Sunday, June 26, 2011

An Easy Decision

I have never been one to struggle with whether or not to support the idea of gay marriage.  For some reason, it has always simply made sense to me that it was the right thing to do.  My reasoning has never involved more than the an appreciation of the idea that people who love each other should be allowed to cement their bond in a more significant way than just being boyfriends or girlfriends.  Allowing them to exist with the title marriage and ascribing all the rights associated with marriage to their union just made sense.  
Why shouldn’t all the inheritance pass to your loved one?  Why shouldn’t your husband or wife be allowed to visit you in the hospital when ill or make the important decisions when you aren’t able to?  I know I would certainly be pissed if Samantha and I were ever put in the position many gay couples have experienced for years.
I understand that for many people, the moral question of homosexuality dogs the issue.  Christianity regards homosexuality as a sin, and so their stand derives from a position that the church should not allow gay couples to marry.  For me, who has always appreciated the separation of church and state in this country (because of the benefit to both church and state), I have never understood this argument.  The state of New York assigning a marriage certificate to a couple has nothing to do with religion.  They don’t issue Christian licenses separate from Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, or Athiest licenses. 
For me, since church and state are separate, the decision should rest in the values of the secular state, separate from religious institutions.  Those values have been steeped in the language of universal equality, granting all people the same rights.
Personally, I have never been uncomfortable with gay people.  I have an Aunt that is gay.  I remember being in the fifth grade when my parents told me about it and what being gay meant.  I went to school the next day and told my friends my Aunt was a lesbian, and that she loved women instead of men; to me, it was completely natural.  I still feel the same way.  I have had many gay friends, I have had gay room mates.  Gay men have had crushes on me, I have been hit on by gay men, and one friend even kissed me unexpectedly.  I have always treated these situations the same way I would have if a woman was into me and I had no interest in her.
You can certainly see why they were confused, even
though I was not.  I would have had better taste
were I actually gay.
People have thought I was gay, and I was fine with it.  I set the record straight if I thought it was necessary, but I was never upset.  Being an artsy musician in college eager to discover myself, I can understand why they thought that.  At one point my own parents weren’t sure of my sexuality.  I remember talking to my mom on the phone my senior year in college after I went on my first date with my wife Samantha.  When I told my mom that I had a date, she asked very specifically “what was their name?”  I still wish I had thought to say Sam instead of Samantha, just to see her reaction.  It would have been priceless.  Needless to say, I know my parents would have been fine if the answer had been Sam instead of Samantha.
I understand that many people are uncomfortable with gay people.  Gay culture is different than straight culture in many ways.  It tends to be more flamboyant, more unreserved and unabashed, more celebratory in nature.  This description could describe many ethnic cultures living in the United States.  I can sympathize with the discomfort because there are some cultures I am uncomfortable with simply because they are different than what I am used to.  I have never thought to exclude these other cultures from enjoying secular rights and privileges of equality, though. 
People worry that if gay couples adopt, it will spawn more gay people.  Gay is not a disease.  It is not contagious.  I have never believed that homosexuals choose to be gay anymore than I choose to be fair skinned and science is beginning to back this.  They can not simply choose to be un-gay like I can’t choose to be dark-skinned.  Try to convince me that I am not a straight man and you will find resistance; the same would happen when trying to convince a gay person they aren’t gay.  It only makes sense to me that we recognize who people are and allow them to be.
I believe that the nationwide legality of gay marriage is approaching, and much more rapidly than many people suspect.  While the right to marry is currently decided at the state level, constitutional challenges to the inequality of heterosexual only marriage are already in the courts, slowly making their way to the United States Supreme Court.
There is a boon for those who are against gay marriage.  Marriages cost money, $20,000 for the average American wedding.  Estimates on the GLBT population in the US range between 15 and 30 million people.  If half were to marry (and they would marry each other), the financial impact would be significant.  Based on the averages, GLBT marriages would produce between $75 and $150 billion in revenue.
No matter the reason, approving of gay marriage has always been a no brainer for me.  While I am not gay, I see no reason for me to restrict the rights of those who are.  For me, it has always been an easy decision.

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