Whether we want to participate or not, we find ourselves engaged in
innocent conversations of a deeply rooted emotional debate, which is seeking societal answers to questions of equality for all of our citizens. Should same-sex couples be allowed the same rights as married couples?
This is a very difficult discussion for me personally. I have many dear friends who enjoy same-sex relationships. For them, I want nothing less than to see their dreams fulfilled while living the life they chose, free of the hardships that arise from inequality. Some of their dreams are simply to enjoy the same rights in law as granted to heterosexual couples.
I also have many dear friends who enjoy heterosexual relationships. For these friends too, I want nothing less than to see their dreams fulfilled while living the life they chose. They perhaps simply want to preserve for them, what has been a lifelong ambition in becoming husband and wife, enjoying a solemn responsibility of caring for each other, and for their children.
Neither of these desires need to be mutually exclusive. From what I know with friends on each side of the debate, I see it is the media who has played a role in exaggerating feelings and creating the divide. Through the media one would gain belief that the opposition to same-sex marriage comes from “old fashioned” religious beliefs or traditions, or even worse; homophobic hatred. This has created an environment where stating logical feelings, quickly become expressions of political incorrectness.
A recent example is Bill O’Reilly stating, “…the other side hasn’t been able to do anything but thump the Bible.” Religious traditions may have led some to their position, yet it is clearly reasonable for us to assume the majority gain their perspective from reason and experience. I rely deeply on my inner belief, that people are good, and what is best for all will eventually be achieved.
We are engaged in a fight that is no longer about rights, it is about a word; marriage! Lets pick away at some of the emotion and look inside to what may be creating the chasm. Should all individuals in our country be allowed similar rights of companionship no matter who it is they chose as a partner?
I think it is clear to all parties, that the relationship between man and woman, no matter what we call the union; is a critical part of society. The existence of a traditional family must play a major role in promoting any good for a healthy civilization. Two men, or two women united is nothing like a man and a woman creating a family together. For those of us who believe in giving rights to same-sex partners, we must also admit, that while these relationship may be rewarding, or even provide for happiness between partners; they are entirely different in character.
I will never forget the day I became a father. When my son was born, it was as if I had been hit by a Mac truck. I stood in amazement at the beauty of creation, while bewildered in disbelief that I was now responsible for this child. I thought, “I’m a Dad” over and over again. Nothing can describe the joy felt, while simultaneously fearing my personal inadequacies. I then realized where I fit in, and how I would be able to contribute.
I think it was much more than my religious upbringing, or simply tradition that lit my fire. This feeling came from deep within my soul, which has only grown over time and duplicated with the years that followed, and with each daughter born after. Through this experience, and several since, my bond (marriage) with my wife has made me a better person. Who I became is more than I had any idea of becoming.
Through my experiences, I feel deeply that two men creating a family, or two women for that matter, will never equal the abilities of a woman and a man together. Additionally, I sense that a child is denied their need for a relationship with a mother and a father. There are times my son needs his mother. Only she can fulfill certain needs he has had while being raised. If for nothing more than a tender moment with a simple kiss, and the warmth only a mother can give.
Adversely, I hope there have been moments in which my daughter’s have found comfort in a bear hug, and/or times their needs could only be satisfied by a father. Every day presents itself with a million different things, both small and large; where the parents intercede with their children. A mom interacts differently than a dad, to take either from the family is to deprive the child of what they need and deserve.
These type of relationships help us grow, change, and develop into individuals who can deal with the ever challenging world and have a strong foundation of understanding. This debate is eroding the traditional American family. It is the culture of our society. The more government intrudes into our lives through weakening the family, the more they feel free to insert themselves into parts of our lives.
Marriage is not flexible term. It offers what is best for our children, which is then what is best for our society. We shouldn’t alter its definition, and by doing so deny our future generations what we have all been so richly blessed with.
I delight in the fact that today, I see the prejudice against gays far less offensive than it has been before. Offering a different solution to the need isn’t a statement against anyone, rather, it is simply support of a long standing, proven, mutually beneficial tradition.
I without hesitation support my friends right to engage in a union allowing similar benefits to traditional marriage, but by its own name and definition. Marriage is aggrandized through the media. I would bet the majority of couples seeking same-sex marriage aren’t so concerned with the title, but with the benefits. There are other avenues available, none of them require quick judgement in court, or through extreme views discussed in the news.
Let’s work together to find an equitable solution, one that leaves in place an existing tradition with a necessary and proven track record. I fall back once again, on my belief in the good of man, and that if given time, they will aways do what is right…
I’m really glad you’re trying to tackle this issue (picture me raising one eyebrow in your direction!). Frankly, I’m surprised you’re even thinking about it given all the other things you’ve got going on. But then again, one of my dear friends is a devout Mormon and he came to me a year ago and asked, “Can you explain medical marijuana to me and why people want to legalize it?” I said, “Three words. Affordable health care.”
Marriage appears to many to be the issue that will crack the planet apart and destroy society as we know it. Well, good. I’m almost 60 years old and have been with my partner going on 7 years. I have twin daughters and four grandchildren. But damned if my partner and I could adopt any more child-noooooo, not here. Have you looked at the statistics for child abuse of kids of gay partnerships? There aren’t any. We don’t abuse our children. And we are not spouse abusers like heterosexuals, either. Interesting, right? Our planet is cracking apart, fast! Change is coming and it’s already here; to wit: Tell me how me marrying my partner will alter the face of the planet in a bad way? You can read to the end of the interwebs the arguments pro and against gay marriage. I’m not sage enough to offer the right argument to change YOUR core values, nor can you proffer ones to change mine.
I live in this country because of my freedoms guaranteed to me by law and I choose to live here. I don’t choose my gayness, I am gay like you are heterosexual. I was born this way, happily so. Pay attention to the rest of the world-other countries that allow gay marriage, gays in the military, full benefits for gay spouses, gay scouts. You may never understand why gays should have equal rights and how ‘marriage’ between gays will not crumble your world, your faith or your family. That’s okay. We ask that you don’t step on our rights to be human, to be equal, to be treated the same in our partnerships as you. I’m not a lesser citizen, a lesser person because I want to get married to my beloved. I support our Constitution…and we are all equal under the law (or is it just white males are equal under the law?-sorry, I digress). Just stay in love and turn down the volume in your ears for the rhetoric coming at you from both sides.
And while you’re at it, make sure you’re a friend of Sister Dottie S. Dixon on Facebook. She will be able to shed more light on the matter.
Babs- thank you so very much for being willing to share and for enlightening me! 60, really, time flies… I smiled while reading about grandchildren, how exciting. Please let me know if I can ever help you!
To both Jaren and Babs,
Reading both of your comments was wonderful. I could feel the alchemy of the situation shifting and changing. One perceptive hetero and one perspective pro same sex. Where do I land? Right in the middle! How would I vote? Absolutely for same sex marriage. What does it mean by me being the middle? I would like to clear a big bridge where everyones toes touch. Absolutely loving partners should have the same privilege of marriage.
Below are the excerpts from your blog that marriage equality proponents (myself being one of them) would likely take issue with, and the reasons they would not agree (my opinion).
–“Two men, or two women united is nothing like a man and a woman creating a family together. For those of us who believe in giving rights to same-sex partners, we must also admit, that while these relationship may be rewarding, or even provide for happiness between partners; they are entirely different in character.”
This opinion would probably come across as offensive and unfounded. To any happy couple, gay or straight, the dynamics of relationships are the same, only differing when it comes down to actual sexual relations, for obvious reasons, but aren’t necessarily any less fulfilling nor dynamic. Nearly all recent (and unbiased) studies of same gender parents/couples have found kids raised in those homes are just as healthy as kids raised by heterosexual couples. (google for more details).
–“Through my experiences, I feel deeply that two men creating a family, or two women for that matter, will never equal the abilities of a woman and a man together. Additionally, I sense that a child is denied their need for a relationship with a mother and a father. There are times my son needs his mother. Only she can fulfill certain needs he has had while being raised. If for nothing more than a tender moment with a simple kiss, and the warmth only a mother can give.”
Potentially offensive for the same reasons as above. The assumption is that each gender is only capable of certain attributes and that unless both genders are present in parenthood, the child’s needs may not all be provided for. Again, this has been found to be a false assumption based on stereotyped parental roles. No two parents, regardless of their gender, has every attribute under the sun desirable for successful parenting. Often the roles are reversed even among heterosexual marriages where the father is the nurturer and the mother more of the disciplinarian. In most cases, we all compromise and learn new skills in parenting, as true for same gender parents as it is for heterosexual parents.
–“This debate is eroding the traditional American family. It is the culture of our society.”
If families or “traditional marriage” has been eroded over previous decades, it really can’t be pinned to LGBTs, who currently don’t even participate in the right of marriage. My opinion is that allowing marriage equality actually strengthens the institution, allowing thousands of people to join their loved one in the bonds of marriage just as they have witnessed their heterosexual parents, friends, and siblings do their whole lives. It is the fear of the unknown that drives unfounded assumptions as to what may happen when marriage equality inevitably arrives. Look to the countries that have had marriage equality for years or decades to realize that those societies have not been harmed by extending this right.
–“Marriage is not flexible term. It offers what is best for our children, which is then what is best for our society. We shouldn’t alter its definition, and by doing so deny our future generations what we have all been so richly blessed with.”
If the term “marriage” only applies to couples capable of reproduction, then those straight couples incapable of reproduction, or those marrying beyond the age of child bearing should also have their unions redefined and removed from the umbrella of “marriage”, or at least that is what your argument alludes to and how it is being interpreted by the courts. This argument also begs the question of how you define your union when you become empty-nesters, no longer birthing or raising children.
–“I without hesitation support my friends right to engage in a union allowing similar benefits to traditional marriage, but by its own name and definition. Marriage is aggrandized through the media. I would bet the majority of couples seeking same-sex marriage aren’t so concerned with the title, but with the benefits.”
It would not be truly equal under a different definition, just as blacks were not truly equal when asked to move to the back of the bus, or to use different restrooms, drinking fountains etc. The legal benefits are definitely part of what the movement is after, but just gaining the same rights without access to the “marriage” term falls short of defining what marriage equality is really about: two people in love, devoting to share their lives together, through thick and thin, for better or worse. Those in this movement don’t see how allowing LGBTs access to the same term takes anything away from straight couples. Straight couples won’t suddenly fall out of love just because gays are allowed to marry. The only difference is that what straight couples have had for centuries, will now be available to gay couples. If straight couples should feel anything about gay marriage, it should be joy, just as you experience joy when your own children join a partner in marriage. That is true compassion and equality in my opinion.
I sense the good intentions in your blog. The difficulty is realizing how our own biases blind us from fully understanding the opposing arguments, and subsequently making statements that others interpret as discriminatory and so forth. Hopefully your friend will recognize your intent, but it may take some reconsideration of the issues on your part for them to get over their hurt. I can’t say for sure what they took issue with though. Their reasons may not align at all with my opinions. I wish you luck with your friend.
Micah, as always, I appreciate your insight and willingness to share…