Gay Marriage- Finally Legalized in New York State!

gay marriage

What a triumph. How wonderful for all the people I know and love and even for those I have never met, yet who have been denied this basic right-the right to bond legally. Why shouldn’t everyone, no matter their sexual orientation, be given the same rights that every man and woman who marry have. Isn’t that what it is all about? Aren’t we one step closer to closing gaps of difference?

The child in me persists in desiring that everyone find a way to break through their differences and approach differences with love and integration of spirit. My question has always been: Why can’t we just get along? I do not understand.

The other day I had a chance to be with some dear friends and break bread. It is  important for me to share time with these very special people. Though I do not see them often, when we hang out, there is a comfort that goes unexplained. They know me- I know them- we are used to understanding the varied aspects that women in friendship share. Throughout the years we have certainly discussed topics that we disagreed on, and I was able to separate my perspective from their perspective. You know where I am heading with this, don’t you?

One of us brought up the passing of the vote for Gay Marriage- and some of my friends responded with passion, yet their beliefs were diametrically opposed to mine. I sat there, in dismay, yet struck by a first initial thought, how can I be friends with people who do not see the importance and legitimacy of the right for all people, no matter their sexual orientation, to marry.

“Why can’t we all just get along?” cried my little girl, realizing their differences would only help me to understand another way of thinking about this, and of course, their differences make my life richer for knowing them. How boring would life be if we all thought the same?

Yearning to know more about their viewpoint, I found myself quieting so that I could really be in it.

One person stated that it was an insult to her marriage of many years, and that the institution of marriage was between a man and a women- a strong belief in her church also supported her belief.

Echoing the same perspective, another friend did not understand that the inalienable rights married men and women have was so vastly differently then the rights for those in the gay world. I could see the puzzlement. The obvious frustration they each felt when trying to balance their belief that marriage should only be between a man and a woman and believing that everyone should have the same rights, but for those who are gay just not through the dictates of marriage.

The relationship that seeks a contractual agreement is one where two people are trying to find a way to be equal partners within the relationship while also being recognized within the social norms as being so committed that they have chosen to let the world know what their relationship means.

Marriage is that statement of commitment.

My husband and I recently married after having been “partners” for 9 years. The first question we were often asked upon meeting new people was “So, how long have you two been married” Of course, this is not the reason we married, yet to be able to honor our commitment through our decision to marry, is a shortcut to a commentary about something deeply shared by two people.

To be honest, health care, insurance, property ownership became easier for us after the marriage vows- because as in the relationship between two men or two women- a certificate that is decreed by the state does not solidify the relationship.

If we look at our history it will inform us as to how much change has occurred over the centuries. For women, for blacks and for any one who did not fit into what was considered to be the norm within society. (The norms, by the way, continue to shift, changing with social tides of acceptance, economics and psychology. The church, or religious body, is part of this, as well.)

Let us first look at the history of women and how they have been historically viewed, by the very church that creates the paradigm around gay marriage:

Early Christian theology perpetuated these views. St. Jerome, a 4th-century Latin father of the Christian church, said: “Woman is the gate of the devil, the path of wickedness, the sting of the serpent, in a word a perilous object.” Thomas Aquinas, the 13th-century Christian theologian, said that woman was “created to be man’s helpmeet, but her unique role is in conception . . . since for other purposes men would be better assisted by other men.”

What if women continue to be thought of in this way? Can you imagine a society where women are seen as “…the gate of the devil?”

The history of people of color is ever-present even in 2011, even though our president is a man of color. Before 1870, most Blacks were not allowed to vote. And even when they did get the vote, they could not marry whom they chose to marry.

From Wikipedia:

Interracial marriage in the United States has been fully legal in all U.S. states since the 1967 Supreme Court decision that deemed anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional, with many states choosing to legalize interracial marriage at much earlier dates.

Understanding the importance of difference, it is undeniable that struggle within  history has created ultimate change, When there is strife, questions arise that lead to pushing through differences that results in hopeful modification. Rules and societal norms about women, blacks and now the gay culture shift as the voice and power of people within a culture are no longer willing to be seen as less empowered than anyone else. The economics, politics and religion of a culture help to carve out the voice of the people. When government feels strong, and the people feel verbally impotent, having a voice is so much harder than when a government allows the people to have a voice that is sometimes heard.

Unchartered territory is certainly scary. Face the fear. Go into it. When you do, ah you will be free!

Writing this, my little girl, the girl inside of me, just wants all of us to get along. To be a witness to the changing tide of the laws that some were comfortable with and other were not, is an awesome experience.

Thank you to those who do not have my point of view, you make the discussion of gay marriage provocative, interesting and never-ending. I applaud you in staying your course.

Hooray for those who got what they felt was their right to marry whomever they chose to marry.

“Why can’t we all just get along?” cried my little girl, realizing their differences would only help me to understand another way of thinking about this, and of course, their differences make my life richer for knowing them. How boring would life be if we all thought the same?

Please share your thoughts with me about this topic.

Comments

  1. You are right on. It is a milestone for equality. “What about my state?” people ask. This subject is so emotionally charged. Some become volatile while others just shut down. Aaron Burr said, “Delay may give clearer light as to what is best to done.” Maybe our focus is in the wrong place, and that’s why we haven’t yet evolved into a nation that shares the same privileges no matter the state in which we live. I wonder if our politics, religious interpretations, and life stories block us from the desire to love and understand one another better so that we might have more clarity on issues in order to decide what’s best to be done. If we could each set an intention to understand one another while recognizing everyone as spiritual beings (as you said) and allowing those opposed to our beliefs to express fears without judgement or interruption, then maybe we could all be enlightened…maybe our hearts could heal from painful past experiences…maybe we could become the people we were created to be….and get along. Then, conversations that result may become the catalysts for forward thinking and change as it relates to education, tolerance, equality, etc. I know that is a lot to ask. For now, we can appreciate the sexual freedoms that we do have. We have a long way to go.

  2. It’s hard to believe that it has taken so long for a city like NEW YORK CITY to embrace the right to love and to cherish between two consenting adults. No one, no religion or no country should have the power to deny or not recognize simple human emotions between two individuals. Period. Some people, groups, religions or factions may not “like it” or don’t “believe” in it but that’s a long way off from meaning its wrong or unlawful.

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