21 Aug 2014
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Unanswered Questions About Gay Marriage

Please tell me.

Unanswered Questions About Gay Marriage

A bill to fully recognize same-sex marriage in the State of New Jersey was once again introduced. Many legislators who voted against a like bill in 2010 have said that they would turn their votes about and vote in favor of passage this time around. We have a governor who has stated he will not sign such a bill should it come to his desk. And the beat goes on…

Of the people I speak to now, just as in 2010, those who are in favor of passage of this bill are vehemently so and those opposed likewise. Can’t say that I have run into anyone who has no opinion at all. For those in opposition I will always ask, “So why are you so adamantly against same-sex marriage?” Almost to a person they will reply with a question, “Well, what does that say about my marriage or the institution of marriage if gays are allowed to marry?”

To this I counter, “Okay, what does it say about your marriage or the institution of marriage?” I am a pretty old duck and I have asked this question of many people over a good many years. The response has been, almost to a person, “Ah, well, I think, really…hm. Well if you can get married then my marriage…my marriage…ah…well then that means that the marriage of anyone is…ah, well – I don’t think it’s a good thing because…yadda, yadda, yadda.”

I have been told that legalizing gay marriage will make less of everyone else’s marriage. How so? A politician recently pontificating said that the legalizing of gay marriage would be an ‘abomination’. A noted archbishop very recently given the nod by the Vatican to enter the College of Cardinals said last year when asked about the possible approval of gay marriage in the State of New York, “God, not Albany, has settled the definition of marriage a long time ago.” This is not the church’s domain – we have separation of church and state in this country.  Like it or not – God didn’t get a vote in New York State. Ah, and the beat goes on…

The divorce rate in this country is at close to 50 percent in the heterosexual community. What exactly does that figure say about marriage in general? For the purist: what does the fact that many folks no longer feel a need to marry at all and just live together say? And, what say they about the still more couples worldwide who chose to have two or three kids before they finally marry. Do they make less of your marriage? Silly me, that’s different, of course, because they are one man and one woman. And the beat goes on…

I do not believe that any church, synagogue or other religious institution should be forced to marry within their faith anyone who they do not feel fits their qualifications. I don’t agree with this treatment but this is America and we have separation of church and state. What, who said that? 

There is no way to predict what will happen when this bill comes to a vote in New Jersey. I’ve heard of late that if the governor refuses to sign it, as he has promised to do, but lets it sit on his desk for 45 days then it can pass without his signature. I don’t think that will happen.

Still, lingering in the back of my mind is that question: ‘What does it say about your marriage or the institution of marriage?’ Are those of you who so fear legalizing of my right to marry concerned about the strength of your own union? Can you not rise to the occasion and make the life you share with another the epitome of marriage, a shining example of all that marriage can be? Can you not rejoice in my desire to meet the example you could set? It is so very sad - the example that the self-righteous set, so very sad. And the beat goes on…

C.M. McLoughlin, a writer and editor from New Jersey and New York, can be reached at mcloughlin43@gmail.com.

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