Monthly Archives: June 2011

Straight…but not narrow…

Standard

handsEffective on July 24, the Empire State will become the most populous state (and the sixth) to permit same-sex couples to wed. Gay and lesbians marrying!?  Really? Haven’t they suffered enough? Joking aside, as Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said, “You’re going to see this message resonate all across the country now. If New York can do it, it’s OK for every other place to do it.”  I woke up on June 24th to the news the New York legislature voted to allow same sex marriage and as I scrolled my FaceBook news feed, many of my gay friends were practically dancing in the streets!  And while I am certainly happy for them to be able to marry whomever they please–as I did–I have more concern with the fact our states have a say at all in regards to who gets married and who can’t.  In my not so humble opinion, there should be no man-made law in existence concerning what goes on in America’s bedrooms!

One is accountable to one’s church, one’s God, even his or her family, if he or she chooses…but to be accountable to the government when it comes to matters of the heart, in the matters of marriage?  Further, gay rights (or the laws protecting the lack of gay rights) should not exist at all.  Everyone should be able to enjoy the exact same rights!  Calling them “gay rights” assumes their rights are somehow different than my rights.  Anything short of that is just plain bizarre to me.

But I didn’t always feel this way.  I have always been an advocate of equal rights for everyone; gay, straight, or otherwise.  But it  has taken many arguments, discussions, and soul searching on my part to allow myself to hold the view they should be allowed to marry.  It was I who at one time held the view that if gays and lesbians were allowed to marry, then what next?  I clung to the slippery slope view that if a gay man married his boyfriend, then what’s to stop someone else from marrying his cousin?  Or niece?  The possibility of genetic mutations and birth defects would be such a risk, that no, for the sake of potential offspring, it should never be legal.  That arrangement goes beyond the scope of two adults wanting to marry to including the possibility of children.  I also vigilantly put forth the argument that the increasing number of practicing  Muslims in our country, as well as fundamental Mormons would demand the ability to marry multiple wives.  And you know what?  Let them.  If we are to be tolerant and respectful, then who among us gets to draw the line in the sand?  I may not agree with the concept of multiple wives (although I could easily be convinced to the contrary and would love to have a couple of wives on any given busy Tuesday afternoon), but if we are to be tolerant to one group, then we should be tolerant to all consenting adults in their views on who they deem fit to marry whether we agree or not. Period.

I have come a long way.  As Joseph Joubert penned, “Those who never retract their opinions love themselves more than they love the truth.” And the truth is, some have allowed (myself included) our own prejudices, fears, preconceived notions, media, and our government to cloud our ability to love and accept one another, and we then use those laws created by a misguided moral majority as an excuse to be narrow minded and bigoted.  My thinking, my compassion, my ability to believe what I knew to be true stopped…because I allowed the government to be too strong of a didactic force in my moral beliefs.

I also truly believed the specious view that allowing gays and lesbians to marry would somehow threaten the sanctity of marriage; more specifically my own marriage.  The bottom line is, if you oppose two people of the same sex marrying, then don’t marry someone of the same sex!  Problem solved.   It didn’t take much soul searching to come to the realization that if my marriage fell apart it would not be because gay people were allowed to marry…it would be due to something within my own marriage!  I easily fell into the notion that the “sanctity of marriage” lied strictly in what others did, not in how I valued or strove to preserve my marriage on a daily basis.

When I see or hear of my gay friends or acquaintances who struggle with not being able to engage in a public, legal union with the one they choose, it reinforces my belief that there should be no law for or against such unions.  And from where I stand now, when I see them breath a sigh of relief at being able, in 2011, to marry it just seems way too slow in happening.  }l{