Marriage Equality


One member’s response to questions about marriage equality:

In anticipation of public debate both in favor of and opposed to “marriage quality”, which was to be decided by voters in Maryland on Election Day, 2012, Little Falls had a discussion in our adult First Day program revolving around two questions. Those questions were:

1) What issues are brought up by those who don’t support marriage equality that you might have a hard time responding to?

2) Would anyone be willing to share ideas for how to respond to these issues?

In response to these questions, one member wrote in:

Giving your e-mail much thought. This due to the improbability of my attending Meeting this Sunday; I have a visitor from out of town. Inasmuch as you have posed some discussion questions, I feel compelled to search myself for some personal responses.

1) What issues are brought up by those who don’t support marriage equality that you might have a hard time responding to?

As a gay person, having heard many objections to my lifestyle over the years, the most onerous being: “OK then, why not have marriage between a man and a sheep, or man and a child?

First response-“You are a PIG, Shut up!” Not very Quakerly. My more reasoned response is — To be mentioned in the same breath with animals and perverts is hurtful and insulting to the majority of gay people in this society who live peacefully and fully, who contribute to the community and are patriotic citizens. To this I would add, consider the golden rule: Do unto (speak about) others as you would have them do (speak about) you.

2) Ideas about how to respond to this issue…..

At this point in our cultural/societal evolution, many persons in this country know, have known, or at some point interact with gay people. We have had many an opportunity to form an opinion as to their deservedness to participate in all aspects of society. Homosexuals in this country have demonstrated the ability to fulfill all obligations relating to citizenship and family, including parenting. Much work has been done to promote this issue by dedicated and respectable individuals who desire true marriage equality in this country. For this issue to now be voted down through referendum would be a serious blow to all of us who have worked for or have followed this issue through the decades.

There will be those who believe that marriage as an institution should not change, that it is a bedrock of stability and righteousness in this country. I do not dismiss this argument. Marriage equality for gays, should it ever become truly adopted and accepted across this country would be a radical change to the cultural status quo embedded in our institutions. Many persons are frightened and sickened at the prospect of such change. Indeed, I have asked myself “Why should I desire the legal right to marry? I have lived apart from legal sanctioning quite happily and successfully, thank you very much.” In truth, I feel as though I have lived my life thus far without an overriding need to be accepted.

Alas, that last sentence reveals a deep sense of inner defense, developed as a response to disapproval and a need to live comfortably in a separate space. Maybe this touches upon the most important reason to get behind equality for gay people. That with a greater sense of equality, younger gay people with open and emotionally healthy minds will no longer have a need to create walls of separateness.

Thanks for requesting my input in this matter. Above all, everyone must vote their own conscience.