AN INSTITUTION KNOWN AS THE BEDROCK OF civilization is under attack. Marriage is threatened.
No. Not by gays.
By heterosexuals like myself who, unlike me, chose more and more often to shack up in cohabitation without the rings, solemn promises, cool gift registries and protection of Californiaâ€™s community property laws.
Studies show that fewer and fewer hetero couples are taking advantage of their straight privilege to be bridezillas or grooms missing in action while planning that joyous event that marks starting a life together.
Who needs all that, when you can simply sign a lease together?
Meanwhile, lots of gay friends and family members are praying (thatâ€™s right, many gays go to church!) and hoping against hope that Californiaâ€™s Proposition 8 will be rejected by voters, and they can keep their wedding china, or at least keep dreaming about the co-bride or groom of their dreams.
Here we have a whole group of people jumping for joy at the idea of â€˜til death do us partâ€™ at a time when marriage rates are declining, and some people want to turn them away from the courthouse, forever barring them from obtaining a marriage license.
Could we get any more silly?
I know, I know. Somehow, the idea that I might someday see my best friend Jo wear a cute white suit while she marries another woman makes my straight marriage less special. At least according to those so-called Christians.
Let me say this: I am a straight woman who has been happily married for four years. I am also a Christian. I feel absolutely no threat from gay marriage.
In fact, I feel relief, because I know when my cousin Sean marries his boyfriend Clint, they will not make me wear an ugly lavender bridesmaid dress with a butt bow that looks like it was made from the drapes from the Ramada Inn. (What the hell is wrong with us straight brides?) They will pick something cute, probably by Dolce and Gabbana or Versace.
Kidding aside, I am really happy that Sean and Clint can currently marry, if they want, as can Jo when she someday finds the woman of her dreams. I love them all dearly, and it rips me up to see them subjected to such statements as â€œGod Hates Fags,â€ and â€œAdam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.â€
Let me tell you something about my cousin, who I grew up with. Sean and I were raised Roman Catholic, in a tight-knit, Irish-American family. Sean was an altar boy who went to Catholic school, all the way through 12th grade. Family is very important to him. Heâ€™s actually a kind of traditional dude, and when we were younger, he was a Republican.
Sean struggled so hard to fit into what our church and society defined as â€œnormal.â€ In college, he dated girl after girl (he is extremely handsome). But the relationships never lasted. I started to worry about him, when he began drinking heavily, getting into bar fights and having money problems. He spent money wildly, and eventually went bankrupt.
It was clear something was very wrong Finally, shortly after my own marriage, when Seanâ€™s other grandmother died, my mother and others were puzzled by the presence of a really nice young guy who never left Seanâ€™s side during the service.
My uncle asked what the deal was, and my aunt told them that recently Sean had come out as gay.
Since then, my cousinâ€™s life has improved drastically. He has made peace with who God meant for him to be all along. Sean tried to be straight, to find a girl to marry.
But that wasnâ€™t the way God made him. God made him gay, and thatâ€™s great, as far as I am concerned.
He now has a great career in culinary science, and shares a condo with Clint and their two dogs, who are spoiled rotten. Clint calls my mom â€œAunt Pattyâ€ and my dad â€œUncle Allan.â€
If you were to tell me being gay is a choice, I would want to punch you in the face, because I have seen a gay man struggle and try to choose to be straight. It does not work.
So-called ex-gay programs and ministries have been widely discounted as ineffectual and downright dangerous, according to the American Medical Association, and the American Psychological Association.
They do more damage than good.
Whatâ€™s the danger in espousing anti-gay rhetoric? You might want to ask Mary Lou Wallner, of Little Rock, Arkansas. She went to a fundamentalist church, and regularly listened to conservative psychologist, Dr. James Dobsonâ€™s â€œFocus on the Familyâ€ radio programs, which claim parents can make children who think they are gay straight.
When Wallnerâ€™s daughter, Anna, came out, Wallner wrote her a letter saying she could never accept her daughterâ€™s sexual orientation, which she â€œwould always hate.â€ The two became estranged, and a few short years later, Anna, depressed, committed suicide, by poignantly hanging herself in a closed closet. Wallner has founded TEACH Ministries, which is dedicated to speaking out against homophobic religious rhetoric, â€œand helping the thousands if surrogate Annas I have met,â€ she says.
Studies show gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered teens are much more likely to commit suicide.
I am not surprised, when you see people carrying homophobic â€œYes on 8â€ signs at the corner of Blackstone and Shaw.
These people claim they are worried their precious, Sunday school perfect children will be exposed to gay marriage in public schools.
This is a lie.
Parents can always opt to have children not attend school during a lesson they find controversial, and schools are under local control by school districts, so parents can make their concerns about curriculum known.
Letâ€™s be honest: these parents really worry their child might be like another kid who had perfect attendance at Sunday school, and went on to become a minister.
His name was V. Gene Robinson, and he became the first openly gay bishop of the Episcopal Church. Robinson, like my cousin, tried to be straight, even married a woman and had kids. According to the great documentary â€œFor the Bible Tells Me So,â€ â€œGod made Gene gay for this reason â€” to give people hope.â€
Hereâ€™s hoping we can all remember the Bible tells us in First Corinthians, which I used at my wedding: â€œLove is patient. Love is kind… It is not rude or boastful. Love never ends.â€ Nowhere does it, or did Christ say, â€œLove is straight.â€