Tuesday, March 26, 2013

love and marriage

I have a rule not to post anything political or controversial here, but in this case I will not only make an exception, I’ll get downright preachy about it. Today and tomorrow the Superior Court will discuss California’s ban on same-sex marriage and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal benefits to same-sex couples married in the nine states where such unions are legal. I pray that our country’s judicial representatives will, quite simply, do the right thing in their subsequent rulings on these cases.

When my brother Tim, who passed away over nine years ago, told me he was gay, I remember thinking: “Thank God.” He was so private, never had a girlfriend, and I feared he would never experience true love in his life. Turned out his hopes in this area were pretty much the same as mine: To have one committed partner to spend the rest of his life with and also, someday, to have children. During his final days, he shared with me his lifelong desire to be a father. He wondered what kind of dad he would've been. I have the answer to that one: A kind, decent, and loving one who would have read a lot of parenting books and taken his kids on many camping trips! If anyone out there thinks I’m a halfway decent mom, I can tell you he would have run circles around me in the parenting department!

I am a Christian. And for a time I was a member of a fundamentalist church that believed being gay was wrong according to the teachings of the bible. My brother was also a believer and sought his answers in that very bible (flawed as it is) — yet my church would not have accepted him as a member or allowed him to serve the congregation in any capacity. I have a problem with that.

The same narrow-minded thinking has reigned supreme in large segments of our society as well as our judicial system for centuries. I attended my sister’s wedding last year. The current powers that be tell me that she and I are entitled to the benefits of the institution of marriage but my brother is not — simply because of the gender of whom he loves. It’s analogous to putting black people at the back of the bus! We do not "choose" being gay or straight any more than we choose the color of our own skin. It is high time we, as a society, right this wrong and I am praying that the Superior Court will take the first step in doing just that this week.