"I don't really understand how one man looks at another man and falls in love. The idea is alien to me. I don't really have to understand it, though; I know it happens, and I know homosexuals want to enjoy the same rights and privileges I enjoy. They're as American as I am, and as human as I am, so I don't see why they shouldn't enjoy marriage as much as I do." -- Steve Goble, Mansfield News Journal
By STEVE GOBLE -- Mansfield News Journal
Massachusetts. Connecticut. Iowa. Vermont. California, for a while, at least.
And now, Gov. David Paterson has introduced a bill to legalize same-sex marriage in New York. In announcing this, he pointed out gay and lesbian couples are denied numerous civil protections -- such as health care and pension rights -- because they cannot marry. He's correct, and that needs to change.
It's an uphill fight, but things are changing, aren't they?
It's a slow turnaround, though. Even in states that have approved gay marriage, the battle isn't over. Appeals, petitions and ballot issues will keep the pot stirred for a long while. Still, attitudes are slowly changing.
As events unfold, we'll all hear a lot about the sanctity of marriage. We'll be told that allowing gays the same marital rights heterosexuals enjoy will somehow obliterate that sanctity.
That argument doesn't wash for me. I apparently have one of those really cool marriages with bulletproof sanctity, in which things other people do in their relationships don't affect my marriage in the slightest.
For instance, suppose some bimbo marries a rich old geezer hoping he'll die soon and leave her a mint. That makes a mockery of marriage, if you ask me -- but it doesn't affect the sanctity of my marriage one little bit.
How about a couple of teens who go too far and end up rushing to the altar before she's showing? Sometimes such marriages turn out just fine, often they do not. Many people would agree it's probably not the ideal way to start a marriage -- but I'll wish them the best and notice that it doesn't affect the sanctity of my marriage one little bit.
Consider people who have open marriages, in which husband and wife don't worry too much about extramarital flings. It's not my idea of marriage, and it's probably not anything most Americans would condone -- but it doesn't affect the sanctity of my marriage one little bit.
The way I see it, the sanctity of my marriage depends on me and my wife. If it's sacred to us, and we keep it that way, that's all that matters. What other people do simply doesn't count in my marriage. How could it?
When considering whether to support or reject gay marriage, I ask myself whether I have any right at all to vote against it. I don't think I do, considering that other people's relationships have no bearing on my life.
Now, I don't really understand how one man looks at another man and falls in love. The idea is alien to me. I don't really have to understand it, though; I know it happens, and I know homosexuals want to enjoy the same rights and privileges I enjoy. They're as American as I am, and as human as I am, so I don't see why they shouldn't enjoy marriage as much as I do.
Some argue that if we sanction gay marriage, we'll eventually have to sanction pedophilia and beastiality, too. It's a pathetic argument -- animals and children aren't consenting adults. I'm all for protecting animals and children from abuse, but I don't see where gay marriage has anything to do with that.
Some point out the human race could hardly continue if everybody was gay -- which would make some kind of sense, I guess, if we were talking about building some magic "gay ray gun" to turn everyone homosexual. I'm fairly certain, though, we'll continue to procreate even if gays are allowed to marry.
Many will tell me all about how homosexuality is a sin. I don't know a lot about sin, but I notice theologians who supposedly do know a lot about sin exist on both sides of this issue. So, I'm willing to let God sort that part of it out if God wants.
Me? I'll just look forward to the day when we really are all equal under the law.
We are getting there, slowly.
Steve Goble is a copy editor and page designer for the News Journal. Look for his column, "It's Debatable," in the Community Conversation section every Sunday, and visit his blog on our Web site. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So here's my question du jour: Can anyone -- in 100 words or less -- explain just HOW my marriage undermines the sanctity of yours? Not why you think homosexuality is a sin -- not what sexual acts creep you out -- not whether or not the Archbishop of Canterbury thinks marriage equality is a good idea.
I'm after the sanctity of marriage argument because -- frankly -- I'm a big FAN of the sanctity of marriage ... and figure the more examples of life-long, loving, commited in-sickness-and-health-til-death-do-we-part relationships we have around the stronger the fabric of our society will be.
So give it your best shot ... we're all ears. "How does my marriage undermine the sanctity of yours?" Ready, set ... write!