I had gay roommates in college. I have lost track of them over the years – as I’ve lost track of almost everyone from my college days – but we were good friends.
I became acquainted with the gay community where I went to school and I found them to be warm and accepting. I believe that many other communities of people, from corporate communities to social groups to churches, could learn a great deal from the basic acceptance granted and enjoyed by a group like that. Of course it’s not universal, there are just as many disputes and negative relationships among gays as anyone else. But at that time, I remember only friendship.
In my professional life I have known many other gay people. I have hired them, worked closely with them, partied with them and been near them as they lived and even died. They are like everyone else in basic life functions. I have loved them and still do.
One time when I traveled walked through San Francisco Airport, I wept over the sheer carnage of the AIDS epidemic, looking at the quilts with people’s names on them draped on the ceiling. That display haunted me and it still does . These are people, and people matter to me. A lot.
Like everyone else, I have relatives and friends who are gay. We recently hired a gay man to design our bathrooms because he was good at what he did. I think no less of any of these people.
Now, this is not to say that there aren’t distinguishing attributes among gays, particularly men. There are. But for me that has not been reason for hatred or bias.
And though there are gay people, as there are straight people, with whom I have trouble relating because of personality clashes and trustworthiness, I have no particular disdain for gays as a group.
I believe, therefore, it’s a true statement that you will look in vain for the gay person I do not like because of his/her sexual orientation.
That preamble is necessary because of the climate that surrounds the same-sex marriage debate. It’s not nice, and I’ll write more about that below.
So where do I stand?
I don’t support it.
Not on religious grounds but on the grounds of biology.
I reserve the word “marriage” for unions that naturally produce offspring. This definition is not something I came up with; it’s worldwide and across time. Muslims, Hindus, believers in all kinds of gods and goddesses have a common practice – men marry women.
No doubt a culture that allows and embraces same-sex marriage can be found. But they generally die out; no babies. And I know no one who wasn’t born of a male-female sexual union. I have never met a former test-tube baby.
Do not read fertility into that definition. It’s about biology, not fertility. And not religion.
Whether or not a couple has the ability to bear children, the presence of the biological equipment to do so constitutes “marriage”. Again, there are all manner of variations to the state of human bodies causing heterosexual couples to be unable to have children, and indeed they can decide to not have children. But heterosexual they must be for it to be a marriage.
Now, the case in my state of Massachusetts, Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, was a case worth making. People who love each other should not be hindered by default law from visitation or any other supportive activity.
So I believe civil unions are a great idea, not only for gays but for all kinds of people, monastic communities, etc.
Addressing the vitriolic
Saying anything about this topic is incendiary right now, but I would rather express the freedom to write this than live in the fear of recrimination.
I’ve read my very argument herein described as “stupid” and have read hateful words by people who don’t usually hate. The a-hole word is also slung around a lot.
Now, it’s not that anger isn’t a really good high – it is! But when the adrenalin wanes you crash only to view the damage you’ve done.
Whether you believe it or not, I do not hate gay people, never have and never will. Those casting hatred or stupidity or moral inferiority on me for having and expressing my views are really describing themselves when they say what they say.
I’m not uneducated, uninformed or less moral than those who disagree. We. just. disagree.
And if I’m unfriended or otherwise ostracized, that’s probably a good thing. Real friends can agree to disagree.