I don’t mean to sound heterophobic, but can heterosexuals honestly be harbingers of the sanctity of marriage? Let’s start from the beginning. Not the Adam and Eve beginning, though it’s important to note that even they weren’t married in the traditional sense. Let’s go back to the beginning of this country’s fierce defense of the traditional definition of marriage. It was Bill Clinton, a man who put a cigar in the vagina of his White House intern, who signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law. A man who cheated ritualistically on his wife while at work is the poster child, the ring leader, the voice of a heterosexual movement against marriage equality. That’s a pretty laughable leader of a movement if you ask me.
In the last few decades there have been scores of religious institutions and other non-faith-based organizations spending enormous sums of money and other resources to protest the very insinuation of a redefinition of federal and state marriage to include same sex couples. Never once, however, have we seen a visible, heterosexual effort to protest divorce. Isn’t it divorce that is the true threat to heterosexual marriage? I would love to see a gay group, even if just for satire, stage a protest against heterosexual divorce. Or even better, I’d love to see a gay group try to lobby for a federal ban against heterosexual divorce. After all, it is a sin according to the bible, and we are a 100% Christian country, aren’t we? Everyone must abide by this religious book in our theocracy. Actually, only 32% of the world population is Christian but this country doesn’t always legislate that way.
Take a look at pop culture if you want a good picture of the sanctity of heterosexual marriage. You have Juan Pablo and his Bachelor colleagues dating numerous women and alluding to sexual escapades on television in pursuit of a marriage which is no more than a publicity stunt and solid source of ratings for a TV network. I’m not sure if I find Juan Pablo more despicable because he is audibly homophobic or because he is a single father putting his son through a humiliating, televised trivialization of his father’s courtship with his prospective new mother. Either way, there is certainly no sanctity of marriage to be found there!
And today we have the San Antonio, Texas judge ruling that the state’s ban on same sex marriage alienates the rights of gay and lesbian Texans. Right-wingers were quick to point out that this judge is undermining the millions of Texans who voted, 3-to-1, in favor of this ban some years ago; that states should be allowed to rule as they please. You mean we stand for the majority voting for the rights of a minority? I find this as offensive as this “Juneteenth” celebration that exists in Texas where we celebrate the two-and-a-half-years-too-late emancipation of slaves, because Texas was too slow to act. I salute Judge Orlando Garcia for not being too slow to act. “Today’s court decision is not made in defiance of the great people of Texas or the Texas Legislature, but in compliance with the U.S. Constitution and Supreme Court precedent,” the judge wrote. “Without a rational relation to a legitimate governmental purpose, state-imposed inequality can find no refuge in our U.S. Constitution.” It’s too bad he copped out, however, to allow the appeals process to delay what is ultimately the rights of the people.
The argument being made about religious freedom in this country is actually backfiring. A marriage ban based on religious doctrine is actually, in itself, religious oppression. Our constitution affords us, besides the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, the right to live without tyranny and oppression from religion. Thomas Jefferson said, “Because religious belief, or non-belief, is such an important part of every person’s life, freedom of religion affects every individual. Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights.” He gave this speech in 1808 in Virginia and 206 years later his words still ring true in the hearts of people in Texas and in the nation.
It is inevitable that my partner of 13 years and I will get married possibly in New York, where our roots are, and possibly in Texas, where we’ve dropped our anchor. We’ll do it for the additional legal protections that the law creates for us over and above the legal documents that we have already signed. We’ll also do it as a symbolic gesture that these are our civil rights for the claiming. Otherwise, I’ve never felt the need for a civic or religious institution to affirm what I already know in my heart to be so wonderful and natural and sanctimonious and right.