Thursday, January 22, 2004

throwing out history

One of the right wingers quoted below talks about throwing out 6,000 years of history.

If people nervous about gay marriage would calm down a bit, and look at the reality of gay relationships, they would discover that they are a tribute to that history, not a rejection of it. (The same about gay Christians. If we were what our enemies call us, unclean to use the biblical term, why do they think we would live out our lives in a faith community? Don't they ever think that our faith in God must be pretty strong that we would put up with the hysteria, pain and anguish that our presence causes in otherwise normal folk?)

Throw out history? Destroy the sanctity of marriage? Why do we as humans seek mates, share faithful relationships, raise children? Several years ago, at a gay pride parade in Dupont Circle in DC, I saw something that will always stick with me. It was a contingent of same-sex couples, male and female, with a big white sheet on each person's chest marked with a large number. The number represented the number of years each couple or pair had been together in a committed relationship. The numbers ranged from one or two years to either the twenties or thirties. Forget activist judges. These are the folk whom this president, as did the last one, will harm by supporting anti-gay legislation. Sadly, both presidents did it out of cynical political posturing. This latest is even more disturbing because it rachets up the legislation to a change in our constitution, the guarantor of our rights as citizens.

Despite all that is negative in our society towards gay people, particularly in the past, gay folk have built committed relationships, some raising children, others having too many pets. I would not begin to tell you that all those people had perfect, faithful relationships, but I would not make that kind of assumption about all the straight people who identify themselves as married couples.

Many of these gay couples are living out ordinary lives among you. There is nothing exotic about taking out the trash, buying a house together, planning a vacation, paying one's bills, going to church, raising children, learning and struggling together in relationship.

I am no expert on marriage. I must admit that I have certain distaste of the enormous amount of money and energy that is spent on straight folk's weddings, but that's another topic. I have been in a faithful and loving relationship for almost 14 years. Whether the state provides marriage rights or not, whether the institutional church encourages us or ignores us, we have each other. We found each other. What a miracle. What a thing to celebrate, not trash, and certainly not to use as an excuse to wreck a church or amend the Constitution.

And here's the basic truth: we have patterned our relationship on the pattern set before us by our parents. Both sets of parents remained married. Both were active in their churches. That's us today.

One other note. I love my partner, but I got something else from him in this relationship -- a loving and supporting family that accepts and encourges us at every step of the way. I am truly blessed by these wonderful folk.

A gay couple in marriage is the antithesis of anything destructive to marriage. Straight people who want to strengthen marriages ought to look at themselves for why marriages succeed or not.

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