Marriage to Me

From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor’s rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own.
Carl Schurz

Prop 8 passed in California on the same day that Obama was named our first African American president.  While one ceiling broke, another was put back in place for same-sex couples who want the rights and protections that come with being “married”.

Marriage to me comes in two parts.  There is the legal part where you have to sign the marriage license, get names changed, merge accounts, create wills, change tax deductions, add the spouse to medical plans, and do the administrative stuff.

The other part of marriage is the commitment stuff, the love stuff, the passion stuff, the be-together-forever stuff.  This usually takes place in front of your friends and family, and maybe in a church before a minister, or maybe with a justice of the peace.  The legal stuff happens behind the scenes, maybe even before the ceremony, but rarely in front of a crowd.  The legal stuff is what we are talking about.  

A friend of mine while on the drive back from San Diego on 2001-Sept-11 told me what it was like when his partner was dying.  The fear that he may be booted out of the house in which they lived after his death.  The fear that shared assets could be ceased by his partner’s family after the death as they divvy up the estate.  His partner also shared these fears.  They put things in place to try keep my friend in the middle of the life and death decisions.  In the end, he was thankful his partner’s family was accepting and respectful of the commitment they had to each other because it allowed them to spend less time worrying, and more time together before he died.  After the death, this respect continued.  He was very thankful it did, but his story really stayed with me seven years later.

I cannot fathom how it would be, to be in a committed relationship where you may not be able to be with your partner while they are on their death bed because you aren’t officially “family”.  I can’t imagine the fear that cherished things may be lost because the family saw you as a “friend” instead of the partner you were.  I cannot imagine having no say in funeral arrangements after the death of your partner.  These are the realities for same-sex couples.  What happens if one is seriously injured or dies is purely in the hands of family (mom, dad, and siblings).  

I refuse to judge whether or not two people of the same sex can truly love each other the way my husband and I do.  That’s absurd.  And you will never hear me say that my marriage to my husband means less if a same-sex couple is allowed to legally marry.  Why would that be?  My marriage and its meaning is between my husband and me.  We make it work or not work.  Why would it be different with same-sex relationships?

I hate the idea that my friends who are gay don’t have the opportunity to marry and be legally recognize.  I hate it when I hear a friend wonder if he will ever be able to get married because of propositions like this one.  I think the straight people have screwed up the sanctity of marriage, so it is time to see if same-sex couples can bring something  positive back to the institution.

Oh, and I must add, if you would like to see where in the world same-sex marriage is legal, click here .  It is very interesting.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that legal rights of same-sex unions exist in a few unexpected places like Israel and South Africa.

And the last thing I should say, if you are devout Christian and that is your reason for not supporting same-sex marriage, just remember that God will be the real judge – you don’t have to be.  And, if you are a good Christian, you shouldn’t be.

What do you think?

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