How I Feel About Gay Marriage

My neighbor sent me an out-of-the-blue text this week.

“How do you feel about gay marriage?”

His first mistake was sending that message to me via text. That’s not a question that can be answered in 160 characters or less! Any type of relational question takes some serious thought and more than a few sentences.

Therefore, I give you the pleasure of reading my answer. This is how I feel about gay marriage.

Much of what I’m going to say come from observations, and not personal experience. I, sadly, do not have many gay and lesbian friends (that I know of) so I can’t claim these thoughts come from real conversations with friends. Take that into account with what you read, and forgive my ignorance.

I think, that it would be really difficult to be gay or lesbian. I’ve yet to hear a story of a child who, when asked “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, their eyes light up and they shout “I want to be gay!”

I’ve yet to know of a teenager who, after being ridiculed and possibly physically abused in school, says “I want nothing more in life than to be gay”.

I’ve never heard of an adult who wants to love and be loved romantically, who says, “well I’m going to choose to be gay because that’s the easiest route to eternal happiness”.

I think that being gay is not an easy life.

Gay marriage, I imagine, includes the same issues that straight (heterosexual) marriages have. Who’s going to take out the trash? Who’s going to pay the bills? I don’t eat tomatoes. I love tomatoes. I hate when you make that noise. I love when you look at me like that. I don’t want to be treated this way. I appreciate when you do this for me.

To  marry a person, means to commit to living with that person. It means sharing life together. It means experiencing great joys while working through the muck of life. Marriage is supposed to mean “when no one else is, I am for you. I am on your team. I want to get to know you more every day”.

Marriage takes a great deal of vulnerability and courage. Those two reasons are likely the reason I’m still single. Not exactly the person to be speaking about or making decisions regarding marriage.

Everywhere I turn, I see marriages that ended. Each marriage writes its own story, but our country does not hold up a reputation of strong, long-lasting marriages. Although I won’t give up great hopes for marriage, I’m not naive enough to believe that choosing to share my life with someone is a decision to take lightly.

A gay marriage, includes all the above, plus any additional pressure regarding sexual orientation. Which, as you already know, there is a great deal of outside pressure and, dare I say, abuse.

In summary, how do I feel about gay marriage?

I am sure that being gay and being married must take courage, strength, support, and trust.

In addition, I think a heterosexual marriage must take courage, strength, support, and trust.

Upon reading the condensed version of my response, my neighbor sent another text, “Do you believe gay people should be allowed to get married?”

Ah, so that’s what you really wanted to know.

 

Grow

9 comments


  1. Way to leave it hanging Kyla :/ lol

  2. Shelly M.

    Hahaha! Way to not get too political on us ;-). You know, I liken a gay marriage to a cross-cultural one (as I do many things). Cross-cultural marriages have an even higher failure rate than "regular" (if I can use that term) ones. Gay marriages, too. Forgetting if it's morally right or wrong (I won't get political, either), those two types of marriages have to be entered into with even MORE thought and MORE talking and MORE, MORE compromise than a "regular" marriage. "Regular" marriage takes tons of thought and tons of talking and tons and tons of compromise, so these "unusual" marriages take even more. So then, if you have a cross-cultural gay marriage…..

    • kylajoyful

      I'm surprised to hear that cross-cultural marriages have a higher failure rate than "regular" ones. I may have to see some stats on that one! But, as you picked up on, I'm trying to point away from the political issue and towards the humanity issue. I may not have done that well, as Jeff observed. I think we focus so much on the morality of whether people should be gay or lesbian and making "black and white" decisions about marriage instead of remembering that we're talking about people and their human stories.

  3. Bill

    There is some evidence that cross-cultural and same sex marriage have higher rates of failure.

    cross cultural study
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1741

    same sex study
    http://www-same-sex.ined.fr/WWW/04Doc124Gunnar.pd

    Though studying divorce rates of cross-cultural and same sex marriagse/partnerships are complicated by confounding and lurking variables. So you can talk about that this type of marriage has a failure rate that is 1.5x higher, but you're not often comparing an apple to an apple. Both of these studies admit that.

    For instance in the study looking at Sweden's divorce rate, male-male unions had a failure rate that was 1.5x higher than heterosexual couples. But there are a lot of factors which influence the rate. When the researchers tried to consider the covariate factors, they found the rate to drop to 1.35x. They also found when they just compared childless couples, male-male marriages had a divorce rate which is 1.04x higher (basically no difference). When they considered other factors for just the childless couples, the male-male rate rose to 1.49x.

    Just looking at the study results, one of the factors was whether or not the marriage was between Swedes. They found higher divorce rates between Swedes and non-Swedes. Swede-non European rate was 1.96x higher than the Swede-Swede rate. They also examined age, age difference, education, and location. Did they examine all factors? Probably not, because the data probably doesn't contain all the information. For instance, I didn't see any results based on economic considerations.

    All that being said, I don't think the numbers will ever tell the whole picture. You could say that perhaps cross-cultural or same sex partners need to be better prepared, but at the same time, you could say that society influences such partnerships to be more risky. And if the failure rate is higher, so what? What is the societal cost? Teen marriages with children are much more risky propostions to society and I'm not going to ban 18 year olds from marrying and having children.

    A lot of talk related to certain groups of people is just meant to marginalize the groups, and there is nothing instructive or moral about marginalizing someone.

    • kylajoyful

      Bill, this is great. Thanks for explaining the studies and offering more thoughts. I especially appreciate how you pointed out numbers will never tell the whole picture. This must be a difficult study to conduct, especially with so many outside factors to consider. I absolutely agree that this type of conversation is meant to marginalize people groups, which is what I attempted to point out but missed the mark. Thanks for steering us in the right direction.

      • Bill

        I don't think you missed the mark. I think you did a good job of giving your viewpoint and focusing on the fact that gay people are people. I think you also pointed out well how American culture stigmatizes being gay.

  4. Bill

    I forgot to add that, even from a numbers standpoint, it would be erroneous to draw a conclusion about "failure" rate based on one study.

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