Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Left Something Out.

Late-night update here -

I realize I left out something very important.


The whole starting point of this rant was that off-the-cuff comment discussion about Loup and I had about bumper stickers we'd like to see, and Scott Chicken seeing the discussion and running with it.

Marriage = heart plus heart. That was my original idea that spurred all of this.

That's the common ground shared in both the more secular idea of marriage as a legally recognized relationship involving a certain set of rights that two people have mutually and freely consented to grant each other, and the idea of marriage as a religious ceremony where two people mutually and freely exchange vows of love, respect, and loyalty to each other in the eyes of their God and their community.

Those rights are also tremendous responsibilities, and to truly undertake those responsibilities, I believe, requires that those two people love each other deeply.

I would never accept that level of responsibility for another person's happiness & well-being unless I loved them & knew they returned that feeling.

Nor would I allow anyone to take that kind of responsibility for me unless I genuinely believed that they loved me & I was able to return that in kind.

I'd want there to be some sense that we derived some unique happiness from being with each other that was worth all the sacrifice that sharing your life with another person must entail.

That, I guess, is my ideal of what marriage should be.

I've known gay people who seem to fit that description admirably - except that legally they can't marry each other, so they do their best with commitment ceremonies and if they are fortunate, their families will respect their wishes even if they don't have the backing of the law.

I've known straight people who got married without seeming to understand that marriage isn't about the other person handing you happiness on a plate & called it quits after a few months.

It seems wrong that the latter is considered a legally sanctioned relationship and the former isn't.

As I said in the original post - I think most of us are looking for the same thing.

I'm going to close with a quote from a book I read recently, "Dry", a memoir by Augusten Burroughs.

It's a grim book, a story of alcoholism, it was actually one of those books that was difficult to read but impossible to put down - but there was one sentence, there in the middle of ugliness the likes of which I hope I never have to see any friend of mine go through, there was this sentence that was so universal it almost made me cry -

"Stars should not be seen alone. That's why there are so many. Two people should stand together and look at them. One person alone will surely miss the good ones".

That's a gay person writing - but take it out of context and that could be anyone. I don't know why it was that it resonated with me so strongly but I thought it was the most beautiful description of, well, sort of just what most people, of all varieties, want - not to be alone. To have someone particular who will see things - beautiful things, ugly things - in the same way - sharing those visions freely, yet showing respect for the other where ways of seeing diverge, since no two individuals will ever see everything the same way. If gay people want to reach out & get that, in a legally sanctioned committed relationship - I just can't see the harm in it.

And I'm afraid that the people who are most vehemently in favor of thwarting gay peoole's ability to reach for that are people who, given more power, are the same people who might prefer to see a woman like me somehow considered to be less worthy of consideration than a man - because they've found quotes in the Bible that say that that's what God wants.

I think I've said what I needed to say now.

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