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The Straight Guy Says Aye to Allowing Gay Marriage

March 13, 2004|Stuart S. Light

I have no clue what makes people homosexual. However, I can trace my own heterosexual awareness to the third grade, when I rode my bicycle halfway across town to catch a glimpse of little Brenda's house.

The desire to have sex with a partner of my own gender has never crossed my mind in all the years I've been capable of a sexual thought. I have gay friends, though, and one loves to joke that one day he'll "show me what I've been missing." He informs me that heterosexual men are afraid of intimacy of any kind and that the phobia toward gay men is simply a way to avoid intimate feelings without guilt.

Many people today want to link marriage to procreation. That's the big argument against gay marriage, outside of biblical injunctions, of course. Simply put, conjugal unions that can't produce offspring are unnatural. However, if you call them something other than marriage, they can be marginally tolerated as long as they're in someone else's backyard. Call it marriage and all hell breaks loose.

The fact that marriage was created as an economic expediency, and procreation is a constant in all species with or without a license, seems to be absent in the debate. But the debate, such as it is, is driven by prejudice, the great labor-saving device that allows the formation of tightly held opinions without facts to support them.

I heard a congresswoman from Colorado berating the mayor of San Francisco on television for promoting gay marriages, which will, she believes, certainly lead to the sanctioning of polygamy (the implication is that the mayor surely supports such arrangements). President Bush has weighed in on a constitutional amendment that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. He must have thought long and hard on this for a minute after being informed that his evangelical base would find it right neighborly of him, and a real good reason to vote for him in November.

The Democrats will dance, parse and obfuscate while keeping their fingers in the air to see which way the polling winds are blowing. At the end of the day, they will agree that civil unions are swell, but they won't be supporting gay marriage. And, at the end of a much longer day, the proposed amendment to ban gay marriage will be defeated, and the whole issue will revert to the states, where it doesn't belong. At best, marriage is a 50-50 proposition. There is no legal linkage between marriage and procreation. A dismal, co-dependent marriage down the block doesn't make mine co-dependent and dismal.

If gays can be licensed to drive a car or practice law and medicine, they should be able to get a marriage license. I'll take my chances with married gays -- just keep the bad drivers, lawyers and doctors away from me.

The argument is put forth that marriage is the very foundation of civilization. No, it is not. Civility, kindness, caring, compassion, cooperation and love are. So "bring it on!" Bring on the love and commitment. Bring on the open society we believe we live in. Bring on the tolerance for different points of view and lifestyles. Bring on the separation between church and state. Bring on the Bill of Rights and civil rights and human rights, and the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Bring on the right to choose who we are and whom we love. Bring on gay marriage.

Stuart S. Light is a writer in Santa Barbara.

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