I promise to love, honor and cherish you all the days of our lives.
My son is getting married! On his wedding day, there will be vows exchanged, rings slipped happily on fingers, the traditional mother and son dance, cake cut and flowers gracing tables. Tears dabbed with tissues passed among the well-wishers. My joy will blow the top off my happy meter. My husband Mark and I will pose for photos with the newlyweds and family members who have come together to celebrate Adam’s joy and the beginning of his lifetime entwined with his beloved.
If you’re picturing the scene, you might be seeing my son resplendent in his tuxedo and the bride on his arm in her snowy white finery. But if you know our family, you know the true picture. On my Adam’s arm, is his Adam, aka Marv, also resplendent in his tuxedo. That’s right, my son is about to become half of “The Adams Family,” as my cousin Janice lovingly joked.
For those of you who have religious views about marriage ordained by God, I challenge you to open your minds and hearts. Love is colorblind and gender neutral. Until the day I die and get the chance to talk to God in spirit, I believe a benevolent God wants all of her children to find happiness and love in a partner. Woman and Man, Woman and Woman, Man and Man—doesn’t matter.
What does matter is the cherishing love between spouses. Nurturing each other through the joys married life brings and the sorrow that inevitable comes from life events. Sickness and health. You hope the scale tilts more toward health, but there are no guarantees. Speaking from experience, I am married to a person who honors our wedding vows 100 percent. Mark honors me as his partner, his equal and holds me up with his love and respect, as I do for him.
I want this life for my sons.
Gay marriage is polarizing Americans. Christians especially. Yet the tides are shifting; Americans are exercising their rights to have equality as 37 states legalized gay marriage. The Supreme Court hearings began Tuesday and the Justices will decide in June how the remaining 13 states must adhere to the Constitution which guarantees equal rights for all people of the United States.
I cannot fathom why 39 percent of Americans (polled by ABC last week according to an NPR news story from Cokie Roberts) think allowing my son and his fiancé who want the right to commit legally to each other undermines the sanctity of marriage. Justice Sonia Sotomayor says, “We are not taking anyone’s liberty away by allowing gay couples to marry.” I fervently hope her wisdom and deep constitutional knowledge prevail for Justice Anthony Kennedy who will likely cast the deciding vote in June.
Roberts stated that the Justices weigh the sentiment of the population in their decision making. Please, I ask them, do not allow 39 percent of Americans who oppose gay marriage to deny loving, same-sex couples the basic human right to join together for a lifelong legal union.
For Christians, I respect your right to follow the teachings of Christ and the Bible, though I do not. In an effort to understand why some Christians are vehemently opposed to gay marriage, I am reading God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines, a gay evangelical Christian who deeply loves his church, Christ and God. It is an intellectual book with extremely well researched passages from the Bible by scholars and theologians. Vines makes logical statements how Old Testament interpretations influenced societal views on same-sex relationships and the New Testament mitigates some of the early writings. He is not asking Christians to change their understanding of the Bible’s authority serving as the word of God. He is asking readers to re-interpret the Word in light of the changes that biblical scholars advocated, such as reassessing Scripture that supported abolishing slavery and valuing the roles of women. He cites six passages that are often used as the platform against gay Christians regarding marriage and same-sex relations, offering readers a different perspective for modern interpretation.
For a person who is a neophyte in reading Scripture, it’s taking me considerable effort to digest this book. It is important for me to grasp the concepts as I have a non-affirming Christian family member who does not support my son’s upcoming marriage. Dangerous ground that could forever divide our family. I do not take this lightly; it’s worth my investment to consider their viewpoint. My hope is they do the same for me.
In my limited understanding of Vine’s arguments, I think he makes sense as I try to understand biblical-based Christians beliefs on marriage. Please, I ask the same respect to consider the opposite argument for those of us who support gay marriage. We do not seek to undermine a holy institution, but to support it by strengthening the bonds of love for couples who commit themselves for life to a monogamous legal relationship.
My beliefs are not just because I have gay sons but for every family who has gay members who want to share their lives and love with a spouse. Most of all, who want to raise families if they choose, celebrate the milestones of life—to live unencumbered by prejudice and presumed fear of dissenters based on their biology. For we who want to stand beside our children, siblings, nieces and nephews, promising by our witness of their equal rights marriage, to support them all the days of their lives as they promise to be true to each other.