I once remember thinking as a child that marriage was a ceremony in which two people who loved each other could make a commitment before friends, family and God, that "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine." When my dad, in the role of Justice of the Peace, performed ceremonies, he would often use the passage from First Corinthians in which Paul tells us what love is, and that "faith, hope, love abide, these three: and the greatest of these is love."
I saw how my parents, married for 53 years until death did them part, tested and loved each other. Even when there were struggles in their relationship, the fact was that they still did love and care about each other, and that's why they could forgive the shortcomings and misunderstandings of loving another human being.
And so, you can see, I really believed for the longest time that the Beatles were right: all you need is love!
But that's not true. Not with marriage. And not in the reality of being gay in the United States.
Because while countless numbers of people are in loving relationships with members of the same-sex, our love...which does dare to speak its name...is nonetheless silenced by the law. The federal government under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) denies us access to the 1,138 laws that govern everything from social security benefits of a surviving spouse to making medical decisions at a time of emergency and joint filing of taxes and bankruptcy. Here in the Overcast State of Florida, our relationships are now UNrecognized by the state constitution. A popular vote of the people allowed the majority to negate the relationships of a minority group. And, despite promises made in front of the Florida Supreme Court by Mat Staver of the Liberty Counsel, the proponents of this prejudice are now trying to take away what little rights DO exist in some communities. For example, Gainesville's Domestic Partnership law is being put to a popular vote next month.
In California, where 18,000 same-sex couples entered into married relationships this past summer, neo-conservative Ken Starr is attempting to get the court to nullify those marriage certificates. If you click on the video by the Courage Campaign, I ask you to look closely at some of these couples. And ask yourself, "Why can't they be allowed to be with their beloved?" And notice how many of these couples already have children. What would Mr. Starr propose to do with those kids who would suddenly see their parents relationship invalidated by the state that collects taxes from these families?
Not every gay person wants to get married, just like not every straight person wants to get married. The difference is that the straight person at least has an option. An option I would like to have, too.