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Happy Coming Out Day, everyone. I’m not usually one to get up on a soapbox. At least not without a few bottles of chardonnay filtering through my kidneys but hey– who’s website is this anyway? I guess this counts as a soapbox.

So I posted something on my Facebook page today basically proclaiming me to be a straight ally who supports a same sex couple’s right to marry. A newly confirmed “friend” immediately jumped on it questioning why anyone would WANT to be married as it is essentially a “contract” and an “abysmal failure.” Yikes. He did go on to explain he didn’t exactly have such a good experience with said “contract.” I hope he at least got some nice napkin rings out of it.

Here’s the deal. Extending the right to marry to same-sex couples isn’t about pouffy white dresses and multi-tiered cakes. It’s about civil rights. Basic human rights. My gay friends don’t want to get married because they need new pots and pans (like me.) They’re in committed, healthy, functional, loving relationships that by all accounts and purposes look a whole lot like marriage. Only unlike a married couple they can’t be on each other’s insurance plans, they have no right to make important decisions about their partner’s health and well-being. Hell, they might not even be able to visit their partner in the hospital because they’re not considered “family.” Really?

There are lots of antiquated views of married out there. It’s between a man and a woman! It fostered pro-creation! Same sex couples are immoral!

Oh please.

Procreation? What about heterosexual couples who don’t want children. Can they marry? What about heterosexual couples who can’t have kids? Can they marry? What about gold-diggers and Vegas drunks, and sixteen year old imported brides? Oh sure– allow them all to enter into your sacred martial contract.

I’m not a cynic. I know plenty of happily married couples. My parents for one. But I also know that statistics show a marriage has just as much a chance of succeeding as it does of failing. So what exactly are we trying so hard to protect? Seems this “institution” is already failing. If anything, allowing same sex couples to marry would help those stats. Some of the happiest couples I know are gays and lesbians. On second thought maybe that’s because they can’t legally marry. Maybe they’re on to something here.

So, if you’re gay, straight, immoral, uptight, or any other adjective that suits you, Happy Coming Out Day. Whoever you are and whoever you love.

Shelly Mazzanoble

6 Replies to “Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are”

  1. Plus you’d think the legal profession would be in full support of this too, with all the money they could make out from all the extra divorces!

    On a more serious note, it’s so easy for the rest of us to stand back from this issue and say “well, let the gays protest for gay rights”, so mad props to you for speaking up!

    I have to agree with you on gay and lesbian couples seeming to be happier in general, as I’ve noticed the same from my own friends in those areas – perhaps it’s because they had to work that much harder for the relationship to be “accepted” in the first place that they made sure they were with the right person first?

    Finally, I had to stifle a snigger at your typo of “martial contract”, as it gave me a mental image of husbands and wives battering one another with the wedding gifts five minutes after leaving the church. Come to think of it, maybe it isn’t a typo!

  2. Dear Shelly,

    Hey, if you’re going to have a web site, why not stand a soap box, right? Seems like you’ve earned the right. As a loyal and devoted reader of your writing I hope that means I have a right to disagree with you. I can’t help but be a little crushed (maybe out of a little healthy hero worship) reading your stance, whether I expected it or not. I am one of those “antiquated” people who believes in everything you seem to be mocking. Yes, my stance against same sex couple marriage is based on my religious beliefs. Faith seems to be under attack in every form of media out there right now, but we’re not all Kathy Bates “Misery” religious. Faith has been replaced by pragmaticism: If it doesn’t make sense according to the way we see things, it must be wrong, right? Well, not if there really is a God because for many of us faith means following his words until we understand the why in the long term.
    I respectfully disagree that it’s the institution that’s failed us. Maybe we failed because we didn’t honor the institution the way it was given to us when the world began. You said it: mail-order brides, Vegas drunks, and gold-diggers. Maybe our stats that show marriages are failing by almost half have more to do with our approach to marriage. You asked what we’re trying to protect? I’m trying to protect marriage between men and women, marriage for the long haul, marriages where partners grow together and find reason reason to stay together, rather than call it quits for drifting apart, marriage the way I believe it was intended to work. For many of us, marriage is sacred still.
    Why am writing this when I can imagine your other readers will likely blast me? Why am I writing this when my audience will not likely respect my opinion whether or not they agree I am entitled to it (even if I am a crazy religious nut holding on to archaic traditions)? I am responding because I think someone needs to speak for our God and His followers. He is usually silent so that we have to walk by faith. I wonder, though, if standing before Him (if indeed he exists-humor me) we’d argue so confidently our stance of relativism.
    I am not preaching hatred because I want to defend marriage, which is a largely religious insititution to begin across most cultures and faiths. I am defending marriage itself, and I don’t want my daughters to grow up in a world that has bent the idea of a sacred marriage so far out of wack that the term no longer applies. Will they next be asked to accept the idea that marriage between a man and a dog is acceptable? Where is the dividing line between what is right and wrong, marriage and not marriage?
    I am all for civil unions and rights. I think your hospital visitation example is right on the money. I have gay friends and I do not treat them differently, and I don’t understand unkindness towards anyone simply because you don’t like all their choices. We ought not be casting stones, but for me and many others like me, this is not an issue of casting stones. Sometimes, you have to draw a line in the sand.

  3. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this wonderfully stated argument. You won’t get blasted. If you do, I won’t approve the comment. 🙂 In all seriousness, it’s a very divisive issue and there are so many factors tied up in it. You have every right to your opinion and I thank you for voicing it here. I can’t even rightfully call it an “argument” as I do agree with you on many of your points. You’re probably right that some people don’t honor their commitment. I’ve even been a guest at their weddings. And let’s face it, getting out of a marriage is even easier than getting into one. Like I said, I’m not a cynic. I know plenty of happy couples. I’m 1/2 of a happy couple. But I also see marriage as more of a “spiritual” commitment as opposed to a “religious” one. The issue isn’t as black and white as I may have made it out to be and I certainly didn’t mean to mock your beliefs. (I happen to love Kathy Bates in Misery, btw. My mom and I still quote her.)

    I fully respect your beliefs and thank you for respectfully disagreeing with mine. While we both may come at it from different places, it looks like we both agree on what is at the core of this issue and that is civil rights for ALL people. Thank you again for you comment.

  4. Dear Shelly,

    Thank you for proving yet again why you’re not only a good writer, but a wonderful person. I remain a devoted reader. If everyone could agree to disagree like you just did, the world would be a happier place.

    P.S. My little penguin always faces due South…

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