After hearing far too many people on talk-back radio call in and sound off about gay marriage, I thought I might share my thoughts.
First off, I’m a human. Secondly, I have a wonderful wife and a gorgeous daughter so I guess that makes me ’straight’. Just to get it outta the way, despite the fact my wife has a vagina and I have a penis was a factor in my attraction to her, but I rank that low in importance along with her ability to give good back scratches. I love her on so many levels far beyond a sexual one.
So, what’s in a name?
In this whole debate, I am bombarded with the ‘feel good compromise’ that “you can call it anything, just don’t call it marriage”. While that is kinda generous, it misses the point. Essentially, the word ‘marriage’ is important, but in my opinion, it is secondary to the word ‘married’.
In many anti-gay marriage minds, the phrase ‘gay marriage’ is locked into the distorted image of two guys or two girls standing in a church or the steps of the courthouse, kissing, ‘fighting the power’ and generally hamming it up for the cameras.
While the mass media feeds on this, like most weddings, the opening performance bears small resemblance to the run of the season. ‘Married’ doesn’t start on the wedding day, it starts the day after, once the confetti has been swept away and hang-overs treated with aspirin.
‘Married’ is about committing two things into one entity. It’s about teamwork. It’s living under one roof. It’s compromise. It’s paying bills. It’s dealing with in-laws. It’s getting the car fixed. It’s squashing spiders. It’s fighting over the remote. It’s ‘are you drinking at your work party and do you want me to drive’. It’s the getting of sick buckets at 2am when you’re half asleep and likely to snap but you just want to make your partner feel well. It’s back scratches. It’s fights. It’s pressure. It’s forgetting stuff. It’s birthdays. It’s anniversaries. It’s home-cooked meals. It’s fighting over bed sheets. It’s sitting in your office wishing to be only one place, the front door the second after you walk in and see your partner. It’s life. It’s sitting next to a hospital bed. It’s burying your soul mate. It’s finding a way to keep going without them.
Imagine if I was to meet you on the street and we began to speak. In conversation you mentioned you were ‘married’, all those things I just listed and more would be an instant context point. Unspoken understanding and experiences immediately kick in and a certain language can be spoken.
The phrase “we are married” is so heavy and filled with meaning. It cuts across language, race, geography, religion and socioeconomic levels. To suggest that GLBT people ‘are allowed’ to have those experiences as long as they refer to it as something different seems to me to question the validity of those experiences.
The meaning of the word marriage and married goes far beyond any church steps or courthouse steps. It defines the joining of two people together, bound by love and moving forward with shared experiences. It has wide ranging effects in law, life and society.
Who am I to deny the right of law to someone whose sexual orientation does not match my own?
Who am I to deny the same social context?
Who am I to deny how someone else loves another?
Who am I to deny love?
So, YES to ‘gay marriage’… and call it marriage… cause that will lead to ‘gay married’… and then it can all just be called ‘married’. Maybe then we can get back to what really defines a marriage… Love.