11/01/2005

The Quack Test

Steve Blow of the Dallas Morning News provides an engaging straight man's view on the gay marriage debate(I'm copying it in its entirety so you won't have to register with the paper):

I saw Sandra Bullock interviewed on TV recently, and a question came up about her unlikely marriage to Jesse James.

I'm sure you know Ms. Bullock, all perky and cute. You may not know Mr. James, all coarse and tattooed. He builds motorcycles for a living and became a TV star in the process.

So Ms. Bullock explained the unusual way she realized she wanted to marry this outlaw.

She attended a car race he was in. He crashed during the race and was badly injured. She ran to the ambulance and discovered that as his girlfriend or live-in or whatever, she was just a face in the crowd, legally speaking.

Excuse her language, but she said: "I was so pissed off that I had no legal say. None! And I knew from the moment I got into that ambulance ... that I was in for the long haul with him. That was a huge deciding factor for me."

Well, her story probably won't be a huge deciding factor in the upcoming election, but it struck me as going to the very heart of this gay-marriage amendment.

Neither you nor I may understand homosexuality. But I'll bet we both understand Ms. Bullock's moment of realization that she wanted to officially be part of Mr. James' life. Forsaking all others, she wanted to be one with him.

And that's really all this boils down to – whether two adults ought to be able to legally entwine their lives into one.

Love is funny, isn't it? I'm sure Ms. Bullock can't explain why she was drawn to rough-and-tumble Jesse James. She just was.

I can't explain why dark-haired, headstrong women appeal to me so much. But they do. And I'm sure happy with the one who plighted me her troth, whatever that means exactly.

Love plays its funniest joke on gay people. For reasons neither they nor science can explain, the heart draws them to people of the same sex.

It's not a choice. It's not a lifestyle. It's just another wrinkle in funny old love.

As I have observed the long, long debate over homosexuality, it sure seems like society has pulled a double-cross on gay folks.

In the beginning, you often heard opponents portray all gays as outrageous, wanton, sex-obsessed creatures.

That description certainly didn't fit the mass of gay and lesbian couples living quiet, faithful lives.

Yet when that segment of the gay community stepped forward to decry promiscuity and champion committed relationships, the critics suddenly reversed course.

Oh, no! they screamed. You can't have what we have! Marriage is only for men and women.

So gay folks are blasted for being promiscuous on the one hand and blasted for wanting to legally marry on the other.

Talk about a no-win situation.


Many people I respect seem caught in a semantic quandary. They believe that gays deserve fair treatment. But they are deeply troubled by expanding marriage to include same-sex couples.

For me, it boils down to a pretty simple "duck" test. (You know, "if it quacks like a duck ...") Gay couples I know have relationships that sure quack and waddle in a very familiar way, one I call "marriage."

To me, marriage is about commitment, not plumbing.

But I understand that society changes in stages. So if it's just words that hang people up, then fine, let's find some new ones for this new territory. Fairness is the real issue here, not vocabulary.

And that's where Proposition 2 goes wrong. This amendment goes far beyond defining marriage. In a case of overkill, it goes on to deny gay people "any legal status identical to or similar to marriage."

Did you get that swipe?

Forget about marriage, the amendment tells gay couples, and also forget any other legal commitment that even smells like marriage.

Look, I can't explain love. Sandra Bullock and Jesse James? That will always be a mystery to me. Gay couples may baffle you even more.

But should we deny them the right to unite their lives – just because we don't understand?

3 Comments:

At 09:10, Blogger Tonito Bandito said...

Bravo for this straight man! At least some "get" it right.

 
At 22:15, Blogger dorsano said...

This is great Callie - there's nothing to add.

 
At 08:52, Blogger PhD9 said...

great link...thanks.

 

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