As I hear the discourse about the merits of marriage equality and the baseless concerns, I am always shocked that I never hear that the case for gay marriage is to honor what already exists. As a country developed on Democratic principles, how can we not acknowledge the case for marriage equality comes from the tapestry of relationships and love that has always existed? Marriage has always existed in the gay community. The refusal to recognize it did not prevent this from occurring.
When the AIDS crisis was at its crest, I “came out” into the world. Because of my unbelievable fear of the virus and a desire to be a part of my community, I volunteered to support people with HIV and with AIDS. I saw the authentic demonstration of the Christian love I had been told about my whole life. I saw men in long-term relationships love each other until the very end and learn to say the hardest of goodbyes as their loved ones were ravaged by a host of symptoms.
These teachers taught me how to be a married man through their demonstration of love, loyalty, and courage when things were hardest.
Words and language have tremendous power to separate and cause harm. Civil unions offer the same rights in our state with no access to the federal rights of marriage, and this “second class” status communicates to our community that our journey of love and family is somehow less significant. I honor the opportunity civil unions have provided and the hard work of many people to make civil unions a reality. However, it is time to take that next step.
When I legally married my husband in Massachusetts, I realized that “I do” was really “I already do and will continue to for the rest of the days of my life.” Truly, I would give my life to my dear John and I count myself blessed to share this life with such a beautiful man. He inspires me everyday to grow and expand who I am and how I love. He is my greatest teacher and my best friend.
We have approved legalized marijuana, and yet, it will take our court system to recognize my relationship. As a Colorado native, I don’t think we should be proud of this. As tourists flock here to get stoned, we are forced to travel to another state to get married.
Does this make sense to anyone?
As Maya Angelou teaches us, “Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.” I hope our magnificent and beautiful state can embrace the love we share.
Acknowledging and celebrating marriage for all will only strengthen us.