Wednesday, June 07, 2006



Many proponents of the "Defense of Marriage Act" argue that men marrying men is "unnatural." Yet what could be more unnatural--and often downright cruel--than only letting gays marry people of the opposite sex? I've already seen how pressure on gays to conform to society's notion of maleness has ruined two good friends' marriages.

I've unfortunately witnessed gays, feeling marginalized by society yet wanting to fit in, engaging in decades-long charades, pretending publicly to be heterosexual, censoring their speech, and suppressing their true feelings until they can't take it any more. In some cases the torment drives them to depression, addictions, and/or self-destructive behavior. One gay person whom my wife and I knew struggled with his dual existence for years and remained in the closet out of fear for his job and reputation. One day about ten years ago he shot himself. He was a wonderful human being. Say what you want about God wanting men to marry women; the treatment of gays by far too many conservatives in this country--including those who want to enshrine discrimination against gays in the nation's most sacred document--is willfully and knowingly mean, and the consequences of such persistent ill will are sometimes tragic, and that--not gays' desire to marry--is a fundamental and troubling disobeyance of God's prescription for mercy and kindness.

Opponents of gay marriage frequently charge that gays want to "dilute" marriage out of lack of respect for the institution. I think this fear is delusional. None of the gays I know, including the ones in my family, have the slightest desire to cheapen or weaken the concept of marriage. The reason they want to get married is because they respect the institution of marriage. The only type of marriage that makes any physical, moral, and practical sense for a homosexual is a homosexual marriage. Neither my wife nor I can imagine how letting gays enter into a formal, state-recognized union that celebrates lifetime commitment and love threatens our marriage. If someone feels threatened by gay marriage, I'm pretty certain they have other issues.

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