Married Lives Matter

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This issue of The Mirror celebrates gay marriage.

Few pages of American history ever turned so rapidly.

Barely 20 years ago, LGBT advocates were petitioning city and county commissions to recognize 'domestic partnerships.' We then fought to see if local and state governments would validate 'civil unions.'

Before we knew it, lawyers in Massachusetts and elsewhere were in court asking jurists to rule that same-sex marriage was the constitutional right of every American citizen.

And why not?

Despite what religious zealots argued, marriage is not a tablet handed down from above. It is simply a social contract between two adults, who gain financial benefits from it.

Our laws are drafted in such a way so that your marriage to another person gives you unique tax benefits with the IRS. Economists have calculated that even ordinary same-sex couples could lose as much as $500,000 over a lifetime because they could not marry and therefore can’t get employers’ spousal health insurance, among other disadvantage

Social Security's spousal benefit allows marriage partners more flexibility in planning for retirement in a number of ways. For example, at full retirement age, lower-earning spouses can collect a benefit based on their own record or half of their higher-earning spouse's benefit, whichever is larger. But these are material things.

The greatest truth we see emerging out of same sex marriage is that the LGBT community is now raising children. We have become parents. It is perhaps the healthiest result of the sea change in our laws. Married lives matter.

For so many years, gay men and women lived their lives alone, apart and in isolation from the rest of the world. We fought intimacy and partnerships, because they brought us not recognition and acclaim, but approbation and unhappiness.

How many times over how many years have gay seniors told you, 'Yes, I knew I was gay, but I always wanted to get married so I could have children'? Not me, I never wanted to do diapers.

Society sanctioning same-sex marriages today means that the world tomorrow will not just legitimatize gay partnerships legally, it will normalize them socially. It opens the door for us to not just be equal partners, but proud parents. The PTA (Parents Teachers Association) and Gay Days at Disney will never be the same.

Gay marriage means that if you make your living running gay bars you may want to start revising your demographics. There are going to be a lot less gay customers in their thirties hanging out late at night in your club with vodka in their hand. They are going to be home in the living room teaching their kids how to play the piano.

To those of you getting married, planning to raise families, good luck. Your lives as gay men and women will be emotionally enriching and spiritually galvanizing in a way generations before you could never know.

As you go forward with a child by your side, don't ever forget take for granted the momentous factors and fate that brought you there. Once, our society deemed us deviant. Today, we are dads. Once, psychologists said we were 'mentally ill.' Now, our kids will make us that way all on our own. Once, we were hedonists romping into the night. Tomorrow, we will be cursing the alimony payments we have to make.

Oh yeah, what a ride this is going to be.


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