November 13th, 2008
02:35 PM ET

The impact of Prop 8 on my family

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Editor's Note: Andrew Solomon is the author of The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, which won the 2001 National Book Award, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and has been published in 24 languages. He is a Lecturer in Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, and writes for The New Yorker and The New York Times. He is also the author of the novel A Stone Boat and of The Irony Tower: Soviet Artists in a Time of Glasnost.

Andrew Solomon
Author, The Noonday Demon

My partner John and I tied the knot on June 30th last year. John had wanted to get married for some time, and we could have done so in Massachusetts, but gay marriage has no federal recognition there, and thus offers none of the myriad legal protections that heterosexual marriage entails, so I felt that it would be something of a sham. Then Great Britain passed a law giving civil partnership legally identical status to marriage.

Because I am a dual national, it made sense for us to get hitched over there: if we ever decided to give up our US citizenship, we would be treated as each other’s next of kin, and would not be taxed on each other’s estates. The name may be less than in Massachusetts, but the rights are more.

Even after our well-attended celebration of union, I was shy of calling our relationship a marriage, and social reserve made me leery of using the word husband in referring to John; it seemed unmasculine and almost kitsch. Over time, though, I found myself increasingly incensed by the opposition to gay marriage and I recognized the use of that term as a tool in the battle for civil rights. My hesitancy owed to a society that had always made me feel that I could assume my real identity only at a cost.

Gradually, however, I’ve become convinced that words and rights are ultimately inseparable, and that it is pusillanimous for me to call John anything other than my husband. Linguistic apartheid gives license to those who would treat us as lesser citizens, and our love as an inferior love. It exacts a price, compromising our feeling of participation in the great history of love that our parents’ marriages reflected. Philip Larkin’s poem about a tomb in which the remains of a husband and wife were placed together, ends, “What will remain of us is love.” Marriage is the institution by which that love is sanctified, for better or worse—the mechanism of that remaining.

Since our wedding, I've gone from mild advocate to passionate supporter of gay marriage, of unions but especially of marriage itself. In the grand scheme of things, I'd rather have an election that brought in Obama and failed on marriage than the other way around, and I am almost embarrassingly excited about our new president. But it has been a bitter pill to hear the throngs shouting for joy about this election, while so many gay men and lesbians are being hit with a sense of how regressive society is about our rights and priorities.

Activists have consoled us that gay marriage will end up winning, but I don’t want to be the equivalent of the 106-year-old woman Obama lionized in his victory speech, winding down old age with the satisfying experience of seeing prejudice finally fall. I may have to wait that long to vote for a gay candidate for the presidency, but I will not wait so long for permission to refer to John as my husband not as an affectation but as a matter of national legal record, affirming the same rights and the same status between us that our heterosexual married friends and family enjoy.

I have become involved in the Gay and Lesbian Studies program at Yale University, where I studied as an undergraduate. In that capacity, I have spent time with Larry Kramer, the well-known playwright and activist who started the program. I hear his stories about being gay at Yale in the 1950s, when every effort was made to “cure” him, and I wonder how he ever managed to stay alive and intact in the face of that era’s view of gay people. I am not sure I could have survived it. I also spend time with the current undergraduates, and looking at them I feel a great envy for the life they have, and think how, if I had been of college age now instead of in the 1980s, I might have avoided years of self-hatred and confusion and self-flagellation, and perhaps had the early, open, happy romantic life that seems now to be available to so many students. I could have imagined for myself the future I am having now, one of marriage and family and relative social sanction—a future that hardly occurred to me at the time. Describing the gap between the Kramer-Solomon-Today generations to some of the undergraduates, I concluded by saying to them that I hoped that when they revisit the campus in twenty years, they will feel a similar sad longing for the lives of a new generation, so much more free and so much more full of hope than anything they can now imagine. Perhaps they will live in a time when gay lives are neither easier nor more difficult than straight ones, when gay hopes need not be different from straight ones, when the language of the gay and straight worlds do not differ.

I have a one-year-old daughter, and John and I are expecting another child in spring. I would like them to grow up with the social affirmation that their gay parents' relationship was as valid as anyone else's. The success of Proposition 8 hurts not just me and my husband, but also those children, and all the people who don't have the right to emigrate to England in case society persistently denies us our due. Progress in gay rights over the past twenty years has been astonishing, but those advances have whipped up latent hatreds among the opposition and blunted the sense of urgency among people who consider themselves on our side. Too many people see language as a minor reflection of the reality we aspire to, but language is that reality.

Our fight for equality, at this otherwise euphoric moment, and our belief that separate but equal is not equal, are perceived by even our supporters as being somehow shrill. Gay marriage is not merely a matter of self-interest for gay people in relationships who want to use a fancy word to refer to their intimacies; it is an issue of human justice, of affording affirmation in a world that suffers a severe shortage of love and of joy.

soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. A Student In California

    1. I voted no on Prop 8, but I am really upset about the fact that there is a NATIONAL ATTACK on the state of California. Lets not forget this was a 48-52 victory, not a margin my side of the battle is proud of. In addition, the same kinds of laws were passed in Florida, Arizona, and now in Arkansas gay couples cannot adopt children. So lets focus our anger on all of the country, not just one state.
    2. Regardless of who you want to blame (Mormons, Catholics, etc), I think this is an issue of campaigning. I hate to admit it, but the YES On 8 camp ran a really good campaign, which is why they won. My side of the battle needed a little more help. YES on 8 ran around talking about "protecting the children" and "saving the schools" (as someone who grew up in CA public schools, I know for a fact nothing is taught about marriage), and the No on 8 had nothing to rebuttal that. I think we need to stop looking at what has happened, and start thinking about what the next step is. Throwing slime at people is not going to change anything anytime soon. Except create EVEN MORE animosity.

    And great article Andrew!

    November 16, 2008 at 10:47 pm |
  2. Karen

    As an older gay person who has lived in a committed gay relationship for over 15 years, longer than most (including my own parents) I have thoughts on this too. In reading about what has happened in California on Proposition 8, I was interested to learn that the majority of Californians were against this Prop until the Mormom "Church" put millions of dollars into this issue, considering a "last stand" at holding the line. I believe it will be the last stand, as I have read that this is not even an issue for people under 30, and that was a few years ago. To the person who said what does the Civil Rights issue have to do with this... did you realize that all those years of NO civil rights for people of color were based on a majority of those who were quoting their interpretation of what the Bible said??? When Barack Obama's parents got married in Hawaii, their marriage would not have been legal in over 30 states because of laws forbidding interracial marriage... My sister introduces my partner as her sister-in-law, and I am my nephews favorite Aunt who could care less that my partner and I are both women. They call her Aunty too. I am very fortunate that I have good health insurance because the University where my partner works has Domestic Partner Benefits. Still it would be nice to be "Married." Most people I know who are against this quote their version of interpreting a Biblical passage. I would also like to ask what happened to "Seperation of Church and State." How would my marriage hurt the sanctity of yours? If yours is as strong as our commitment how can you say that? To Sandra, try to put yourself in my shoes and tell me what is the difference? You could only do that by turning these definitions around as if you were in the minority... would you really think it was the same? Before Stonewall in 1969, if a gay person were arrested for anything (it was against the law to wear clothes considered to look like the opposite sex, like pants on a woman for example) such as this example, their names and employers would be printed in the paper too. People had to hide the fact that they were gay married or not and lose their jobs, which they did. Now that it is no longer neccessary to do this, young people are aware that many of their best friends and family are gay and don't see an issue in equality for gays, and that is why things are becoming more fair all the time. Soon this won't even be an issue. I have my own bone to pick on this subject, and that is with people who say this is a "choice." I tell people, if this were a choice, who the hell would chose this? Not me, it is hard to be that different from the majority. I like most people my age tried very hard to fit the mold. It just didn't fit. And so I ask these people who insist it is a choice, "Do you remember when you hit puberity, and decided to think over your options and after all that thought decided to be heterosexual? Of course you don't, because it never happened. You just WERE." We just are too, and no I don't no why yet, just like everyone else. To me, GOD IS LOVE, and anyone who does deny who or what I am and exclude me from equal rights, is not a person of God. The Bible says a lot of literal things that have long been left behind, I know – I have read the whole book myself. All the women here would have nothing to say on the subject at all according to some distinct passages of the Bible, they were only to address their questions and opinions to their husbands at home. How would you women with comments here like to be told Shut-Up, YOUR opinion is not allowed because you are a woman? and that THAT is according to the Bible??? How many of you have refused to use the words "Obey Your Husband" in your own legal marriage, even though the Bible tells you so? I could go on and on with that... a Proposition 9 to override the right to Divorce? How many people would hold signs supporting that? How many did when it became a legal right? If you love me as your neighbor, try to let that include being treated as your equal in expressing my love for MY partner as I do for you and yours.

    November 16, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  3. Mike

    Marriage is between a man and a woman and that is the way it should stay. Even though I am religous my views are not based on only that. The simple fact is that we were either created or evolved to need a man and a women to reproduce its not suposed to go any other way but i accept the fact that there are homosexual people and they should be happy with civil union so they can have rights. With every thing going on in the world they are worried about somthing that only effects a small percentage of america that sounds a little selfish to me.

    November 16, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  4. Terry

    Anderson.....the voters in California spoke......twice now.....now all the cutesy dad & dad & child shows you put on in an effort not to report but to influence....is tiring. You make it sound like the children just sail through life with loving situations. Well I worked with students who fathers after yrs of marriage decide to undergo sex change or move in with other men, or get caught in bathrooms with other homosexuals, or mothers who end up with women ......you want to sanitize these things and pretend love conquers all....that's crap. I've seen the reality....good students ready for college dropping out and ending up abusing drugs and alcohol, self inflicting injuries, attempted and completed suicides, destructive behavior, confusion about their own sexuality, anger....the pain . One's own personal choices are one thing....you cannot sanitize the impact these choices have on children...many look at their parents as freaks, selfish, liars...it goes on and on....they still love on a certain level....but anger is always there.

    Get off the religious rhetoric and quit picking on the churches and white old ladies....It was the black, hispanic (me), asian and muslim votes. Take us on....

    Final note...do the California homosexuals realize their countryside
    is on fire and the environmental impact....any concern there.

    November 16, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  5. Marcus

    There is nothing wrong with equal rights. This not just about rights because civil unions give gay's and lesbians rights. It's about the facts the gay's want society to accept their sexuality as being normal.

    We should do a world wide study to prove once in for all if gay's are deviant or not.

    Studies have already shown that it is mostly environmental(choice) to be gay.

    If it is a choice then they should not be allowed anything. If it is genetic then give them the full rights they want on all levels.

    November 16, 2008 at 1:13 pm |
  6. concern

    i really feel the gays should have civil union with all the rights as marriage ...but do not change marriage ..just add to the law ...and have civil unions for others and marriage for man and woman ...both with the same rights as marrigae ..and send all the protesters home the vote is over

    November 16, 2008 at 1:03 pm |
  7. Jerry

    Interesting discussion board...but in my mind it is easy. If the word "marriage" should be identified with the church, like baptism, then anyone who is part of a church should get "married". But in order for any couple to receive equal benefits under the law then they should have to apply for Civil Unions. So...as a gay man I'm going to forget about this struggle for marriage and start focusing on getting all the straight couples to now apply for their own equality...welcome to Civil Unions...

    November 16, 2008 at 11:27 am |
  8. Joan G

    Gay marriage does not impact the sanctity of my 42 year traditional marriage. Marriage is a commitment, and allowing gays the same privilege of full commitment is actually to the benefit of society.

    November 16, 2008 at 11:21 am |
  9. torqueflite

    Great story! Congratulations on your wonderful family, and keep up the fight for equal rights for gays to marry.

    November 16, 2008 at 11:11 am |
  10. tim

    It is my impression that the gay community has brought defeat upon themselves. Gays have a very strong tendency to look down on the heterosexual,considering them uninformed,bigoted and religious zealots.In many communities,gays establish their own neighborhoods hence creating a sense of segregation.Here in San Francisco the gays
    have parades and social events that are supported by the city and covered by the media,yet very rarely do you see or hear the words "all welcome".In my humble experience it has been brought to fruition that when someone is told rather than asked to do something they will resist.
    Perhaps if the gay community would shed their prejudices against the heterosexual community,all could partner in the brief time we have on this wonderful earth

    November 16, 2008 at 9:14 am |
  11. Bud

    The central truth of the Christian faith is that every human being is born in sin, sins naturally, and desperately needs a Savior to avoid an eternity of unending torment and suffering in hell. Christians have been instructed in the Bible to warn everyone of the results of unrepented sin (sin spelled out specifically and repeatedly in the Bible) and failure to secure the salvation freely offered by God to everyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord.
    Failure to warn anyone of the consequences of unrepented sin or of not accepting God's gracious offer of forgiveness and reconciliation is nothing less than dereliction of duty on the part of those who have been given a new spiritual life and promise of eternal life of joy and bless in the presence of the Godhead.
    What some condemn as narrowmindedness or bigotry is, in essence, an offer for a better life in this world and the promise of a perfect one to come for all who accept God's authority and forgiveness. The greatest disservice a Christian could do is to allow someone to go blindly down the highway to hell and experience an eternity of torment and suffering in the fires of hell.

    November 16, 2008 at 7:58 am |
  12. Troy

    Your story is touching and your words inspiring to me. I am a middle aged gay man with two ex-wives, two teenage kids and a partner who I call husband in my heart. Up until just a few short years ago, I lived my life as my southern baptist upbringing demanded: deny your sexuality, get married, have kids, be the breadwinner for the family, be seen at church regularly and just enjoy your sham of a life. Meeting my partner gave me the courage stop all of the lying and to live unshackled. The gay marriage debate is of great interest to me since I am obviously the marrying type. I'd like to get it right before I die! However, I realize that it may take many years, probably one more generation, before that can happen. Eventually, equality will win. Meanwhile, I'm living in the same small town where I grew up, with my husband, kids, cat and dogs and lots of friends. Life is good now and hope and inspiration are high in this Obama era. Change has come and will continue to come.

    November 16, 2008 at 7:07 am |
  13. KSuzanne

    I am an African-American married lesbian and I look forward to the day when the "ism's" of our society will be dismissed once and for all!

    For years state and county laws all over this great land denied my ancestors their constitutional rights and told them they were three-fifths human, and equality for my ancestors only began to come into fruition during the time of the 20th century civil rights movement.

    For years women were regarded as chattel, as property in marriage, and not allowed to vote until that magic year of 1920.

    Now, I am told once more that I am only three-fifths human because I am a lesbian. I am told that I do not have the same rights as others to marry and proclaim to the world that I am now sharing my life with the woman of my dreams, the person that lights my day and brings joy to my evenings, the person that encourages me on this life journey, and stands front and center in my cheering section. I have in my wife what so many desire, a loving support, a committed spouse to share my joys, my tears, my laughter, my successes, my failures, my hopes and dreams. Now, who can really tell me this is anything BUT wonderful, a true blessing!

    I trust that sometime in my lifetime, LGBT rights to marry will be a civil rights issue of the past.

    November 16, 2008 at 5:42 am |
  14. Jay

    What an inspiring story, Andrew. You have made a beautiful family. I'm too lucky enough to be a dual national (U.S. and EU), and have lived in the UK for eight years.

    On the flip side, my partner (we are not yet married) is British, and under Federal law, I can not bring him back to the U.S. with me if we do tie the knot, forcing me to live abroad for the forseeable future. It beggars belief that a first world country such as the U.S. does not recognise us, and we are being treated this way, and can not return to my own country unless I meet the condition that I am either single or straight (as my other half is labelled dubiously as an "alien" by American terms).

    We can only hope, fight, and pray that it will come from the top in the new administration, doors will open, the Defense of Marriage Act will be repealed as Obama said he would like to do, and finally the Uniting Americans with Families Act will be passed to give recognition and amend the immigration laws, allowing me to not only bring my other half with me, but reuniting me with my family, who I dearly miss, and allowing me to live happily in a country I which I have the RIGHT to live in, with my partner.

    Maybe then we will be able to call America the UNITED States of America.

    November 16, 2008 at 5:32 am |
  15. Doug

    What a sham and a mockery of a union mandated by nature, evolution and the "Higher Power", for lack of word that most will find acceptable. Laws exist to protect a civil union that is not a marriage. Powers-of-attorney allow hospital visitation, wills protect beneficiaries of "significant others", and - in many other ways– our society acknowledges the rights of the gay-lesbian community. IMHO the goal is not equal rights but special privelege, co-opting of cultural norms that go back for countless generations, and in-your-face forced "tolerance" (of anything but dissent). It won't stop until the gay lifestyle, with its inherent inappropriate (to say the least) behaviors is accepted - nay, preached– by society at large.

    November 16, 2008 at 5:30 am |
  16. B

    People are raving about how religion has distorted the current votes. Yet religion has traditionally defined marriage between man and woman. To criticize religion in this case is hypocritical since the definition is traditionally religious. Why do gays want to call themselves by this religious term when they do not believe in the religion from which the term was founded and used for centuries. People want to sit in the pretty churches and socialize without caring a bit about the traditional definitions of anything. Our churches are filled with hypocrites who want religion, while ignoring the original intent or meaning. Now gays want to be just like the religious hypocrites. Perhaps we should back up for a moment and ask whether government should be evaluating what is marriage in the first place. Marriage is a term defined in the context of traditional religious values that has been commandeered by government in order to reward a particular segment of society. People call for separation of religion and state, yet when it comes to government perks based on religious definitions, people want to line up for the benefits. Perhaps instead we should be rallying to remove the perks and make everyone equal rather than scratch and claw to validate unjust inequalities imposed by government.

    November 16, 2008 at 5:14 am |
  17. John

    The issue of marriage is viewed from two different points of view. Most people view marriage from the point of the Bible, and our legal system was structured around that view point. Others, wanting social standing, and/or legal issues resolved attempt to use "marriage" as the vehicle to create their view of equality.

    This is a sham! Why, because they attempt to deny religion, while wishing to use the marriage vehicle to resolve their problems.

    Marriage did not come from statue, statutes were created which took marriage and gave it legal provisions. Likewise, those wishing to solve social issues should seek laws to rectify those issues. Further, to call this a "gay" issue, is simply to again attempt to short cut the problem as there are other non-gay relationships in which there needs to be a legal way to resolve contractual, and relationship issues.

    In any case, to use "marriage" is simply an attempt to socialize a religious practice for personal gain while denying that religion.

    November 16, 2008 at 3:59 am |
  18. Michelle

    @Jim from Bishop, CA:

    Who died and made you God? Have you visited Hell and determined that your friend is there? I doubt it.

    You make a lot of assumptions, AND you assume to have the same knowledge as God. You assume to know who will go to Heaven and who will go to Hell. That, little Jimmy, is the height of arrogance and the bowels of judgment.

    Now, I don't agree with your religion. It's not my faith, and there are many reasons for that. Those reasons are my own. However, I have a very good grasp of the Christian faith as I grew up in it, and the many Christians I know would look at your words and be disgusted that you would use the name "Christian" while clinging to such arrogant hatred. You don't love that person. You mock them and assume to know God's judgment of them. I feel bad for you.

    November 16, 2008 at 3:26 am |
  19. Meagan

    Thank you for your beautiful story and words of inspiration. Your daughter is precious and lucky to have such loving, caring parents. Please continue to write and spread the word, and we'll continue to fight here in America until there is equality and love for everyone. Have you SEEN the protests across the nation today? It makes me proud to be an American...which is something I haven't said in eight years. We WILL win this fight. In the words of our next wonderful, articulate and inspiring president, "It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears to get to where we are today, but we have just begun. Today we begin in earnest the work of making sure that the world we leave our children is just a little bit better than the one we inhabit today."

    November 16, 2008 at 3:21 am |
  20. Emily Lynne

    Look at this. I am so proud that people are interested - even those opposed. I know it sounds strange, but bringing an issue to surface in a civilized manner is such a step forward. And as far as I've read, people are certainly heated, but no one is making inflammatory comments. Respect for the issue and others' beliefs is important. Someday, in a perfect world, we will accept one another and be happy in ourselves. If you are happy with yourself, you have no need to try to control or change the people around you. Congratulations to all of you for being thoughtful. Andrew, your family is absolutely beautiful. Be strong. You and others in your situations will be in my thoughts. And while I do not follow an organized religion, I have hope that those with open minds and open hearts will prevail. All my love to you and yours,

    November 16, 2008 at 3:16 am |
  21. guthrie's mom, mke,wi

    Thank you for this well written and emotional piece.
    Unfortunately, America, (ironically enough a country based upon freedom of religion and separation of church and state), is so blindsided by and focused upon appeasing religious groups that many of the religious followers can't see that judging someone and denying basic human rights from people is (usually) against the tenets of any organized religion.
    People are just picking on the last "minority" group they can legally pick on...to make themselves feel "morally superior" to someone. It's very sad.
    Hopefully, if who wants social justice in the world works hard, keeps on our legislators to address the issue, and tries to kindly educate people, eventually everyone can live free of hatred.

    November 16, 2008 at 3:05 am |
  22. Victoria

    November 13th, 2008 7:14 pm ET

    I think Elton John recently said that we (Americans) are hung up on the word marriage! I think he is right and we should be. I believe that if Civil Unions can give the gays the rights that want… let them have it.
    But do not try to change the definition of marriage ( man and women).

    I could not agree more cal!

    I actually spent a couple of hours researching the origin of ‘Marriage’ and also where the Constitution of the US stands in regards to marriage.

    1250 -1300 Marriage from Maritare = to wed, Maritus =Husband and Mari = Wife. Mari Euphemistic ver. of The Virgin Mary. Along with –age as the suffix meaning a social standing or relationship.

    Marriage is a religiously sacred union between a man and woman. Gays want equality, but equality is not always fair. It is not fair to change the definition and meaning of marriage to which religious people have held dear for CENTURIES. It is not right or fair to take away other peoples religious beliefs. Marriage is religiously sacred belief weather you like it or not. History proves this fact.

    It would be fair for Civil Unions to hold the same legal rights as a traditional marriage even though there are legal documents available now to give individuals Power of Attorney or stipulations written in legal wills just to name a couple alternatives granting the same rights and privileges as a marriage. This is where the case of civil rights is lost by the Gay movement because there are other means to get similar benefits. To equate African- American rights and Gay rights is an outrage that all African –Americans should feel.

    I’ve herd the absurd comment that it is the ceremony that is being denied. Any one at any time can have a ceremony and proclaim they are united in mutual devotion and commitment. The ceremony is not legally binding without the license.

    If the gay community truly cared about fairness they would be concentrating on getting Civil Union legislation passed for more rights not to take away from some one else, their rights for marriage to remain a Religiously sacred institution between men and women. If they did, they would find wide support and a lot if it from the vary people they are trying to tare down now.

    Stop the Hate, Respect religious views, and work in the system to push better Civil Unions laws to get passed. You want equality; start acting with the respect you are asking for.

    November 16, 2008 at 3:04 am |
  23. MattJ

    This article, and the comments appended to it, show the disastrous results of the confusion concerning love and marriage which Mauritain complained about in American society when he emigrated here from France.

    Mauritain, the world-famous philosopher, wrote about this confusion in "Reflections on Marriage", where he said:

    Among the "American illusions" of which I just spoke, the last one - about marriage, romantic love and the pursuit of full individual self-realization - poses, I think, particularly important problems and deserves particular attention.

    It is perhaps advisable to try to elucidate the matter a little more by resorting to a few general considerations, and first of all to state more explicitly what I had in mind when I used the expression "romantic love."
    The real terminus of marriage, 3) marriage has to perform in human hearts quite another work - an infinitely deeper and more mysterious, alchemical operation: I mean to say, it has to transmute romantic love, or what existed of it at the beginning, into real and indestructible human love, and really disinterested love, which does not exclude sex, of course, but which grows more and more independent of sex, and even can be, in its highest forms, completely free from sexual desire and intercourse, because it is essentially spiritual in nature - a complete and irrevocable gift of the one to the other, for the sake of the other.

    Thus it is that marriage can be between man and woman a true community of love, built not on sand, but on rock, because it is built on genuinely human, not animal, and genuinely spiritual, genuinely personal love - through the hard discipline of self-sacrifice and by dint of renouncements and purifications.

    So called "gay marriage" CANNOT do this, since it deliberately avoids the hard discipline of bridging the divide between male and female.

    For this reason, swapping out the social institution of 'marriage' for this FAKE marriage is a dangerous social experiment, just as lethal as Bolshevism. It is "family law Bolshevism".

    November 16, 2008 at 2:53 am |
  24. Gwen

    I am straight. I'm not sure if I believe in God. For that, according to most, I'll probably burn in Hell for all eternity. It's nice that you're concerned, but that's my problem to deal with, isn't it?

    The fact that there is religion infiltrating into our government (and has been ingrained for years) does not make it right. It is the SC's job to fix this issue. For legal reasons, marriage should be defined by all rights as a civil union. If you wish to get married per your church (be it at the Temple or with full mass or whatever) then let marriage be defined as you wish.

    How about everyone just get out of everyone's business?

    November 16, 2008 at 2:23 am |
  25. Mindy Chatsworth, Ca.

    Some of the arguments made here to justify the ban on gay marriage are ignorant, absurd and insulting.

    Society as we know it will not be destroyed by gay marriage. This nonsense about the population decreasing is patently absurd. What about heterosexual people who choose to live together and have children? I see no risk of us becoming extinct as a species if we have gay marriage. This is just another lame attempt to justify the continued deprivation of due process to gay people who want to be joined in marriage.

    I don't think gay marriage is bad for the future of our country. All gays want to do is be free to marry the one they love and enjoy the same rights and privileges and legal benefits that ensue. I see nothing harmful in this. The fact that the arguments against it are so weak is even more reason why there should no longer be a ban on gay marriage.

    I want a country that practices tolerance and simple common human decency. That is the essence of what we are talking about here.

    November 16, 2008 at 2:06 am |
  26. Julius

    I understand that the need to be recognized and have equal rights which Civil Union appropriately applies. Changing the definition of "Marriage" other than "Man and Woman" just cannot be. Yes, I can see heads shaking. Marriage is an institution between a Man and a Woman. Simply said from your blog that you want to have kids and you want your kids to live in a world that the word "MOTHER" is a someone who just chose to be paid for you to be born. How could a man ever replace the warm and tender loving embrace of a Mother. I can hear people saying I am narrow minded... that I could be a selfish person. Just think of what is going to happen.... and think who is the one being selfish. You are changing the delicate balance of nature and society much like Global Warming! Much like I heard that others are fighting to have a different version of the Star Sprangled Banner.... that is in a different language. I wonder how Francis Scott Key would have felt.

    November 16, 2008 at 1:20 am |
  27. Brett

    Protests for gay rights will probably be steady over the next several months. I don't blame gay Americans for being upset. The idea that offering gay Americans the option of civil unions over marraige is just plain insulting, as well as discriminatory. It echoes the past struggles of African-Americans as they transcended from the status of slave, to a fraction of a person, to a full-fledged US citizen with the right to vote. Our nation's Founding Fathers never wanted the federal government getting involved with sacred matters of the heart such as abortion and marriage, that is why they supported a strong Separation of Church & State in our great democracy.
    The controversy regarding legalization of same-sex marriage has brewed for many years now, and likely will be the next monumental civil rights case to be decided by the US Supreme Court. The gay marriage dilemma eerily mimicks the past struggles of women who fought for their reproductive rights to have an abortion, and any minority group who has similarly fought for freedom under the US Constitution.
    Our Founding Fathers never wanted Washington DC to be caught in the cultural maelstrom that has erupted towards matters of this kind. If the federal government allowed itself to accept the Pro-Life opinions that life begins at the moment of conception, then it is plausible for those who believe this that somehow the pregnant mother and the physician whom she requests to perform an abortion would be commtting some form of murder in the eyes of these Pro-Life beleivers. This is why the majority views of Pro-Choice Americans and the historic case of Roe v. Wade will always be the prevailing law of this land.
    Our Founding Fathers never wanted Washington DC to be caught in the middle of the arguments regarding the definition of marriage. There has never been a call for a legal defintion of marriage until gay Americans pursued that civil right. Is it really the duty of state legislators and US congressmen to define the act of marriage? Shouldn't those US citizens who want to enter into marriage have the right to do so? If current legislation banning gay marriage is allowed to stand, then it is quite safe to say that government accepted a defintion of marriage based on the views of religious groups and political parties which oppose same-sex marriage, just as they opposed inter-racial marriage in America's not-to-distant past. This is why the opposing arguments towards defining marriage in order to deny minority groups this right, will be eventually seen for what they are, which is discriminatory.

    November 16, 2008 at 1:06 am |
  28. Patricia

    I grieve in my heart for you and for that precious child. For you are without excuse. Your lifestyle is wrong and an abomination in the sight of God. You are concerned with satisfying self rather than serving God. What will you tell God? You will stand before Him soon. There will be weeping and wailing when you stand before the Almighty God.

    Read the book of Romans 1. Read the Word of God and repent for the Kingdom of God is coming sooner than you think. You have chosen to believe a lie from your enemy, the devil. He has told you that you can be different than what your Creator, the Almighty God, created.

    The devil is a liar! You choose to believe his lies. Turn to God and He will save you. He is merciful, but the same merciful God has promised that men with men and women with women; such things are worthy of death. Not my words, but the Word of God. It is not a tale; He means what He says.

    I quote verse Romans 1:27"27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet." and verse 32 "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them."

    People, wake up. America will suffer great destruction because of this disobedient spirit. Yes, the gay lifestyle is driven by a spirit. A spirit of the devil. This kind of lifestyle will die on this earth. Anyone having this type of deviant spirit can inherit eternal life. Again, not my words, but the word of God. Fear and reverence God. It is He who made you. You are wonderfully and beautifully made by a Great God. Stop angering Him and life right.

    November 16, 2008 at 12:57 am |
  29. C J

    Jim... You are right, there are several things that are described as abominations in the sight of God. Eating pork or shell fish, (had a ham sandwich or a shrimp cocktail recently?) mixing meat and dairy (how about that cheeseburger), wearing clothes of mixed fibers (that new blended yarn sweater?). Do we ALL get to pick and choose the parts of Levitical law that we follow? How about those "unclean women",during portions of their monthly cycles, especially if they have the nerve to speak in public.

    Meg... Yorur comment about the state giving benefits to same sex couples living together, but not to heterosexual couples in the same situation, makes no sense to me. The heterosexuals HAVE THE OPTION to get married, you are denying the gay/lesbian couples that option.

    November 16, 2008 at 12:56 am |
  30. Renee

    Andrew: It is so nice to see a beautiful post from you and John. You have a beautiful daughter and another child on the way how lucky you both are to have the love of children in your lives.

    I think your discussion for gay marriage is more inspiring than that of say of Dan Savage running all over CNN. Being disrespectful to Tony Perkins on CNN is not going to help people understand the issue any more. It is like Jesse Jackson or Rev. Al speaking for all African Americans in America. Dan Savage can not and should not be speaking for all GLBT individuals. It only adds fuel to the fire on the issue and makes folks press the "mute" button. Just my opinion.

    It is good that you are a spokesperson for the issue and present your face and case in a very logical and understanding manner. Maybe one day the bookers on CNN will set you up for a live interview on the issue. It would be good for America to see a calm gay person discussing the marriage issue.

    Meanwhile understand that there are plenty of mothers and parents in America standing with you and voted with you. It has nothing to do with the fact we are straight and married with our own husbands and wives and children. It has everything to do with the fact that we want what is right for all Americans.

    November 16, 2008 at 12:39 am |
  31. Laura H

    You cannot make a baby without a mother and a father. Likewise, a child needs both a mother and a father to develop optimally. Sociologists and psychologists agree that the best case scenario for children is the intact nuclear family in which their biological parents raise them, teaching right from wrong.

    When gay "marriage" is equated by law with heterosexual marriage, the true losers are the children. While no law can guarantee a perfect home life for all children, no law SHOULD guarantee that some children can never be loved by a mother and a father because gay adults want to be "equal." Gay sex is not equal to straight sex because gay sex cannot make babies.

    Nature and Nature's God created us according to certain laws. Ignore them at your - and society's - peril.

    November 16, 2008 at 12:37 am |
  32. Mike

    I've been a supporter of Gay rights when it was unfashionable, but the gay rights crowd is now starting to get a little abrasive, abusive and gets closer every day to being put back in the closet.

    November 16, 2008 at 12:34 am |
  33. Concerned

    When do we stop? Just because we can do things does not mean we should! Men marrying men, women marrying women – Mankind would not exist if this was the way it was designed. I love my dog but that doesn't give me the right to marry it. We have to have some limitations in this world or we would be in total anarchy, the rights people think they should have does not always mean they should be provided – (we don't have the right to kill/murder although some believe we should, we don't have the right to use drugs although some feel we should. Why because they are harmful to man kind). Make no mistake – kids, society and people themselves are affected by morality and the way we have manipulated it to appease the few which believe they have the Right to do what they want. I never advocate mistreating people and gay's should be treated with respect but laws of nature are pretty clear. When does this spiral stop?

    November 16, 2008 at 12:07 am |
  34. Alan Srout

    The true Mormons haven't practiced polygamy in well over 100 years, so that's a "straw man" argument. In a free country, people are allowed to donate to whatever legal cause they believe in, whether you agree or disagree with it. Harrassing the Mormons is cowardly. How about violent protests at Hispanic or African American churches? They voted in solid numbers for Prop. 8. What's that? They'll fight back? EXACTLY!

    November 16, 2008 at 12:02 am |
  35. sam

    I wonder what people are afraid of.The bigots in this country always seem to want to tell others how they can live their lives.They say 'don't get an abortion and they don't respect the living.They elect a president because he says he is anti abortion ,yet he gets of 4,000 young men and women killed for a bald face lie.The only people who threaten marriage is the thousands of so called normal people who get one divorce after another.if you don't want 2men to get married ,don't marry another man.but don't tell others who they can or can't marry..If being gay is going to send them to hell ,not getting married is not going to stop them from going there. Each person in this world has their hands full trying to get to heaven themselves.What make you the boss of others. Get the hell out of the way and leave these people alone.Let them get married and when that marriage fails they'll have to divide up their stuff ,just like the rest of us.We have so many other problems that need out upmost attention.Why are we waisting so much energy on this ?

    November 15, 2008 at 11:59 pm |
  36. Vishal

    I'll start by saying I am neither gay nor religious. I have no compelling ties to this debate, and yet, I feel it is part of a civil rights struggle.

    I can not find a compelling reason to ban gay marriage. The majority of the reasons I've heard involve the "word of God." I'm an agnostic. If I have doubts about there being a God, why would His/Her word convince me that you have the right to deny another human his or her rights?

    What is it to you if there is another happily wedded couple in this world. What is wrong with more love in a world of hate. If civil unions and marriage are exactly the same, CALL THEM THE SAME THING! One might say that they are "just words", and that they "shouldn't matter". What's the point of throwing around words that don't matter?

    As another reader pointed out, see what would happen if you denied a woman the right to be called "mother". It's just a word, right? Why should it matter. You still have the same rights, the same benefits–you just can't be called the "mother" of your child. Seems pretty hollow, doesn't it?

    Jade: Your argument lacks any proof that gay marriage harms "the future of the world or country." Is the world going to go to an apocalypse simply because two men kissed? How about two women? Again, there's no arguments independent from religions which I don't subscribe to.

    What I see in this photo is a beautiful family made up of people who love each other. Regardless of who they are, we need more families like that, especially in times like ours.

    November 15, 2008 at 11:53 pm |
  37. Phil in Las Vegas

    What happened in California is exactly what happened a few years back when the people who live in California voted for and passed into law the definition of marriage.California has laws in place that already gave the SAME rights as Heterosexual married Couple to Homosexual Couples it is called a Civil Union...then along comes a lesbian couple intent on destroying an historic tradition that has existed in civilized communities for thousands of years.
    So what happens the Supreme Court of California in a role it does not hold according to the constitution decides to rewrite the legislation that was voted on and passed by the voters of the state. Now they (homosexuals)claim it is a civil right issue which it is not because they already have the rights they are fighting for by way of Civil Unions.

    November 15, 2008 at 11:48 pm |
  38. BJ

    You said in your article, civil partnerships with full legal status as everyone else has. I would be for that, but why are gays so hung up on calling their relationship, marriage. That is between a man and woman and as a heterosexual, why do we have to change that? There are all kinds of families today and we can learn a lot from that. I resent that gays need to use the word marriage to get what they should be entitled to if they are in a long term relationship. If this is all about your legal rights, you need to work at it better and not alienate the rest of us who are in traditional marriages. Most of us would like different kinds of families have the same partnership rights, but not by redefining what marriage is. A great family can have two mothers, or two fathers, but it needs to be called something other marriage.

    November 15, 2008 at 11:32 pm |
  39. Josh

    Polygamy – Bigamy – Rights for All?

    If our goal is to provide marriage rights for every group in our society, without regard to race, religion, or sexual preference, then we need to address the rights of polygamists groups. Is it okay for consenting adults, even polygamous ones, to have the right to marry legally? One of the main arguements against that would be the stories propogated in the media that girls are marrying young and without choice. We can allow these groups to marry one another as long as they obey the law. Individuals must be 18 and of legal age to marry. If they do that, what justification is left for them not to be able to marry?

    If we allow polygamous groups to marry, can we allow bigamists?

    There are groups out there who currently are not allowed to marry one another because federal law prohibits it. Can cousins marry cousins? Understandably they should not be allowed to reproduce as this could cause disatrous affects on the children they create, but if they were prohibited by law to do so, and they were consenting adults, why should they not be able to? It doesn't affect the marriages or any heterosexual or gay groups for whom marriage is allowed...

    What if a mother wanted to marry her son? The same arguement goes for the procreation thing, but the arguement we use to justify gay marriage should be the same arguement to apply to every single consenting adult in the nation. Can we as a nation allow every consenting adult the right to marry ANY other consenting adult?

    Most would say no because marrying one's cousin is socially unacceptable. Marrying one's son is socially unacceptable. Marrying more than one person is socially unacceptable. For many marrying a person of the same race is unacceptable as well and they stand up for their right to appose it because in their eyes it's also socially, and in many eyes morally, unacceptable. We however need to take morals out of the equation. We cannot argue for traditional marriage with religious reasons, "God forbids it" or "I just don't like the idea." But we argue to keep polygamous marriage illegal because it is socially unacceptable.

    We cannot justify marriage for gay or lesbians without allowing it for all consenting adults across the nation, regardless of race, nationality, or familial relationships.

    November 15, 2008 at 11:11 pm |
  40. Chelsea Florida

    @Jade, please tell me what laws hurt you but benefit everyone else. I don't mean economically either. Just because gay marriage would be legal, doesn't mean everyone would do it. I'm a straight woman, if gay marriage became legal I would not marry a woman just because I could. Just like how gay people don't marry the opposite sex just because gay marriage is illegal. Also, the belief that gays getting married would damage the population is ignorant at best. If anything, our planet is over populated, but that's besides the point. Yes, gays can't have children the way straight couples can, but that doesn't mean they wouldn't adopt. There's just too much wrong with the argument, I can't even begin to cover it. Also, the belief that people actually choose to be gay is almost offensive an extremely ignorant. Please educate yourself on the issue before you go around making such ill-informed statements.

    November 15, 2008 at 9:53 pm |
  41. Edge

    I am a proud American and Christian;I am also a lesbian. I served my country, paid my taxes, followed the laws and worked towards the "American Dream".
    I sat in close quarters with people, for whom I would give my life, and listened to them discuss their lives, loves and families – I was bound by "Don't Ask Don't Tell". When I went to buy a house, my partner was not allowed to join me in a loan if I were to use my VA benefit. I have been sickened that convicted thieves, rapists, and mass murderers practice their RIGHT to marry at the states expense.
    This sort of forced silence, disenfranchisement, and unreasonable inequality is not my idea of an American Dream.
    I can no longer abide people using comfortable semantics to cover their ignorant bigotry.
    I moved away from my beloved America to Britain, joined my wife in Civil Partnership, and gained almost all the rights of "married" persons. However, because of the religious right, even here we have had to contend with the silliness of others imposing their prejudice upon us; because a 'Civil Partnership' cannot be performed in a church and must follow strict governmental guidelines – we were not allowed to mention anything having to do with God. Our whole ceremony was reviewed in advance by the authorities to assure this caveat was followed.

    I assure you that, even though God was not invited to the ceremony, he attends our marriage.

    Perhaps one day the country I love so much will return my deep affection with something other than hateful ignorance, and I can go home.

    November 15, 2008 at 9:53 pm |
  42. alan

    March on washington january 20th 2009?

    November 15, 2008 at 9:31 pm |
  43. Vickie MO.

    Luke 17:34

    November 15, 2008 at 9:26 pm |
  44. Kent A. McCoy

    The solution to the same-sex marriage issue is to have the states issue civil unions for everyone, straight and gay and to leave marriage to the churches. Of the seven religious sacraments, only matrimony is granted by the states. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees a wall of separation between church and state. The states granting of a religious sacrament is unconstitutional.
    This will stop the fighting! I do not have to convince anyone of my right to exist with liberty (the freedom to be ones self) and you do not have to convince me of your right to belive whatever nonsense you choose. There is the truth and there is religion. Religion has been corrupting the truth for centuries. If you are not gay, you have no idea what you are talking about. Nothing makes sense to you but a bible written in English and extremely convenient for you! You think about someone else and stop judging!

    November 15, 2008 at 9:21 pm |
  45. Dave Christiansen

    I have seen many gay rights activists portray this civil rights battle in two ways, both of which I believe are hypocritical and false. The first way is in comparing it to racial discrimination in the United States. I'm sorry to those who are passionate about this particular cause, but it simply doesn't compare to the scale and hatred white Americans inflicted on blacks. Compared to the systematic injustices inflicted on African Americans, the struggles of the gay community are insignificant, especially today, when they are so widely accepted and welcomed in the workplace, if not in the home.

    The other false portrayal is that this is simply about love and hate. Gay rights activists are for love, and if you're not for gay rights you're for hate. You're a bigot. This is also not true. Gay marriage presents REAL and CREDIBLE threats to the separation of church and state. Gay activists are dismissive of these threats, but if you watch the legal battles emerging in states that have legalized it, you will see that these threats are real and have already started to unravel the rights of heterosexual citizens to worship as they please.

    Just because someone is opposed to gay marriage doesn't make them a bigot. It is a complicated issue that most people, including gay couples, have a very poor understanding of. I personally believe that until gay rights activists find reasonable ways of advancing their cause without threatening the rights of others to disagree with them, they will find little success.

    There is something I would like to speak out against because I find it very disturbing. There are reports of acts of hatred against Mormon supporters of Proposition 8 in California, of acts of vandalism on their homes, trespassing on their property, and even physical violence. This will only hurt the movement the perpetrators are acting in behalf of, and it will only strengthen the resolve of Mormons. We are used to persecution and hatred in ways the gay community has only had a taste of. There is great irony that in the battle of "love versus hate" the "love" side would commit hate crimes.

    November 15, 2008 at 9:15 pm |
  46. kk

    Thank you, Andrew, for stating all this so well.

    Months ago, a young man rang the doorbell of my little rented house in our quiet San Francisco Bay Area early 50's suburb.

    I opened the door, smiling tiredly, thinking, "Another solicitor." He somewhat warily asked, "What is your position on gay marriage?"
    Relieved, I answered, "I believe that when two people love each other and want to formalize their relationship, they have a right to do so regardless of sex. Er, GENDER!! Sorry." We laughed at my mistake, but he looked astonished at my simple direct answer.

    I wished him luck in his survey, and he left.

    It really all does boil down to that "regardless". I'm a retired old heterosexual lady librarian, and I've always been somewhat amazed at what people choose to hate, what they choose to believe from the carryings-on of their particular religious sects, what they choose to shudder at, what they just don't get, etc.

    Love is love. People who have the honor of the opportunity are better off heeding the call of mutual love regardless, there's that word again, of having at times to steer difficult courses thru madnesses that try to prevent that union from taking place.

    My very best to you and your family. Those kids are going to be very lucky to have the two of you as their parents.


    November 15, 2008 at 8:19 pm |
  47. Us Citizen = Equal Rights

    People, can I share some facts? Please? Give me a minute:

    1) Gay people marrying will not stop straight people from marrying *

    2) Gay people marrying will not make straight people get divorced *

    3) Gay people marrying will not stop straight people from procreating *

    4) Gay people marrying will not remove any rights from anybody else *

    * If you have any FACTUAL evidence to the contrary, let me know
    ** You can not use any religious or Biblical quotes, because the Bible is not the US Constitution – remember?

    This notion that if gay people get married, that somehow straight people will stop marrying and stop producing children is absurd beyond words. I mean, gay people exist now (as they have for centuries), and the world is just as overpopulated as ever.

    If you disagree with gay people, fine. We don't assume you "hate them". However, if you cast a vote that denies gay people equal rights, that's sure a hateful feeling, if you're gay.

    The problem is, most straight people can not even start to comprehend how this would feel – because they are completely protected by the state – simply because they were born straight,
    and have heterosexual sex behind closed doors.

    Now, turn the tables and see what this is:
    Certain citizens are being denied rights – because of what they do in the privacy of their homes, and with their partner.

    Can you imagine the OUTRAGE there would be, if laws were enacted because of what heterosexuals do behind closed doors?

    Until you walk a mile in those shoes – you'll never know.

    November 15, 2008 at 7:34 pm |
  48. Marie

    "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why to you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye" (Matthew 7:1-5).

    To be perfectly honest, I believe that it is the passage that has been misinterpreted, misquoted and misapplied more than almost any other in the Bible. You could say that it's the favorite passage of Scripture in all the Bible among the unbelieving people of this world. This is especially true in our day, when so many people wish to justify their own sin and insulate themselves from any accountability for their behavior. Such people love to quote this passage in order to protect themselves from criticism; although they terribly misuse it when they do so.

    Anyone that thinks God and Jesus do not judge, needs to read the Bibile. Jesus used a whip to beat money changers out of the temple. And God took a Kings life where he stood and sent worms to eat his body. There are so many stories where God struck people down that I couldn't begin to tell them all in this one Blog.

    I am not going to throw stones at you because you are gay, but I am not going to vote to give you rights, or change the definition of marriage for you, or tell you that I think it's okay. I will pray for you.

    November 15, 2008 at 7:05 pm |
  49. Charlene

    I believe that the problem is that marriage as ordained in the scriptures has lost it's intent and the power behind it. The church should be the agent of marriage as defined in the scriptures between a man and woman, and should also enforce the tenets set down between those two people. If a member in a marriage violates any of the agreement, basically nothing happens so it loses it's meaning. This is why we have such a high divorce rate. As far as gay people being married, I think the courts should handle that aspect of our society, thus a true separation between church and state. Those who do not agree with the religious aspect of marriage should be allowed to go to the government entity that allows marriage based on the laws set down whether same sex or not. No matter we need to put some strength behind marriage so that people, children are protected. God Bless Us All

    November 15, 2008 at 6:51 pm |
  50. Jade

    Some amendments and/or propositions may hurt me also, but it doesn't mean that it's wrong. A lot of times I look at issues and think "If everyone did that, what would happen to the world." Obviously with this issues the answer to my own question would not be good for the future. Population would drop and that's just the beginning. It's not discrimination. I respect people who choose to be gay, but not everyone's choices is good for the future of the world or country.

    November 15, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
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