I have three adult children who are in loving relationships. They enjoy sharing time with their partners, visiting museums, taking trips, watching movies. They laugh and cry as one. They love each other and they are affectionate with each other. And one of them is gay.
The issue of gay marriage is once more in the news, but I believe that the surrounding legal battles obscure something deeply personal and fundamental to human nature: a desire to create an intimate bond with a fellow human being. Does gender matter?
Well, ask yourself if race matters when creating that bond. It did once. Although many cry foul and point to the fundamental difference between the procreative value of gender over race, I believe that is nothing more than a mask for this latest display of bigotry.
Nearly 50 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the laws of 17 southern states that prohibited inter-racial marriage, stating that the freedom to marry is a “vital personal right,” part of the “basic civil rights of man.” And I believe it continues to be just that.
Marriage defines us as human beings and neither skin color nor sexual orientation should silence its vows. It creates an emotional and psychological support system that helps us weather the vagaries of life. It provides a structure to lovingly guide our children to a promising future. It establishes a legal framework to two people’s loving commitment. In fact, contrary to the claim of the Religious Right, it does not rend the social fabric, it binds it more tightly. Rather than being seen as a social aberration, same-sex marriage embodies the very spirit of the social norms essential to a healthy and stable society.
I now know this in a most personal and heartfelt manner through my gay son’s relationship with his partner. I have listened to him talk with joy about the good times they share. I have supported him through hard times when tears flowed. I have watched him grow and mature as an individual and I have seen his relationship blossom. He is not a social deviant. He is not promiscuous. He is not angry or militant. He’s just an average young man with dreams, hopes, and aspirations for the life that awaits him.
As a loving and protective parent I find it so sad and even frightening to see angry fundamentalists and hateful homophobes spit venom at gay people who simply want to live and love in peace. They say it is my son’s “choice,” but who would deliberately choose the life of a second-class citizen subjected to discrimination, ridicule, and scorn? My son can no more deny his sexual identity than a person can deny the color of his skin. It is simply a part of who he is.
This gentle soul who is my son wants only what we all yearn for: a rich and satisfying life that he can share with someone special. And I believe that person’s gender is irrelevant.