* IN HONOR OF the 659 gay and lesbian couples that married today in New York * I am dusting off this feature written for Gay Chicago Magazine. This was originally published on March 18, 2004 as a Cover Story entitled ‘With This Ring.’ The climate was so heated over gay marriage that the feature was almost not published. – What a difference these past seven years have made!
Give em and inch, they’ll take a honeymoon!
By Venus Zarris
Gone are the days of second class citizens, somewhere maybe, but not in America. Homosexuals are OK to doctor you, nurse you, teach your children how to read, write and count, teach you how to dress and decorate, entertain you, program your computers, sell you anything, fly your planes, police your streets, fight your fires, pay your taxes and whatever else you might need but we’re not OK enough to enjoy basic civil liberties provided to protect our families?
Over 40 million people in this county, the most affluent in the world, live perilously without healthcare. Millions have to chose between food or medicine. Millions can’t find work to support themselves or their families. Terrorists, outside our borders and inside our government, threaten our way of life and peace of mind. But the ‘devastating threat’ of Gay Marriage is so dangerous that our top officials are prioritizing a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist by way of a constitutional amendment banning gay unions of love and commitment?
I have asked but still haven’t been given a sane answer to the question of just how it is that Gay Marriage threatens the institution of marriage itself. “It’s been this way for thousands of years,” is one answer I hear. Well, for thousands they thought the world was flat. When tradition becomes obsolete it needs to be abolished or in this case modified. When institutions no longer serve they must evolve or dissolve.
And evolution is just the thing that Gay Marriage represents. As healthy actualized adults we commit to love. We chose to nest. We establish a family. The landscape of family might look different but it serves the same purposes of nurturing and support. If we chose to, we can procreate or, just like many heterosexual couples, we might not. But what ever we chose, it should have no baring on someone else’s choices and if it does, something is wrong with how you came to your decision.
My parents were married for over 50 years. My father adored my mother and my mother loved my father dearly. There were, of course, conflicts in those 50 years but they were internal. At no time did someone outside of their family threaten the love and commitment that they had for each other. Their brothers and sisters and friends got married, divorced, had children in and out of wedlock, bought and sold houses, experienced alcoholism and drug addiction, changed jobs, experienced physical and emotional abuse, moved to other states, and none of these situations impacted my parents marriage. If our neighbor married a goat it wouldn’t have changed the fact that Mom and Dad were great together.
If George W. Bush and his fellow simple-minded zealots are so easily threatened by gay marriage, they should get some marriage counseling!
The same mentality that brought you keeping women from obtaining the right to vote, slavery, and interracial couples being denied the right to marry, has now focused on a new campaign of ignorance and intolerance.
And this all boils down to the fundamental burning need to separate church from state! I have not heard a single one of these anti-gay activists who do not attribute the origins of their opinions to their religious convictions.
“God created Adam and Eve, NOT Adam and Steve.” they say. That’s the same god that requires the sacrifice of innocent blood to remit sins which just so happened to inspire this years most violent, hyped, and divisive snuff film! (Mel Gibson’s ‘The Passion of the Christ’) That’s the same god that said let your women be silent in the church. That’s the same god that heads a church that has pretty much institutionalized child molestation. That’s the same god that inspires the devastation of indigenous peoples and cultures all over the planet. That’s the same god that inspires some of the bloodiest wars and the most brutal atrocities the world has ever witnessed. Or at least, that’s the same interpretation of God that has brought us such chaos.
Religion is fine if kept under control, just like the use of any other drug. But we don’t need and can’t logically have it govern the direction of the most powerful country on the planet.
Worship, contemplate, theorize about a supreme being if you chose. But keep your theology off of my civil liberties. And shove your separate NOT equal civil union compromise up your self-righteous asses. It would be the moral equivalent of drinking from a separate water fountain and sitting at the back of the bus.
I have seen all manner of dysfunction in heterosexual marriages. I have seen abuse and infidelity and addiction and the list goes on and on. There is NOTHING that homosexual marriage can do to damage the institution that heterosexual marriage hasn’t already perfected. If you love someone and you make it work, it works, if not it doesn’t. Someone else’s relationship is not relevant.
If I chose to marry my partner the legalization of homosexual marriage will not make our love or commitment any more or less tangible, but it will afford us citizenship and security in the body politic that we toil just as hard to support with our taxes and civic commitments. If you don’t approve, don’t send a gift or eat the cake, but you’ll miss out on a fabulous reception! And this country will miss out on a great opportunity to grow up if it continues to flounder in the dark ages of fanaticism.
Fireworks image by Venus Zarris.