On Friday, the New York state Assembly passed a law legalizing same sex marriage. There are five other states that already have given legal status to same sex marriage (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and Maine.)
The same sex marriage debate has been something from which I’ve steered clear. Emotions run too high on both sides, and I don’t like to wade into such divisive issues especially when I am not decided on it. Since my current views don’t fall into lockstep with either camp I typically make neither supporters nor opponents of same sex marriage happy.
I think my current position is somewhat unique. I don’t oppose same sex marriages, I just wish they had picked a different name for them.
If two people, even two people of the same gender, decide they want to enter into a lifelong commitment to each other, I don’t think the state (government) should tell them they can’t. There are real circumstances (filing income taxes jointly, or visiting each other in the hospital, or inheriting one another's property) where the rules change for your spouse. Lifelong committed same sex couples should be equivalent to heterosexual couples in those circumstances.
And can we please stop with the ‘oh the children’ rhetoric? Now I do believe that children benefit from having both a female and male in their life. There are things that men teach best to other men, and woman teach best to other women. But children of same sex couples would be in the same situation as any child of a single parent. There are lots of them, some of them even turn out okay.
Am I worried the children will think that homosexuality is ‘ok’? I live in the deep south. There have been parents teaching their kids wrongs things (about racial and gender equality) for generations. Yes somehow racial and gender equality is much better now than even when I was a kid. Kids grow up. They aren’t little automatons. They learn, adapt, change.
I don’t see how homosexual marriage will have any impact on heterosexual marriage. Until I read the article, I didn’t even know five other states had already legalized same sex marriage. That’s how little it actually impacts me. Bottom line, what people do in their private lives is up to them.
I’m a Dad, and this will cause me to have to talk to my daughter and son about concepts and topics I’d really rather not talk to them about yet. But at some point, they will learn about alternative lifestyles. Better for them to learn about them from their Mom and I than anyone else. Hopefully, I can instill in them how to stand up for their own convictions while giving grace and acceptance to those who disagree.
So if I’m okay with same sex marriage, why do I add the caveat that I wish they used a different word for them. As a writer, words are important to me. Words need to have meaning, and that means should stay as consistent as the language will allow. What I’ve never understood is why supporters of same sex marriage wanted the word ‘Marriage’. I would prefer a word that would provide all the rights and responsibilities of married couples but indicated the different constitution of the couple. I’d prefer the word ‘marriage’ continue to mean one man, one woman, and some other word to describe a same sex couple. Maybe one day someone will explain it to me and I’ll drop even my caveat.
But even with that, I would still support same sex marriage, though it will truly be a very cold day in a very hot place before my home state sees it.
My only concern at this point is if people who conscientiously disagree with same sex marriage, like Pastors, will be afforded the same protections and not have their freedom to speech attacked as a hate crime.