Last week U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker made a decision: Proposition 8, the California ballot measure that made same sex marriage illegal in 2008, is unconstitutional.
There will be an appeal. There is an uproar. Proposition 8 supporters, the people who don’t think gay people should be allowed to marry, say that gay marriage threatens traditional marriage and that the definition of marriage can not be changed.
The definition of marriage, though, has been constantly redefined for ages, most famously when Henry the Eighth made divorce legal – so he could get some.
On a smaller scale, every person who has a marriage defines it differently from others. Just listen to how people respond to this issue from the same side: “I think gay people should be allowed to marry, they should get to be as miserable as the rest of us.” That’s a completely different definition of marriage than that of the person who says, “Gay people should be allowed to marry because there’s nothing better than spending your life with your best friend.”
Marriage, at it’s heart, is an extremely personal and intimate thing – a closed group consisting of two people – unless, of course, you live in Utah or a middle eastern country. Monogamy itself was at one time a change to the standard definition of marriage. That’s right, marriage was at one time defined as the union of a man and as many underage girls as he could afford.
To me, though, this discussion about whether or not gay people should be allowed to marry is not really about redefining marriage or fears that the change will threaten traditional marriage. People who cheat, divorce, treat their spouses without love and dignity and an Elizabeth Taylor wedding are the real threats to traditional marriage. All of those things happen regularly and yet the institution of marriage survives.
The discussion is about discrimination and if you are not sure that’s the case take ‘gay’ out of the marriage verbiage and replace it with ‘interracial’. Do you still feel comfortable with it? Most likely not, unless the theme song from Deliverance is in your iTunes most-played list. That tells you that this is just another form of ‘separate but equal’.
Because marriage is a personal and unique situation for every couple the only way the marriage of another couple can threaten yours is if you let it. If you let your hatred and fear of what gay couples are doing fester in your mind you will not focus on your own life and your own spouse and your marriage will die. The rest of us, though, we’ll be just fine.
It comes down to the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have done unto you. If you would not be happy having someone dictate the conditions of your American freedom to pursue life, liberty and happiness then it’s probably best not to do that to others because you don’t agree with who those mutually consenting adults love. If you would not be happy being kept from the hospital deathbed of your soul mate because you are not ‘family’, don’t try to take that right from others. Separate is never equal.
I say, ‘Bring on the gay weddings and please invite me. My favorite kind of cake is chocolate… just saying’.