Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Marriage, Anyone?

Today, same-sex couples in Connecticut can get state marriage licenses and tie the knot. This is in stark contrast to what happened in California on Election Day, where voters passed Proposition 8 (a.k.a. H8), which limits marriage to only a man and a woman.

This is a very personal issue for me, because I am in a same-sex relationship. My children are LDS, and the LDS Church played a major role in passing Proposition 8, and indeed some of my children supported it. I understand their position, but I disagree with their church's stand, and I will continue to disagree.

My question is simple: how does same-sex marriage undermine "traditional" marriage? In fact, it seems to me that when gay men marry each other, they won't be marrying straight women. I was in that kind of marriage, and it failed. And the reason I married my wife is because that was the only way I knew to make a family. In the midst of the love we had for each other, we also had a lot of heartache, pain, and anger, which undermined and finally broke our marriage.

The claim is made that God doesn't sanction same-sex marriages or that same-sex marriage is not part of our Judeo-Christian heritage. The claim may be true, but it is irrelevant in considering this question, because public policy about marriage should not be decided on the basis of religious belief. It should be decided on what's best for society, and what's best for the parties in a marriage.

Gay men and lesbians still bear a stigma about their sexual orientation. The affect of that stigma was clearly apparent in the California campaign. And that stigma is also very present in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. The stigma is present in the coded language that our families use about our relationships. The stigma is present in how our society negatively perceives our relationships. The stigma was present when California voters decided to enshrine homophobic stigma in their constitution.