Friday, September 16, 2011

Same Sex Marriage From A Bisexual Viewpoint

There's a lot of talk these days about same sex marriage and there is going to be more as the Presidential Campaigns swing into high gear for the November, 2012 elections.

I'm a moderate Republican. That means I'm fairly conservative on fiscal issues and fairly liberal on many social issues. It also means I fear the radical right wing of the Republican party as much as I fear the radical left wing of the Democrat party.

But, on the subject of same sex marriage, the Democrats usually have it right and the Republicans usually have it wrong. The right wing conservatives go on and on about how same sex marriage will destroy the institution of marriage. It's a stupid stance. If anything equal rights, equal opportunity and equal treatment for gay people would strengthen traditional marriage in the long run because there would eventually be fewer gay guys getting married to a woman for all the wrong reasons and those marriages would not be ending in bitter divorces that affect not only the couple, but also have devastating effects upon their children.

There is no doubt the institution of marriage is in trouble today. It simply has very little to do with the issue of same sex marriage. Marriage is in trouble for many reasons. People are living longer. Vows of life long commitment mean a much longer commitment now than they once did. In two career families, which are now the norm, added strains are put on marriages and women are economically, as wage earners, more able to tell their husbands they're done than they were years ago when their economic well being was directly tied to him. Another big reason the institution of marriage is in trouble is because so many young people today are the product of broken homes and failed marriages, they have made the decision never to get involved with marriage themselves. The number of people choosing to live together in long term relationships without the chains of marriage is at an all time high.

As a married bisexual man, I think I have a fairly good perspective of marriage. I can easily see its good points and its bad points. As we learn more about human sexuality, we learn that it plays out in an almost infinite array of activities, social constructs, compulsions, fetishes and desires. Hardy any two  people are exactly the same. In my own case, I am physically bisexual. By that I mean that I can and do respond physically and sexually to both female and male sexual partners.

On the other hand, I am socially and emotionally straight. As a professional man in my career I was straight. While I openly have straight, gay and bisexual friends (by that I mean I acknowledge my gay and bisexual friends to my straight friends and vice versa), socially I function predominately in the straight world with only occasional forays into the bisexual or gay world.  Socially, I am very much a part of the straight world and I enjoy the privileges, benefits and responsibilities that normally accrue to a straight male. Emotionally, I am straight. My emotional well being and sense of self are fully invested in my wife and family. My wife knows of my bisexuality, and one of the reasons she can handle it, I believe, is because she understands my emotional bonds to her.

At the same time, I think it is what I described in the paragraph above that makes bisexuality so unacceptable to other segments of society including traditional straight society and gay society. Straight society fears bisexuals because we exist within their ranks. We are very much a part of their everyday lives, yet often we are invisible. Gays dislike bisexuals because they feel we embrace the straight social world and forge straight emotional bonds to hide what is really our homosexuality and thus avoid paying the price they have paid to be fully out of the closet. As gay men they simply cannot understand the inherent pull of many bisexual men to heterosexual sex, the real need and desire to be a part of straight society and the real need for emotional bonds with a member of the opposite sex while at the same time needing and responding to the physical need for same sex sexual activities. The fact is my best friend is a partnered homosexual man. I know more about him than any other person in my life. I love the guy, but I would not fit into this world because I am not a gay man.

But, my point is, all this plays into exactly what I am trying to say. Traditional marriage is neither necessarily threatened nor demeaned by same sex marriage. Happiness and success comes from being and acting on what we are. By definition, there has to be bisexual men out there who can and have fallen in love with another man. At the same time, as a bisexual man, this man can and does enjoy and respond sexually to women. If he recognizes he is in love with another man and chooses to partner with that man through same sex marriage or a partnership, to some extent, he is making a choice to relate more to gay society and less to straight society. But whatever way it plays out, there is no affect on marriage as an institution unless the affect is that this guy did what was the right choice for him and avoided marriage to a traditional straight woman and perhaps also avoided a future divorce.

Society simply has no valid reason for opposing same sex marriage. To the extent it opposes same sex marriage, it does so out of irrational fear, prejudice and misguided religious ferver which are the exact same reasons society resisted civil rights and racial equality in the decades leading up to the 1960s when the resistance finally began to break down.

Fortunately, we are now seeing the resistance to same sex marriage break down too. Even those who fear that break recognize it. Their recognition of the fact that there is a hole in the dyke (no pun intended) is made quite clear by the push to amend state constitutions as well as the national constitution to define marriage as between one woman and one man. Without such amendments, the fearful and the hateful know that the courts will eventually impose what they fear most upon them.

Society has much to gain by providing equal opportunity and equal protection to all its citizens under the law. Bisexual persons are more likely to be highly educated than is the average person. Homosexual people contribute disproportionately to art, music, literature and have made such contributions for centuries. Increasingly homosexual couples are establishing homes and families and are contributing to society in wonderful ways. They often adopt children who are more difficult to place with traditional families and they enrich the lives of these children as they enrich their own. Homosexual men are more often than not over achievers in every aspect of their lives and they are diligent, innovative and dependable in their professional careers.

The dirty secret behind the opposition to same sex marriage is that radical Christian fundamentalists oppose it because they have made a personal judgement that it is a sin. That is the real reason for all the talk, all the anger and all the attempts at misdirection. And its such a shame. I have not the slightest doubt that if Christ was among us today, he would simply say to homosexual couples, "love one another."

Trying to force someone into a mold he does not fit diminishes society. Allowing nothing other than a right wing radical view of marriage diminishes the true message of Christianity itself. It's time to move to the recognition of reality. Marriage and family is a human right, not a heterosexual right. Because we live in a republic that hopefully will continue to recognize the value of a society in which the state and the church are separate, no church should ever be forced by the state to sanction any marriage it does not wish to sanction. On the other hand, even as a Christian myself, I do not want Christians to be able to force their view upon the state and forbid the state from legalizing and recognizing civil marriages or marriages which take place in more tolerant churches.

Wanda Sykes takes all this and puts a humorous spin on it in the following You Tube Video.


  1. What a great post. I also consider myself a moderate Republican and share these same views about marriage, extremes on either side of the political debate and how bisexuals are viewed by others. Your ability to describe it all so well is appreciated.

  2. Excellent post! Don't know that I've ever seen the issue and different sexual perspectives set forth so well. I was married to a woman for 24 years and have been with a guy 20. The Bi impulses don't stop, but in middle america you had to choose one or the other! I describe myself as a conservative Democrat which is pretty much the same thing as a moderate Republican. Keep up the excellent writing.

  3. Thanks for the video--I needed that! I'd love to have dinner with Wanda Sykes! She's not the most lady like, but she's fun.

  4. One reason there's resistance to "same-sex marriage" is because there is no historical precedent for it. If it were a completely natural variation of the norm, we would have seen a sign of that somewhere - ANYWHERE - before 2011. Yet in the full span of human existance, there is no credible evidence that "same-sex marriage" was ever widely sanctioned or accepted in practice. That means something.

    People like you continually label anyone in opposition as "haters." I'm getting a bit tired of that. This has to do with historical context and what we regard as traditionalism. The fact is, there is no such thing as "same-sex marriage." There is only marriage, and that has always been true. Like it or not, this has profound implications.

    You claim you're a Christian. Have you ever questioned why the Bible doesn't say, "And a man shall take his wife, or husband, and the two shall become one"? Is it because the authors of the Bible were "haters"? Or did they have an insight that you or I can't comprehend? I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. At any rate, if gays were part of the marital equation then, you and I would not be having this dialogue.

    PLEASE, stop drawing a parallel between this issue and racism. There is NO connection whatsover. It is absolutely reprehensible to trivialize the experience of black people by comparing their tragedy to the issue of gays and marriage. I personally find this extremely insensitive and irrational.

    Finally, I have no problem with a legal process that would give gays recognition as legal partners. Let the courts handle it exclusively. But remember that by calling it "marriage," this obligates our religious institutions to accommodate a practice which, at least in principal, is at odds with their beliefs.

  5. Dear Anonymous 9/17/11, In spite of your judgmental reference to "people like me who claim to be Christian" we seem to have more in common than you are perhaps comfortable with.

    I don't give a darn what you call it, marriage, civil partnership, civil commitment or whatever.

    Neither do I care if it is sanctioned by a church of any kind (though rest assured real Christians in real Christian Churches are already performing same sex marriages and more will be doing so with each passing year) so long as it is recognized by the state and national governments and each couple enjoys full legal rights and privileges under the law.

    The fact that you're ok "with a legal process that would give gays recognition as legal partners" and that you would willingly "let the courts handle it exclusively" is fine with me. I'd vote for that in a blink of the eye.

    In the mean time, brace yourself, because the world is changing; and from your letter, its clear you're not going to like the new reality.

    Jack Scott

  6. I love the idea of marriage between a man and a woman. I am proud to say that I was reared by a straight couple who stayed together until they died, almost 50 years. They were married in 1943 and he died in 1992. I knew who my father was. Daddy ruled the roost, as he always had the ultimate say in matters. My mother was proud to be a housewife, along with all the housework, both inside and out, that went along with it. All of my family relatives and friends were the same way. Some had more successful careers and trappings than others, but they were all basically carbon copies of one another. They all started with nothing, and ended with something thanks to hard work and Christian values, although religion was hardly present in any of our lives. None of them were active church members.

    That was then. No one talked about differences or tolerance. We had integrated schools, but not integrated neighborhoods. The idea of an integrated marriage was hard to conceive, and quite rare. From a distance, people would stop and stare at black and white couples, with nothing but pity for their children. After all, who would except them?

    The word gay meant happy. The word queer meant homosexual. Homosexuals were never spoken about at home, although queers like Liberace and Truman Capote were referred to now and then when they popped up on television.

    Maybe it's television's fault. Television changed everything by allowing us all to see and hear about all of this negative news going on in the world.

    Seeing was believing, wasn't it? Walter Cronkite's 20th Century. You Are There. The Cold War. Kennedy's assassination. Race riots and the Viet Nam War. Hippies! Who could forget the Hippies and the college riots? I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

    Somewhere along the way, life changed. Maybe it's Walt Disney's fault. Maybe it's all because of "It's a Small World After All"; encouraging us all to see the world. Once people of the world started to meet one another, they started accepting each other. Creepy isn't it?

    Now--just when we were getting used to things, computers jumped in! Can you imagine, computers in our own homes? But this is nothing like the Man from Uncle, and their computers. No. This is much better. These computers show us anything we would like to see. ANYTHING! I've even heard that straight religious people are looking in on HOMOSEXUAL activity in their very own homes, no less! [Probably while their wives are sleeping after a hard day of canning and scrubbing the linoleum…] I hear these cell phones are getting to be a problem with the youngsters too! Always talking--some even cheat on their school exams with these things! It's just unthinkable what the world has become.

    It's obvious. The only answer is to lock ourselves away in a commune somewhere. Somewhere far away from all this trash and evil in the world. Then we can all think alike, look alike and start a new breed of children who will look and think the same.


I deeply regret that I must reinstate the verification process for those who want to leave comments on my blog. This is due to the intolerable amount of spam that spammers are attempting to leave on the blog.

At the same time I am changing settings so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will not have to have your comments moderated. My hope is this will encourage more readers to take the time to comment. The fact is I want to read comments with those of you who disagree with me as well as those of you who agree with me. All I ask is that you keep your comments clean and non-threatening.

The only reason I take the time to write this blog is to spur your thoughts and comments. Please do not let the spammers cause you not to comment. I know entering the verification words and numbers is a pain in the ass, but I hope you will not let the spammers cause you not to comment.

I still very much look forward to hearing from you.

Jack Scott

Anyone can comment on what I write in this blog. Regretfully, the recent amount of spam in my email account as required that I reinstate the word verification process for comments which I personally hate.

But at the same time I have loosened the comment moderation process so that those of you who have a Google Blogger ID or other recognized blogger ID will no longer need to wait for your comment to be moderated. I'm hoping this will tempt you to take the trouble to comment.

The truth is I want respectful comments both from those who agree with me and those who do not. All I as is that you keep comments to the point, clean and non-threatenting.

I look forward to hearing from each of you.

Jack Scott