“Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die?”—Shylock, Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare
Unfortunately for those near and dear to my being, I am known to be neither discrete nor politically correct at any given time. So, again, I warn the vast public at large…I am about to get controversial. I wish I could say that it bothered me if others were offended. The best that I can promise is publish all comments and consider all “rational” discussions without bias as to my own position.
Here is a scary fact. In the state in which I live, because I am a notary, I can marry people. Crazy huh? I always tease The Marine that if times ever get hard I will just down to the local flea market on Saturdays and start a marriage service. But in truth, to me, marriage is one huge commitment. Granted…it is not perfect and for some it goes terribly wrong. Marriage can be the largest pleasure your heart will ever feel. It can also be the deepest despair your soul will encounter. And most days, marriage is a stable mix right there in the middle.
When I was married, I vividly remember the words that I promised to uphold:
To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse,
for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health,
to love, to honor, and to cherish, till death do us part.
These words might seem quite simple, but anyone who has ever been married will tell you…they are not simple at all. I guess that it why we get married early in life. Good sense and experience will take the puppy dog innocence away faster than you can say the words “I do.” With that in mind, it is my sincere hope that people never stop uttering to the words “I do” with the quiet sacred commitment and deep consideration needed to render two beings as one.
All that said, I am having deep trouble understanding the problems heterosexuals have with same sex marriage. As California removes the ban on same sex marriage this month on the grounds it is unconstitutional to determine the right to marriage based on sexual orientation, I hear time marching backwards as I wonder why it took 7 logical, masterfully educated and experienced people in a 4-3 decision to come to this conclusion. Sadder yet, it was a close decision. Even these “impartial parties” meant to administer the Constitution—no input their own values or beliefs—almost could not reach the decision that telling people they could not marry based on gender or sexuality was as unconstitutional as telling people they could not marry based on race or religion. Once, it was against the law for Germans and French to marry. As I am German and The Marine French, I can only be glad we are no longer a burden to the morality of humanity at large.
I have heard the arguments against homosexual marriage and they concern me on a deep level. For example:
- Marriage was meant to produce children. This is a favorite of mine because I have been married for almost 20 years without any children. Does that mean I am not legally or morally married? Does it mean that the thousands of couples that choose not to have children are not legally or morally married? Should we have to commit to having children as part of our marriage license to get married? News flash: There are thousands of domestic partners raising children right now with a grace and bliss that I could not muster. Shouldn’t we want to teach children instead that marriage is a institution for people that love each other?
- The Bible says….To me, this whole argument is sacrilege of the worst kind. I believe in God and I am a completely spiritual person. And, with every part of who I am, I wonder how anyone can look at the Bible with a catch all attachment for the words subscribed to paper by men. I can easily pull quotes from the Bible that support or deny any position or discussion. Moreover, I remember a passage that says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5).
- Gay marriage degrades the sacred institution of marriage between a man and a woman. Huh? Not sure how. I am just as married today as I was yesterday…and will be tomorrow. The things that degrade the value of marriage in my life are not what others do. It is what I do myself. That argument is illogical because it is like saying people who commit adultery degrade the institution of marriage. Only their own marriage. My marriage is not at all affected by the way in which others live their lives.
- AIDS / HIV / Disease. These diseases are spread through sexual contact. It seems only logical to want sexual partners…no matter their sexual orientation…to practice safe sex. Or, even better idea, what about a committed relationship that keeps partners together with the shared goals of “forsaking all others?” I am ALMOST sure I have heard that somewhere before! Plus, here is a small amount of confusion for the brain. If domestic partners are allowed to be married, doesn’t that mean they are allotted health care benefits under the law just like heterosexually married couples?
Imagine for a moment…
- Being told that the person you have committed your life to in a legal ceremony is no longer your spouse because the state you live in has annulled your marriage.
- Having to stay in one or two states within the freedom of the best place on the planet—America—to live, work, and raise your children because your marriage would not be legal in any other state.
- Not being able go with your spouse to see the Statue of Liberty, Las Vegas, or Mardi Gras because you are not married if you leave the state you live.
- People hating you because of the person you love and want to marry.
- The state dictating who you can marry.
Now…read the marriage vows again. I ask you…what is in those marriage vows that denotes sexual orientation as a consideration for love or marriage?
One more thing…I can marry people because marriage is not a religious ceremony that requires the ordination of a religious person. Marriage, by law, is a legal contract between two private parties…much like a business deal with dissolution terms (divorce), the exchange of assets to show good faith (rings), and merging of entities (sex). It is marriage—not because of the words or the actions. It is marriage because there is love present. And, if there is love present, then there are no moral, ethical, or legal power that should denying that marriage. ~~Dee