year...On the brink of conforming to
I have not had
enough time to breathe, let alone think to even put words
down on paper. Alas, I can not stand being quiet for too
long. That flame of intuition inside of me forces my
silence to succumb to the pen.
silence, midnight in D.C. is conspicuously dormant. The
sidewalk streets become paved in that cold autumn evening
like in the movies. There is a flickering streetlight
that can't decide whether it wants to grace us
with its rusty warmth. A derelict is smoking a
cigarette he found in an ashtray. The theatre is closing.
Yet the activity is mute as shriveled leaves dance
around my feet.
caught my eye; linen pages bound in burgundy cardstock. To
a passerby it would appear to be a loose piece of trash, but
something moved me to pick it up. Amidst the lack of
activity my focus was driven to these stray pages.
I picked it up
off the sidewalk and looked at the cover: "The
Commitment Ceremony of John & Keith, St.
Margaret's Episcopal Church--Washington,
celebrate the commitment and covenant we make with each
other," reads the closing note from John &
Keith, "We celebrate ten years of our lives
together, and most of all, we celebrate the amazing gifts
God has given us in each of you."
Human science, as
advanced as it is, can't measure love. Science can
study love's various energies. It can record its
countenance. Science can hypothesize the outcome of
love's immutable drive. But science cannot
quantify the immeasurable value of love.
create cheap imitations of love. They can project a series
of images claiming to accurately emulate the reality that is
love. Society pays eight bucks a seat to bear witness
to the hysterical depictions on the big screen.
(our necessary evil) adds to their growing pile of false
claims that they can define love. Unfortunately, many
organizations and activists on both sides of the fence
jump on the bandwagon towards the pinnacle of
tarnishing democratic values. Both the Government and these
organizations claim that "marriage is about
love." In saying that, these Government
officials believe that same-sex couples do not contain the
ability to love like their heterosexual peers and therefore
do not deserve legal status as partners. In saying
that, the Government supports the passing of
legislation that would restrict the rights and benefits of
marriage to only a man and a woman. Other organizations both
in favor and against same-sex marriage believe that
marriage is defined by love on the basis that the love
of two people is validated by a marriage contract.
Marriage is about
binding two people (read: a man and a woman) in a legal
contract that grants them over eleven hundred federal
benefits. The concept is plain and simple; marriage is
a legal issue when it comes to politics. In playing
politics, organizations pushing for restrictions on
marriage use a weak argument that same-sex couples are not
deserving of the "fundamental institution of
traditional marriage." Gay rights organizations
shoot back stating that same-sex couples deserve the right
to marriage just as heterosexual couples do. I don't
think either side is making themselves clear.
rights organizations do not intend to state that same-sex
couples seek to impede on the foundation of
"traditional marriage," but in
advocating for equal legislation at this point in time we
are moving in the wrong direction. Are we seeking
marriage, or are we seeking the rights and benefits of
a marriage contract?
couples (or heterosexual couples for that matter) need to
validate their relationship with a legal contract? No.
Same-sex couples do, however, need access to the
benefits of marriage; notably hospital visitation,
guardianship rights, adoption/custody rights, domestic
violence protection and a number of other important
privileges that come with a marriage contract.
So why are
so-called "family" organizations (along with
the government) and gay rights activists measuring
love with a piece of paper? Clearly, America is not
ready for same-sex couples to be equally granted with the
title of "marriage." 41 states have made that
clear by establishing legal statuses that restrict
marriage to heterosexual couples while 27 states have
passed constitutional amendments restricting marriage.
We are advocating
for the wrong thing. We should be establishing the
fundamental principles for same-sex couples that come in
marriage contracts, not getting wrapped up in the word
"marriage" itself. According to
nationwide polls, American voters support granting these
rights to same-sex couples. In Virginia, the majority of
conservative voters would support legislation that
allowed for these benefits for same-sex couples. The
issue of marriage is still a sensitive subject for our
country. Are same-sex couples deserving of the rights and
benefits granted to heterosexual couples in marriage?
Yes. Are American voters supportive of same-sex
marriage? No. Are American voters supportive of key
benefits of marriage for same-sex couples? Yes. Yet, where
do our priorities lie in the gay rights movement?
I am not saying
we should give up. I am not saying that we should agree
with so-called "family" organizations and the
legislation passed by 41 states. I am saying that we
need to make sense when it comes to advocating for
equality. Equality comes in steps, and we need to
recognize that obtaining equality requires patience and
sensible tactics. By forcing the issue of same-sex
marriage on America we have created a major setback.
State Governments struck back by using the constitution as
a weapon and our own organizations should be held
ourselves to get wrapped up in the word
"marriage," and now we have had to waste
time unsuccessfully fighting back.
No one can
satisfactorily answer a question that has spanned the very
lifetime of human existence: what is love? Surely a marriage
contract is not the epitome of a loving relationship.
I like the word that John & Keith used,
What are we
accomplishing for couples like John & Keith when we
repeatedly use the word "marriage?" Clearly,
America would rather us use a different word for the
time being. Perhaps we should focus on the people
rather than the terminology. John & Keith need to have
the security and protection that heterosexual couples
are given in marriage. We need to establish the
protective benefits for these couples first; we can
deal with the word issue later.