girls that are kissing at the bar in order to turn on their male counterparts? It is absurd to think that gay relationships and marriage will be the downfall of American Society.
Society is falling apart on its own — without the help of any one specific group. What truly tears at the fabric of society is hate and ignorance. What tears at the fabric of society is the lack of independent thought and subjugation of one’s own beliefs to satisfy another’s agenda. What tears at the fabric of society are a lack of personal responsibility for one’s actions, and a lack of acceptance of those that are different. What tears at the fabric of society is apathy. What tears at the fabric of society is a lack of faith: in one’s God, or oneself, or in one’s own belief system. What tears at the fabric of society is the systematic unraveling of the threads that tie us together. It is our differences that enrich us as a people. Celebrating those differences and enjoying the richness of that diversity is what will bring us together. We can’t call it humanity without it.
MYTH: GAY RELATIONSHIPS ARE MORALLY WRONG OR SINFUL
I was raised in a Christian household and I do believe in God. I also believe in a merciful and understanding God. I believe in a God that does not make mistakes, and since people who are gay are born gay, I guess that means they are not mistakes either.
Ok, that sounded way too logical.
Let’s try this: Doubters quote the Bible (Leviticus Chapters 18 and 20) when asserting that gay relationships are an abomination (Although it only mentions men lying with men, and not women lying with women.)
Let’s consider that, according to the Bible, we are all born sinners. Let’s also consider the fact that the Bible also condones polygamy, and condemns adultery. Women are forced to bear the pain of childbirth and experience monthly reminders of this fact because Eve seduced Adam into eating from the tree of knowledge. Women are also heralded as powerful human beings that can sustain life within our own bodies and who should be honored as mothers.
Envy, greed, wrath, vanity, gluttony, sloth, and pride…. all deadly sins, yet we are all equally guilty of them regardless of our sexual orientation and not as a result of it.
It is easy to call gay relationships sinful because it is easy to condemn something if you view it as strictly a political issue. I don’t look at the issue as political. I look at it as personal. I have wonderful, loving, amazing friends and to me, it would be un-Christian of me to judge them and their relationships based on one bible verse written thousands of years ago.
Each individual is responsible for his or her own mortal and immortal fate. I’m not God. I will not judge them. I will love them and accept them as they have accepted me. I will enjoy their kindness, their intelligence, their humor, and all the other wonderful things about my friends and respect their choice to live and love as they please, just as they respect my right to do the same.
A FINAL THOUGHT ABOUT GAY MARRIAGE
I’m not trying to be politically correct in my support of gay marriage. I speak only for myself: not my employer, or my family, or anyone else. Having lived a little more than 40 years, I’ve learned a thing or two about love. I have been married, divorced and remarried. Am I better than the gay couples that I know who have been together for 15 to 20 years with the same person? No.
Love transcends many things: age, race, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, etc., but even with this truth, it is still the most elusive emotion when it comes to connecting with another person. It is so hard to find someone to love in these trying times. It is so hard to meet someone that you can be yourself with – Someone with whom you can share your dreams and your secrets and your fears. How dare anyone say that love can’t transcend gender as well! How dare anyone say that two people that share a bond of love can’t be together because they are the same sex! I believe that two mature, unrelated, consenting adults should be able to share their lives together and get married if they so choose. I believe they should enjoy the benefits and protections that marriage can provide. I believe that love, real love, is stronger than anything – especially politics.