“Be In Love With Love”
I have been married for 30 years…going on 31. And with Illinois poised to become the 10th state to recognize gay marriage, I feel I get to talk about marriage and marriage equality. Marriage is hard, staying together is hard, building a life together is hard…and everyone should have the opportunity to give it a go.
The best advice I’ve read on keeping a love match going (which is “traditional” marriage for the last 100 years or so) came from two men who were together for 60(!) years. A series in the Oregonian newspaper called “Northwest Love Stories” highlighted their union, and when asked for advice for new couples, they said
They also said “The main thing that I come back to is commitment. You have to decide from the very beginning whether it’s going to be a committed relationship for a long period or if it’s just going to be as long as it lasts. Which is what most people do. They fall in love with lust instead of love. And they think that when the sex starts getting bad, that’s the end of the relationship. That’s the beginning of the relationship! That’s when you start working on it.”
Their story could be anybody’s story, how they met, the things they do to keep their love and union fresh, to demonstrate their commitment to each other. What they do is the framework in which to create a family…it need not include a child or the ability to procreate. If you’d like children, then the proper framework is there. Not everyone should procreate, or wants to procreate, or add to the burden to the overpopulated planet and that is why marriage is about a union that creates bond and strengthens community. That is the new tradition.
Arguments from the Right for their version of “traditional” marriage are sounding increasingly whiny and petty. As heard during a discussion on this episode of Think Out Loud, a spokeswoman for the Protect Marriage Oregon Coalition brought out the same stale points: “marriage is separate and different from other loving relationships since it is made up of two people who can procreate”.
The procreation argument has become even more ridiculous considering the myriad ways to become pregnant or father a child, regardless of sexual orientation. Another fear is that children will be taught about same-sex marriage is the same as ‘traditional’ marriage in school; kindergarten and first grade. That story from Massachusetts been debunked, yet the fear that students will be taught ‘tolerance’ or anti-bias curriculum which is ‘anti-American’ remains.
It was only a little less than a hundred years ago that my grandmother balked at the ‘traditional’ marriage based on a match made by her parents and she fought for a love match with the man who would be my grandfather. Twenty-six years after that, my mother chose a love match, outside of the ‘traditional’ marriage of ethnic partners, with the Irishman who would be my father. The cost was his family disowning him (except for one sister) and having no contact because he married an Italian woman.
Ten Countries around the world recognize same-sex marriage. In March the Supreme Court will begin hearing the cases to decide if the Defense of Marriage Act (1996) is unconstitutional and whether Prop 8 in California, which outlaws same-sex marriage, should be struck down. Are we prepared to make ‘traditional’ marriage available to all who love or only to those continue to discriminate based on sexual orientation? Because there is no other argument to make.