Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sticking to Conventions?

How many gay people do you think really want to get married and live a more or less straight life by adopting children and so on? Anon.

Well, I don't know if you could call it "living a straight life" when both partners are of the same sex, but I do understand that some less conventional gays have no particular desire to "mimic" straight people by marrying, having/adopting kids, and moving to the suburbs. [But let me say at the outset that not only are there unconventional straight couples who love city life, but many straight couples who have no interest in raising children. It's a personal call no matter what one's orientation.] Some gay couples have children because one of the partners was formerly married before "finding" him or herself. Another point: when gay couples adopt children they're giving homes and nurturing to orphans/abandoned kids who might otherwise have no parents or families. And gay parents do just as good a job as straight ones.

As many people have said, gay marriage is about marriage equality. Whether all gay people want to marry their partners or not is besides the point. Gays, like straights, should have the freedom to marry if they wish. Gay marriage sends a message that homosexual relationships are equal to heterosexual relationships, that gay people are not second-class citizens. Gays in this country pay taxes and are in general good citizens -- telling us we can't get married to one another is outrageous.

At the same time, the gay "lifestyle" was for many years sort of an "outlaw" lifestyle and even today many gay people kind of like that status, and want to be outside the "normal" conventions. For instance, they feel gay life is more accepting of "open" relationships [which is not necessarily true], sexual creativity and experimentation, and sexual activity outside the relationship. Marrying and having the proverbial 2.5 children does not interest such people at all. [And of course jokes have made the rounds to the effect that gays should consider themselves well out of the marriage business, as they can avoid all the hell of bitter divorce, custody battles, and alimony payments. But you have to take the good with the bad, right?]

But that's the thing. This is just another reminder of the incredible diversity of the gay community. And I daresay that those gays who reject marriage do and certainly should support it for others in their community who desire the same rights, privileges and protections that heterosexual married couples have.

So always keep in mind that gay marriage is less about marriage than it is about equality.

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