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.
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.