So the other day, Hilary Clinton announced her support for gay marriage. This follows other well-known politicians on both sides of the aisle, and reflects a change in public opinion. Supporting gay rights is safe for politicians and so they’re all rushing to do it. A Gallup poll from November 2012 found that 53% of adults believe that same-sex couples should have the same rights/status as a traditional marriage.
Ronald Reagan once said that all great change in America happens around the dinner table. I believe that.
You see, when I was growing up, if someone called you “gay” or a “faggot” it was a pretty grievous insult. Now being gay is in… accepted… a part of TV sitcoms, hit movies and pop culture. It might even be “cool” to be gay in 2013. My own children see sexual orientation as irrelevant, which is probably just as the LGBT community wants it.
I’m proud of that, actually, because it shows how far we’ve come as a society. Once having a gay family member was something you didn’t talk about, now I won’t be surprised if a member of my own extensive family, or perhaps a child or niece/nephew, will one day reveal this sexual preference and ask for acceptance.
In my mind, who you choose to sleep (gay or straight) with in none of my business, and certainly no reason to stop loving a person, or to cut them from your life. It seems like many straight people harbor this silly fear that somehow they’ll be “turned” gay just by associating with a gay person. Nonsense.
Where you lose me is the marriage part. Why do gay people WANT to be married? Straight people sure aren’t setting a great example considering the divorce rate in this country. Marriage is hard work. It’s commitment and sticking it out when it’s hard. Aside from insurance benefits, healthcare rights, rights to adopt and such that are entirely understandable, don’t gay people want to be different (better) from the straight world?
Is marriage so awe inspiringly wonderful, such a state of pure, endless bliss that to deny same-sex couples this estate would be against the laws of man and God? Marriage is a longstanding tradition to be sure, defined for all time as a union between one man and one woman. Sorry, but that’s what it is… no constitutional amendment needed.
If we want to give same-sex couple the chance to be legally recognized as a couple — something our civilized world has yet to do on a widespread level — fine. Just don’t call it marriage. Call it something else because it IS something else.
Of course I can see why civil unions, as they are now, are not entirely satisfactory. Sure a couple can still have a lovely ceremony and celebration, with an anniversary to mark each year. That’s just not enough — these couples must have all the rights of a traditional married couple. They must be considered in all ways that matter, a family, united in a contemporary way that is legal, binding and recognized by everyone.
Unfortunately, that’s not where we’re at today,
Which seems stupid. Gay people aren’t going away (nor should they) and we, as a society, need to make an allowance for this new form of family. Civil unions do this, and keep traditional marriage intact, distinct.
And then, don’t we have bigger problems to argue about than the name given to the ceremony that binds a same-sex couple?