On Gay Marriage

Friday, June 6, 2008
In this week's Newsweek, Anna Quindlen wrote an essay on the topic of gay marriage entitled "The Same People."

I love Anna Quindlen, and not just because we share the Mad Cow.

I love her because she articulates what I'm thinking. She's unapologetically liberal. She tells it like it is. She applies a moral compass to public life, and points and shakes her head when people fall short. She points out that "the most sacred business of judges is not ratify the will of the majority but to protect the minority from its tyranny." And if you need a stunning example of the morality of that position, please see "Brown vs the Board of Education."

In this week's essay, Anna points out that "the younger you are, the more likely you are to know someone who is gay. The more likely you are to support gay marriage. The opposition is aging out."

This has been my experience as well. Getting to know a member of a minority group takes away their "otherness," and allows compassion and understanding to inform your opinions.

I know a lesbian couple who are "married." Well, they're "committed" because they live in Utah, and we all know Utah will probably be the last state in the Union to allow gay marriage.

They own a home. One is a social worker, the other an oncology nurse. They're raising two teen daughters from a previous marriage and a baby son they had together. Everyone is healthy and happy, and contributing members of society. The girls are well adjusted and have bright futures, and their son is the happiest baby I've ever seen.

Why should my friends lack the basic rights that hetero couples have? Answer: They shouldn't.

Love is love. Here's to many happy years together - whatever your orientation.

13 comments:

Jim Wright said...

Getting to know a member of a minority group takes away their "otherness," and allows compassion and understanding to inform your opinions.

Well said, Janiece, and very true. This exact concept was my experience with Muslims in the Middle East. To many America, Islam is a hostile alien culture. Yet my experience was that most Middle Eastern peoples were warm, friendly, intelligent, and interesting people, who are intensely proud of who they are. Yes, a number of them tried to kill me, but by and large the majority were people just like anybody else.

I think it's the same with this issue. Sooner or later we're going to figure out that "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" applies to all Americans, and eventually we're going to be forced by the court to extent civil rights to gays too. Eventually gay marriage will become just plain old "marriage" - and that's when we'll wonder just what all the hoopla was about.

Let's hope that day comes sooner rather than later.

Janiece Murphy said...

Jim, that was my experience in the Middle East, as well. One older man in a mall in Dubai stopped me to chastise me about smoking and how it was very bad for my health and I should stop right now. A little odd, but he meant well.

Steve Buchheit said...

"the younger you are, the more likely you are to know someone who is gay. "

I think that should read, "the younger you are, the more likely the people who are gay that you know are out of the closet."

Janiece Murphy said...

Steve, that's a very good point, and one that Anna made in her essay. Namely, that people of her sons' generation make no more note of someone coming out than they do of what's for dinner.

It's just an accepted part of who people are, like being Christian or being in the military.

That makes me happy...

Michelle K said...

Well, just so you know, there are some people of previous generations that aren't closed-minded.

My mother is vociferously pro gay marriage.

My grandmother says she doesn't care what people do, as long as she doesn't have to see it. (That goes for heterosexuals as well.)

Janiece Murphy said...

Michelle, being open minded certainly is not limited to the young, just as being closed-minded insn't limited to the old.

I'm finding the older I get, the more liberal I become...

vince said...

I think that government involvement in marriage should be limited to contract enforcement to protect the parties involved (ie, there have to be some rules involved in divorce to protect the rights and property of the parties involved). I don't think the government has any business in regulating whom you marry (minimum age, ability to enter into a contract, and consanginuity limits excepted), nor how many people you can marry at one time (as long as all parties involved are capable of and freely give consent). Yes, that means I think having multiple husbands/wives should be legal. I don't think most people could pull it off, since it's damn hard to keep a two-person marriage together, much less adding additional people into the mix. But hey, it's your life, not mine. As long as you're all adults with the ability to appreciate what you're getting into and no one is being harmed, it's none of my business

I understand this is a unique position, especially given that I am a Christian. And yes, for me, marriage is a two-person deal (note the use of the word "person"). But it's not the job of the government to codify my or any other groups beliefs into law.

Sub-Tropicaligal said...

Well put Hot Chick! I'll have to check Anna Quindlanout. I know I have but for a momment i had her confused with Annie Dillard (different!).

Props to you for your essay on gay Marriage and I love the notion that anti-gay sentiment is aging out. Now, if only "fear of others-who-are-different-from-us, could only age out as well.

The deadly form of exclusivist group passion can be virtually invulnerable to reason. So it is especially useful to demagogues who learn how to fan t and exploit it to gain and consolidate power.

Janiece Murphy said...

Vince, unsurprisingly, I agree with you. I've blogged before on why I think polygamous relationships shouldn't be criminalized, and you've hit all the salient points. It's not for me, but if it makes you happy and you're an adult, knock yourself out.

Welcome, Sub-tropicalgal! Your comment about bigots being immune to reason is right on point...and is the point, I think.

Cindi in CO said...

As Mom always says, "You don't tell me how to vote, screw or pray, and we'll get along just fine."

Jeri said...

Amen sister!

Of course my mother is pro-gay marriage. ;)

I've always wondered - how would I react if one of my own sons decided his path lay that direction? I've always thought I'd react with perfect equanimity - supportive either way - but I think I'd be a tiny bit sad he'd chosen such a tough path. This is all completely hypothetical.

Janiece Murphy said...

Jeri, I can say that you never know until it happens in your family, but given your personal history, I think you'd do just fine.

Nathan said...

I know there was no great upheaval when my brother came out and that was in the early 80's.

My younger brother's best friend came out around 1989 when he met his partner in college. He's been in the same relationship ever since and they have an adopted daughter. The three of them make it to more of my family's Passover Seders than I do.

Jeri, it really doesn't have to be a "tough path" and it gets less so every day.