An engaged, heterosexual man ruminates on gay marriage, civil unions

Five months ago, I met someone and it changed my life. We fell in love quickly, moved in together, and have rarely left each other’s side in all of that time. In fact, I went out of town alone on Monday and felt a peculiar emptiness alien to me. That, my friends, is what happens when you meet someone who fills the gaps in your life and provides sanctuary from the hard times life inevitable throws your way.So, five months after meeting this special person, I concocted a cheesy plan to buy a ring and some figure approaching a million candles. While my special someone performed in a play, I spent two hours setting up the candles, wrote a poem to commemorate the occasion, and paced around my yard nearly sick from nerves. Soon enough, though, the time arrived for me to be brave, and I was, and the reaction proved wonderful. I’ll never forget how happy I felt, and I mean that in all sincerity.

Now, imagine for a moment that the story I just provided involved another man instead of my actual fiancé, Merry. What would change? Would the joy I felt in finally meeting the person that completed my life suddenly vanish? Would all my preparations and planning magically lose all the romance and saccharine, sentimental fun? Would the validation of my hope and the security of my happiness suddenly lose all value simply because some idiots thought my love was “gross” and “unnatural?”

I wish I could attend a gay wedding. Naturally, if I were able to attend a legal gay marriage, the event would prove that our antiquated and cruel laws have been changed to reflect common decency and an appreciation for equal rights and opportunities.

Now, more than ever, I can empathize with a man or woman barred from marrying someone they love. What right does our government have to force religion-inspired discrimination?

Some people have found Bible verses that seemingly indicate homosexuality is wrong. Guess what: I don’t care. Yeah, you heard me. I also realize that many people who feel that way (that gay marriage is a sin) may be reading this right now. Please allow me to break down a simple, constitutional principle for you: the separation of church and state.

Our government is supposed to operate with the upmost fairness towards all citizens. Thus, our government is not supposed to favor the spiritual beliefs of some citizens over others. Yes, I do realize that our money says, “In God we trust,” and all of that other pro-Christian, discriminatory nonsense (though that issue is fairly benign). Our money, in all fairness, probably shouldn’t say that, and our government should not favor Christianity nearly as much as it does-in blatant defiance, I should add, of the First Amendment to our Constitution. Check that out sometime.

Of course, I also realize that the First Amendment protects the right for churches not to have policy dictated to them by the government. Therefore, if a church doesn’t want to perform gay marriages, they should not be forced to hold the ceremonies. However, in the past, some groups have decided that their church no longer upheld their beliefs, and broke away to form new churches. That is, after all, a major reason for the founding of this nation (remember the pilgrims?).

Civil unions (a legal bond free of spiritual connotation), to me, seem weak substitutes for the real thing. I support the right for two men or women to have a full on wedding and be considered “married” to the same extent that Merry and I will be. If no existing churches would perform this ceremony (which I doubt), then new churches should be formed that don’t use scripture to enforce bigoted positions. I want to see “marriage” restored to all adults worthy of the union: people who love each other and want to share their lives.

I support people’s right to believe what they want to believe, but, when it comes to enforcing personal beliefs on others, I draw a line. If your religious beliefs help you or fulfill you, then I am happy you have them. Just don’t try to tell other people who they can love and who they can marry.

No one’s spiritual beliefs should dictate the manifestation of my love, or anyone else’s. I don’t need the religious right’s permission to marry Merry, nor would I ask anyone’s permission if I had fallen in love with another man and proposed. Our government is openly practicing discrimination.

Join the just cause, or get out of the way. Opponents to gay marriage will one day be remembered along side the men and women who fought against civil rights for African-Americans. Is that the company you really want to keep?