Joseph is an inactive gay member of the church (for now). Still waiting for new revelation on gays and the priesthood.
Ten years ago, if you would have asked me what I thought about gay marriage, I probably would have chuckled and said it will never happen. The next thing I would of probably mentioned was that gays aren’t capable of being married. Having only started living a gay life at that time, my perception of gays and gay life did not allow for the idea that gays were commitment oriented. My experiences were leading me to believe a lot of very different things altogether.
Move forward 10 years to today and ask me what I think about gay marriage and you will find me nodding, even somber and considerate. You might wonder what it is that would cause me to see things differently. There is one thing that I can think of, and that’s love. Not the bubble gum love that comes and goes so easily, but the kind of love that tugs you, holds you, completes you. Back then I was so quintessentially naïve about what it meant to be gay, but today I understand completely. Being gay means that I choose a companion, a lover, and a best friend who is the same sex as me. That’s all it means, it doesn’t mean that I live my life differently.
I must confess, that the idea of special legislation to grant me ‘civil unions’ and ‘domestic partnerships’ has a tendency to push my angry mo button. That’s not to say that I get my hackles up over every little thing, but let’s be honest here, why do I need to have special rights? Conservatives are so focused on the idea that the word marriage is so fundamentally fused with God, righteousness and sanctity, that the very idea that it could be used to define any union might undo the very fabric of life, as they know it.
But that’s just it isn’t it? It’s the only life they know, therefore, it’s the only life that matters. Under this umbrella of thought though, other lives are co-existing. By other lives, I mean people just like me, people outside the ring of privilege. Every day I go to work, earn my income, buy groceries for dinner, fill my car with gas, come home to my family, make dinner, do dishes, talk about my day, pay my bills and crawl into bed exhausted, knowing that I’ll have to do it all again tomorrow. And just like everyone else, I’ll do it, because I know that the reason that I do so is to contribute to the well being of my family, to make a home for us to live in together, to provide shelter, sustenance, security and hopefully a secure future.
No one does this as a knee jerk reaction; they do it out of love and commitment. They do it because it gives them purpose. There was a time that I didn’t believe in gay love, because I thought that gay love was different. I know now, that love is love, no matter who it is and that no law, no religion, no group of people can decide who loves whom. I found love in Nicholas. I found purpose and meaning in my life with him. Together we struggle, we succeed, even lose sometimes, but we do it together. Our combined efforts strengthen us and bring us closer together; sometimes they even push us apart.
It’s easy to look at it this way, from a political, personal rights type of view. What I wonder is if anyone ever just stops and looks at it from a different one? Just for a moment stop, think and wonder what it means to a couple to get married. It seems to me that there is so much tension built up around some kind of sanctimonious attitude about what marriage is supposed to be, that no one is really considering what marriage really is.
When I think of marriage I don’t see dollar signs (unless it’s regarding the price of the wedding…ugh), insurance claims or tax deductions. When I think about marriage and why I would want to get married, I think of my family, my friends and my community. By getting married, I see my partner and I standing before all of them, showing my parents that I have chosen to share my life with an individual who gives me unconditional love, who makes me feel complete and who I give my unconditional love and support to. We take vows and promises in front of our friends and community, to show them our commitment, to give them confidence in our roles as members of this society. Our parents’ bear witness to the love and encouragement that they have given to us our whole lives, in the hope that we will find happiness, love and joy.
Marriage is more than rights and privileges, it’s commitment, it’s strength and it’s about love. In the world today, other countries are recognizing this and granting marriages with rights to gay couples. Our friends in London will be celebrating (without us sadly) this June. I can’t tell you how happy I am for them and how ever so slightly, with little bits of bitterness, just how jealous I am. Because you see, with their union will come guarantees for each other; the life they build and invest in together will be protected and reserved only for them.
When I get married, it won’t be for a political statement; it will be because it’s within my right to choose whom it is that I will dedicate my life to. I will do it because I have found with in that individual all that I require physically, mentally and emotionally from another person. Okay, so maybe there are some things that don’t quite come with the package, but that’s what girlfriends (no, not that kind of girlfriend either…remember, I’m gay) are for, right? I understand that love is flawed and that there are ups and downs to being in a relationship. It’s not perfect. Or, maybe that’s what makes for the perfect marriage, the knowledge that it is flawed; that it has weak spots that need tending. Regardless, it’s within each of us to discover for ourselves what it is that fulfills us in marriage, not churches and governments.