After a week of gay marriage in California, I feel pretty secure in saying whew! We survived! Humanity has not devolved; heterosexual marriage has not eroded into irrelevance, and except for a few shameful protests at the Supreme Court, almost nobody even noticed that gays were getting their matrimony on.
This is the way it should be.
One thing that always bothered me was the legal definition “domestic partnership” or “civil union.” These silly phrases existed for the sole purpose of reserving actual marriage for the people who had the good sense to grow up hetero. Way back, many years before I was born, there was another phrase that sort of tried to accomplish the same thing: “Separate but equal.”
Domestic partnerships, civil unions and other awkward seperate but equal phrasing demeans us all, even the hetero white girls like myself. I’ve read that many gays don’t want to get married, and I have to wonder if they don’t want to be “married” as most of the United States sees it: engage in these not-quite-marriage marriages whose rules nobody quite understands. Saying “I’m married” means something very definite in our society. Saying “I’m in a domestic partnership” means that the person listening needs a law degree to have a conversation with you.
One of the issues under domestic partnerships, and one of the most convincing arguments against gay marriage, is the issue of children. I don’t think that two gay women or men are the ideal parents, but I also don’t think single women, or single men, or even an intact, loving heterosexual marriage produces ideal environments for children. There’s no such thing as the ideal parent, any more than there is an ideal person.
Since the government is not in the business of deciding what ‘ideal’ means, it should be compelled to issue marriage licenses to whomever is of legal age and wants them. The argument that gay marriage degrades all marriage doesn’t make sense to me. Nobody’s marriage makes my relationship any more legitimate. What my neighbors and friends do is nobody’s business but their own; this is what I mean when I say I’m radically neutral. It shouldn’t be an issue. I shouldn’t have an opinion on it any more than I would anyone else’s relationship. To do so seems very presumptuous. If you don’t have something nice to say about my relationship, keep your mouth shut. And do the same for Adam and Steve.