There are many purposes served by marriage, the public declaration of the permanence of love between two people: social stability, the encouragement of certain sets of behaviors, provision of loving and positive infrastructure for children and families, financial and legal benefits, among them.
Why should one class of Americans be allowed to avail themselves of these benefits and not others? Specifically, why should only heterosexuals be allowed to marry? Further, why should our society as a whole be deprived of the strength and goodness arising from same-sex marriages?
Here are my thoughts in defense of marriage, posted previously on this blog. Briefly, based on my personal experience and observation, I believe couples of all types seeking to be married should be fully supported in that goal. And now, it seems, our president does too.
Let certain states express bigotry, fear and loathing, if they feel so compelled. There is no defensible justification, there is no positive social purpose served by denying the right to marry to anyone – not on the basis of any single religious philosophy, not on the basis of race, not on the basis of gender, not on the basis of sexual orientation or preference.
If marriage is to exist at all, it must exist for all who desire it.
[This was originally written and posted in 2009. Reposted here in response to today’s 9th Circuit Court’s decision on California’s Proposition 8.]
Start with a simple thought – we don’t have enough love in the world. No, that’s not it exactly. We don’t express love to each other often enough, well enough. Look around; it can be a harsh, violent, rough, unjust, threatening, disconnected world, and I believe we’re often better at hurting than loving each other.
What is our society’s best, highest, deepest, most lasting expression of love? It might be marriage. I’ve been blessed to be married to the same person since 1990. It’s been a happy and proud experience, even during those times when it’s been challenging and tough, but it’s always been deep and lasting. And it has provided a model of the permanence of love to our friends and family and the community we live in.
I know many married couples. Most are of the 1 man, 1 woman variety. Many are not. I know married couples of the 2 man variety and the 2 woman variety too. Not “married.” Not “sort-of-like-married.” Not “play-acting married.” Married. Many have been married as long as Erika and I have, but some are just starting their life journeys together. No matter the length, they’re experiencing what married couples experience.
This controversy over the definition of marriage has to be resolved, not primarily in courts, but in hearts and minds. Here’s my opinion: in this world – with all its violence and challenge and difficulty and trial – I believe we should do everything we can to encourage two human beings to publicly declare the permanence of their love for each other. It’s good for the people involved, of course, but it’s affirming and stabilizing and humanizing and positive for the rest of us too.
I hereby personally celebrate – and defend – marriage.