I wrote this blog a while ago and never published it, because I try to avoid being political…mostly, but in light of today’s historic DOMA ruling, I am going to go ahead and say it, loud and proud as an ally…I love you. I don’t care who you are. I don’t care who you love, or what consenting adult you choose to have sex with. I don’t care if you’re a sequin loving man who dances with abandon on a google eyed float in a speedo at Pride Fest, or a corporate lawyeress (that’s the correct term, right?) with a loving wife at home. I love you if you’re a housewife with two kids and a doting husband, and I love (but not in that way) your husband too. I don’t really give a damn what you do in your bedroom, as long as you first do no harm. I care about love. And love is what won today.
Marriage is not about procreation. At least mine is not. My husband and I waited almost six years after getting married before we chose to have children. That is because, for us, marriage is not about propagating the species, but about bettering humankind through a bond of love, service, and understanding. On a similar tack, marriage and sex are not mutually exclusive. If I had to choose tomorrow between having my partner and best friend with me, or being able to have sex with him, (sorry, honey) but the sex would take the fall every time. I love his laugh. I love his support and kindness. I love that he does dishes. I love to watch him with our daughters. Sex is awesome, yes, but he is where my love lies. Not in his manparts. I have no doubt that you feel the same way about your chosen partner, regardless of their gender.
I recently had a conversation with an “on-the-fence” friend that opened my eyes a bit on this issue. For me it has always seemed like a no-brainer, but maybe you don’t know any gay people. Maybe the only example you have before you is what you see on TV, or what you have heard about from family or church. It may be that you genuinely think that there is something devious, or wrong, or other in the nature of the love between two men, or two women. If that is the case, then I encourage you to seek out members of the LGBTQ community. Fear lies in the unknown, and misconception. I am lucky. I can see that now. Some of the very first truly deep and lasting friendships that I made were with members of the LGBTQ community. I have always been in the position of seeing decided lack of otherness, and their struggles up close. I have always been aware that no one, especially as a teenager in today’s world, would choose that level of fear, insecurity, and ridicule. It is a unique perspective, and one that not all Americans get to have. Fear based on actual ignorance and indoctrination is blameless. Fear based on willful ignorance and refusal to get to know anything about the object of your fear…that is unconscionable. We are talking about people. Boys, girls, men, and women, just like you, just like your children; Full of life, and love, hopes, and dreams, joy and sorrow. Who are you to say that anyone is not equal, is not worthy of love? Make a gay friend. It will change your life for the better… as all friendships do.
But, back to marriage. So, if marriage is not about procreation, then what is it? Well, let’s use the old valedictorian speech standby, and check the online dictionary, shall we?
“the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage…”
That’s Mirriam Webster, folks, the go-to for defining things since 1806. (And it is an American company, so you can’t chalk it up to foreign laws.) The way I see it, it comes down to this…in the United States, at this point in time, there are two different types of marriage. But those types are not same-sex, and traditional, they are church and state.
You are legally married, not when the leader of whatever church you choose said, “I pronounce you,” but when you sign on the dotted line and mail off the form to the government. That is legal marriage, and for many people that is the end of it. Courthouse, sign on the line, boom…married. Most people, even most (though not all) religions, recognize this as the act of getting married. For some people, there is also a spiritual marriage. That is the union of souls (or whatever term you choose) that takes place in front of your god, your family and friends. It is a beautiful thing. It is a wonderful concept, but it is not necessary for a legal wedding. A legal marriage is about the combining of property, the equal division of rights in a partnership, and the protection of the other partner in case of accident, emergency, or death. There is nothing in the fine print about the gender preference of either partner….because that would be considered discrimination…under the law of the land. In short it is a fact that legal marriage has nothing to do with sexual preference. At all.
I wanted to try to leave religion out of this altogether, but in bringing up a spiritual marriage, I sort of opened that door, so here is my own personal two-cents on the issue of spiritual marriage. Spiritual marriage is a union of souls. I believe souls to be genderless. I believe that our earthly bodies are just vessels, and that the shape of that vessel is of little consequence. I believe that what is important is how we love. I believe that God is love. I believe that if we are to, “leave all things and follow me,” that means we should cast off worldly conceptions of beauty, physicality, sexuality, and the need to have all of the things, and follow the examples of the enlightened beings who have gone before. I believe in loving my neighbor, and in my neighbor’s right to love as they choose. I believe that sex and love are not mutually exclusive. I believe that to make sex and love synonymous is to do a disservice to the idea and the reality of love. I believe that while sex can be loving, and beautiful, and wonderful, it can also be brutal, manipulative, forceful, and used as a weapon. I know that love can only be love. By its very nature it is pure. It is the light that we all… all…carry inside. I am not sex. I am not a vehicle for procreation. I am not the pre-ordained other half of anyone else. I am a vessel of light and love, sufficient unto myself, and freely made to give that love as I see fit, and so, I believe, are you.
That being said, if you disagree, if your fundamental or religious beliefs vary, okay. I support that. If you don’t want gay people in your life, in your home, or to be spiritually married in your church…I disagree with you on an emotional and moral level, but legally I support your right to that dissent. That does not change the fact that legal marriage, marriage by the law of the land, is a fundamental right of all Americans. Support of the act of being gay is not the issue, (well, it is not the legal issue). You can, in fact, support equal marriage rights, and still maintain your opposing beliefs on the marriage of souls.
I am lucky. I am so incredibly lucky to be free from the burden of this dilemma. I cannot even imagine how difficult, it must be for truly good people who have been indoctrinated against all things gay to try to wrap their heads around this debate. I have had many conversations with, “on-the-fence,” friends, and I see how crazy-making it can be for them to try to hear their hearts through years of being told what to believe. I know that the firestorm and backlash regarding the Supreme Court’s decision not to uphold DOMA is just beginning. I know that, although I see this as a victory, there will be hard times ahead on both sides of the fence. It is my sincere and deepest hope that we can learn to look on one another through the light of love. Because I do… I love you… Whoever, and however you are, and I am always ready to talk.