Marriage equality: Rainbow is hereBaltimore Post-Examiner

Marriage equality: The rainbow is here

This is an open letter to those who say they love gays and lesbians, but just can’t get behind gay marriage. First of all, I ask you, “Why not?”

While simplification and straw man arguments are something to be avoided, I have heard the following arguments and statements fairly often.

“It’s confusing to explain to my kids/their kids/kids in general.”
Really? In my experience, single parenting, divorce, adoption, religion, and even the death of Bambi’s mom are more confusing for children than, say, two loving parents who happen to possess the same genitalia. Please explain what part of “Well, they love each other” is so terribly complicated.

I’ve spent a lot of time around young children, and more often than not it seems that they are the ones with the ability to wrap their heads around less conventional ways of living and loving, not adults. In fact, they generally haven’t formed full-fledged biases for or against the behaviors and legal actions we find challenging to navigate. Maybe we’re confused, not them.

“Homosexual relationships are less stable.”
As opposed to the overwhelming hoard of heterosexual saints out there? I know many examples of the opposite, and I’ll bet you do too. But let’s not settle for anecdotal evidence.

President Obama’s tweet after the Supreme Court announced their decision. (YouTube)

President Obama’s tweet after the Supreme Court announced their decision. (YouTube)

Yes, you can find statistics showing shorter relationships and more sexual partners, but determining stability is a bit more complex than that. Relationship stability usually implies a consistent and honest ongoing relationship with another human being. Some high schoolers have more stable relationships with their girlfriends and boyfriends than their semi-happily-married parents have with one another, according to those standards.

Furthermore, you could point at education statistics (dropout rates, the probability of earning a Master’s degree, et cetera) for many ethnic minorities and find similar “failings.” However, just stop to consider that any group facing continual obstacles will experience more limited success until society has finally torn down a few of those roadblocks long enough for the demographic in question to actually move forward. That’s what this whole “gay marriage agenda” is about: Progress.

It’s hard to run an obstacle course and get the same results as everyone running around the track.

With that said, please don’t get in the way. State your opinion, nicely, and accept that you may miss out on a few fabulous wedding ceremonies due to your beliefs. It has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with the people walking down the aisle, hoping to get a chance at a loving, stable relationship.

“Gay marriage is just the next liberal agenda.”
If you call equal treatment an agenda, then fine. Yes, I’m on board with this agenda. I have this agenda. Let’s all jump up and down pointing fingers at these fiends with an “agenda” to get married. Interracial marriage was once an “agenda” too. So was ending slavery. Having an agenda is not a bad thing, especially when it promotes happiness and respect.

The fact is, if you’re an adult who is in love with another adult, and your union would not result in inbreeding, abuse, or nuclear war, then you ought to be able to send our your invites, buy useless monogrammed throw pillows, and register at all the fancy stores at the mall just like everybody else.

“I have a right to my religious beliefs. You’re actually the one being intolerant, demanding that I change my point of view.”

Yes, you do have a right to your religious beliefs. Furthermore, you have the right to not only believe, them but to practice them! If you “love you neighbor” — including the gays — and “do good to those who hate you”— including the liberal potheads, and you vote regularly to “give to Caesar (the government) what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s” — such as entrusting the government to not make lifestyle choices for people or “judge not, lest (they) be judged,” then perhaps you are getting close to demonstrating some Christ-like behavior.

This is how Christian opponents view the Supreme Court’s decision? (YouTube)

This is how Christian opponents view the Supreme Court’s decision? (YouTube)

I could pick on another group, but what’s that old saying? “Pick on someone your own size?” I know Christians. I was one. I grew up very deeply Christian, willingly going to church into my twenties, and at one point even considering going into “the ministry.” I’m almost thirty now, and an atheist, but I still have enough ties to cement some emotional resonance with Jesus stories, as well as feeling connected to the Christian crowd. My family, many of my friends, and many of the positive experiences and opportunities in my life are connected to this particular religion, and yet I can’t be too soft here.

Look, if there was a religion that banned the watching of all Reality TV shows, I would be a devout believer. I would have a list of The 10 Forbidden Channels on quasi-stone slabs, go to a weekly seminar on the subject of quality entertainment with other believers, and I might even create little pamphlets in an attempt to evangelize. But I wouldn’t try and stop other people from getting hooked on The Bachelor or penalize them for keeping up with the Kardashians.

I simply wouldn’t watch it myself, and maybe I’d secretly hate that I live so close to a couple who regularly follows Dancing With the Stars. I might question their parenting and wonder how their kids would turn out. And yet, that’s all within my rights without infringing upon theirs. My beliefs aren’t asking them to change their way of life, because their way of life simply doesn’t affect me.

The bottom line? Asking someone to simply accept that gay marriage is a human right isn’t asking them to change their views about gay monogamy or gay sex; it’s just asking them to accept those who are gay and want to get married. If you’ve ever attended the wedding of a friend when you felt like they were making a mistake, you’ve already had some practice here.

Supporting people and supporting ideas are two separate things. Here’s how it works: People get to take their pick of consenting, adult, human options when they get married. That’s the idea of marriage — including (gasp!) same-sex marriage. After that possible humdinger of a decision has been made, you can support people by not condemning their choice, even if you personally disagree with it, for whatever reasons (be they valid or illogical).

In any case, our ability to interfere with any person’s marital decisions ends here. At least, it does now that same-sex marriage is legal in all fifty states.

Fundamentally, the main goal of humanity is very much aligned with the primary challenge of marriage: to tolerate differences. And that means allowing people to be openly different. With that said, vive la différence and Congratulations, my fellow Americans, on a new civil rights victory!

Now, on to the rest of wedding season … Oh boy.


About the author

Megan Wallin

Megan Wallin is a young writer with a background in the social sciences and an interest in seeking the extraordinary in the mundane. A Seattle native, she finds complaining about the constant drizzle and overabundance of Starbucks coffee therapeutic. With varied work experiences as a residential counselor, preprimary educator, musician, writing tutor and college newspaper reporter/editor, Megan is thrilled to offer a unique perspective through writing, research and open dialogue. Contact the author.
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