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April 7th, 2009
10:42 AM ET

Why gay marriage matters

Larry Hoch, left, and David Twombley, one of six couples that filed suit, celebrate Friday at a news conference.

Larry Hoch, left, and David Twombley, one of six couples that filed suit, celebrate Friday at a news conference.

Michael Judge
The Wall Street Journal

I often tell friends that a part of me is gay, even though I've been happily married to my wife for 12 years. What I mean is that in April 2003 I donated a kidney to my older brother David, who is gay. The transplant took place at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics - and it was, in a very real sense, a miraculous event for our entire family.

So when David called me last Friday excited about the Iowa Supreme Court decision making same-sex marriage legal, I wasn't surprised. "You know what this means, don't you?" he asked. "It means we can visit those we love when they're dying in the hospital; it means we're finally treated like family."

Most hospitals in America only allow spouses and immediate family members to visit a patient during a medical emergency, when a patient is unconscious or in critical condition after a car accident, heart attack or kidney failure, for example. These are the moments when our spouses are most needed, the moments when life and death decisions are made - and, if necessary, goodbyes are said. My brother, whose kidneys failed when he was in his 30s, understands these moments.

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. GF, Los Angeles

    I'm so happy that gay marriage is allowed in Iowa. This is a huge step for rights for all consenting adults to marry regardless of sex. Louie if you did not have the right to marry – you'd sing a different tune.

    April 7, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  2. Louie from Lexington, SC

    Blah blah blah blah blah! It's the hospital policy that you need to focus on, not marriage. What silly reasoning...

    April 7, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  3. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    What you did for your brother was admirable-–and my hat off to you for that-–but in reality-–it was his life in jeporady--not his sexual orientation--don't confuse one with the other.

    April 7, 2009 at 12:25 pm |