I Believe in Marriage

Carl - San Francisco, California
Entered on October 21, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65
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I believe in marriage. My marriage is the primary source of joy, strength, comfort, solace and contentment in my life. I believe that even though roughly half of all marriages end in divorce, on average married people are healthier than single people and live longer, because we take care of each other. I believe that human beings need intimate relationships of love and trust to thrive, and that adults tend to be happiest as committed and faithful couples. I believe that any two adults willing to make that commitment to each other should have the right to enjoy the personal, social, legal and financial status and benefits of marriage.

I’m a straight man who for the last 32 years has lived in San Francisco; there are more of us than you might think. I believe that homosexuality is analogous to left-handedness. A minority of people are born left-handed. It may not be noticed right away, and doesn’t make much difference in early childhood. Left-handedness is not a choice, it is not a “life-style,” and it is in no way a threat to right-handedness. It is not contagious. Telling children that it is OK to be left-handed, and allowing them to interact with left-handed friends and teachers and parents, does not make them any more likely to become left-handed. Left-handed people rarely try to convert right-handed people to become left-handed; the reverse is far more common, especially until fairly recently. In the past, being left-handed was considered sinister, as opposed to dexterous or adroit.

Obviously, like most analogies this one breaks down at some point. Left-handers may be inconvenienced when they want to use scissors or play a guitar, but they do not face disapprobation and ostracism from much of society. Sexuality is far more complicated and mysterious and potentially disturbing than handedness, more deeply rooted in our psyches and our culture. Yet this analogy seems to me much more useful and humane and even Christian than the notion that homosexuality is an abomination and that gay people deserve to be treated as second-class citizens.

I believe in equality under the law, and in the separation of church and state. I believe that the civil rights of all Americans, including the right to be legally married, must be protected, regardless of race, gender, creed, or sexual orientation.