Friday, March 5, 2010


The whole Prop 8 California gay marriage debate has caused a lot of headaches and a lot of heartbreaks. I made phone calls and such in support of the amendment, which constitutionally defined marriage as being between one man and one woman.

I get the other side of the argument. Believe me, I do. I've had gay friends (most of whom I have, admittedly, lost touch with over the years). My husband currently has a few gay co-workers who are amazing people. There's a part of me that, knowing these good-hearted individuals who have been generous and kind to me, wants to just say, "What's the big deal?" and let it be. I understand all their arguments and feelings, and I see why it all makes so much sense from that side of the issue. We've had a few moments with some of those we love that have been horribly hard. Nevertheless, I have firm thoughts and beliefs on why, in the long run, that would be an unwise and unhealthy choice for our society, both spiritually and sociologically, so my mind isn't going to be changed, heartaches and difficulties aside. Yes, I realize that makes me sound narrow and hard-hearted to many. I also know that those who know me personally know that I am not narrow or hard-hearted at all, so they remain puzzled, but usually not angry.

But something that has driven me absolutely bonkers is the argument that straight people have been destroying marriage for a long time, so its hypocritical to try to say this shouldn't be OK because it tarnishes the sanctity of marriage. Would it be hypocritical for a thrice-divorced guy who cheated on a few wives to go on diatribes about gay marriage ruining the sanctity of marriage? Yeah, probably.

But that's not who I am either. I take marriage very seriously--mine and other peoples. With my husband, I work very hard on our relationship. That means communicating, compromising, sacrificing and always putting that relationship before all others to ensure its health and longevity--because nothing else, even our very, very precious children, matters as much in the long run as that relationship with each other. Our kids are the only priority that comes close to our marriage, and they benefit tremendously every day from the emphasis that we put on our marriage. I stay out of other people's marriages; there have been times when I've been invited in momentarily to help facilitate communication and I've done that with love for both people involved and quietly and quickly excused myself when my help was no longer needed. To become who we should be, we need that companion who fights our battles, celebrates our victories and completes our happiness. The person who challenges us to, with them, reach our full potential. As Shakespeare so beautifully put it, "He is the half part of a blessed man/Left to be finished by such as she/And she a fair divided excellence/Whose fullness of perfection lies in him."

So don't tell me that because straight people get divorced and make a mockery of marriage, I am a hypocrite for trying to maintain its sanctity. Yes, I'm against no-fault divorce (though not divorce under any circumstances--I do think that there are rare times when that is, sadly, the only real option left). I'm against pre-nuptial agreements (if you're going in with an escape plan for failure, you're not going in the way that you should). And I'm very much against junk food like The Bachelor. You don't just conveniently walk away from marriage because you "outgrew each other" or "just don't feel in love anymore"; you don't head into marriage thinking it'll probably end anyway, so lets have a plan; and you don't turn courting and marriage into a game show for the entertainment of others. Its sacred, its personal, and it deserves to be respected and cherished--not torn apart or exploited.

If you respect the sanctity of marriage, respect it in its entirety, not just when compelled to by legal issues. Sure, the invite we got last year to a gay wedding puts us in an awkward position, trying to reconcile our love for an individual with the proper action to support our principles. But it didn't make me angry. I admit, though, that casual divorce and marriage-as-public-entertainment make me very angry, so don't throw them at me as an example of something I excuse or support in order to label me a hypocrite.