Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Your Gay Marriage Doesn't Threaten My Straight One

First, a disclaimer: I'm single. I'm straight. But my parents are married. That's close enough for me to say to conservatives, "Get a grip."

I have yet to see any evidence, beyond the biblical, that same-sex marriages devalue marriage in general or devalue families. This is the rallying cry made again and again by family and religious organizations.

If you think about it, we don't even need gay marriages to degrade straight ones. We've done that already. We've done it through a 50 percent divorce rate. We've done it through "triple-a:" adultery, abuse, abandonment. We've gotten into committments we weren't ready for, and we refused to let somebody talk us out of them because nobody else is allowed to be judgmental when we're in love. I find it amazing the right wing forgets all of this now.

Instead of denying gay couples a legal right to marry when they are given that right, it's time to improve the marriages we already have, gay or straight. Think about this: you take a test to get a drivers license. You take the bar exam to practice law. You take tests to practice medicine and dispense prescriptions. But aside from a few medical examinations, nobody tests you on your relationship skills before you get a marriage license. It's like getting tags for your dog. No wonder we see so many marriages break up.

I'm interested to see what the divorce rate will be among gay couples, once we've had a few years to study gay marriages. Something tells me it will be lower, mainly because those who are committing to relationships now have been committed unofficially for a long time already. And then maybe the rest of us can get a few clues.