“Children need secure and enduring relationships with committed and nurturing adults to enhance their life experiences for optimal social-emotional and cognitive development. Scientific evidence affirms that children have similar developmental and emotional needs and receive similar parenting whether they are raised by parents of the same or different genders.”
As our Supreme Court debates the issue and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the topic of child rearing has been raised more than once. It’s always ironic to me when opponents of same sex marriage bring up children as the reason for their opposition as it implies that only people who can have children should be allowed to marry, and some of the most vocal opponents don’t fall into that category (Pat Buchanan, for instance).
The other argument against it that has always baffled me is the one that stipulates that by allowing gay people to marry, straight marriages are somehow put at risk. That confuses me because it seems to be made by people who think sexual orientation is a choice — well, I guess for gay people it is but for straight people it isn’t (I do not subscribe to this school of thought so I am just guessing) and that these people think the “gay lifestyle” is just so darn appealing that everyone will abandon the lives (and relationships) they have if they were to learn they could legally marry someone of the same gender. (Snark alert: could this be the real reason Michele Bachmann is so anti-gay marriage? Because she has met her husband? I am not sure that marriage would survive this but I can also not imagine living with either of them so …)
As you may have guessed, I am very pro-marriage equality. If you fall in love with someone and they love you back and you want to get up in front of your family, friends and whatever (if any) deity to which you pray and promise to love them forever, good for you. That’s great for both of you and I have no right to deny you that. As marriage is considered a bedrock of our society, something that promotes stability and a host of other things that we typically want to promote, I don’t understand any opposition. If your response is to cite religion, marriages are not codified by religious institutions but by the government. A marriage license is not granted by a church or synagogue or mosque or whatever.
And yet, I am about to do something I normally oppose. I support gay marriage for a host of reasons but I am going to recount a personal story (I am not anti doing that, I just often feel people should care about issues regardless of what their personal experience is with it).
I never want to get married. Not ever. This has nothing to do with my sexual orientation but everything to do with the two marriages that impacted me personally. My mother’s to my my father (a violent sociopath) and her second marriage to a jerk. (And I am sorry, mom, if this offends you but I have said all of this to you so you should not be surprised). My childhood was nearly destroyed by the former and the latter did nothing good for me either — I didn’t even find out about the second marriage until at least six months after the wedding, seriously. Her second husband hated me (he passed away in December). I know there are those who think all women just want to get married. Marriage to me seems like a relic from a different time and more of a way to control people than bring them together. This may be too much information but when I have nightmares about my father, the thing that gets me back to sleep is the understanding that I don’t ever have to get married. Seriously.
But the one argument for marriage is that idea of getting up in front of those friends and family and God, though as a Met fan I am an atheist and committing myself to one person. That feeling is inspired by one wedding I went to that made me undertand the importance of marriage and the injustice of denying it to so may people. Of all of my friends who have married, the couple that has stayed together the longest is two women I know. My college roommate and her girlfriend had one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever attended. It was in their back yard. Watching them take their vows was not only moving but spectacular. If you love people, you want them to be happy and being a part of their special day was just blissful. One woman — speaking to reporters in front of the Supreme Court — said marriage is “magical.” Well, on the day my two friends married, I could see that.
In the years since, those two have gone through a lot. Their adopted daughter lost her fight with brain cancer last year. They have endured the ups and downs that all relationships and families deal with and unlike 99.99 perent of the other marriages I have seen my friends enter, theirs has lasted. Unlike what opponents might want to tell you, marriages all over the area were not destroyed by their union (hell, they do live on Long Island, there are much bigger threats to everything anyone holds sacred there). In fact, the only people really impacted by this marriage are/were the people in it and the people who love them.
A friend of mine once said that he has heard this debate called the “civil rights” issue of our generation. As much as I do care about my friend, he is wrong about this (he opposes same sex marriage) and he is on the wrong side of history. We attended a rally supporting this issue one year (I will post a funny story about that on my personal blog but in my mom’s defense, none of my friends who came to Washington, DC for that rally expected a gay naked man to answer my mother’s door — the fact that he is gay is only relevant to point out that he was not her husband). A number of signs read “It’s a simple matter of justice.” That was right, it is.
Having said that, if you are a Republican candidate and feel the need to prattle on about this issue — Dr. Ben Carson, I am looking at you, and compare homosexuality to bestiality, pedophilia or anything else that the rest of us find repugnant, please keep at it. If that appeals to your voters, well, I hope your election is coming soon because the average age of your supporter is probably somewhere north of 70 and may not make it to the next election cycle. Just sayin’. More snark about that and my family’s naked friend here.