June 2013 may well become one of the most remembered Gay Pride months in the amazingly rapid march by the LGBT community towards equal rights under the law. Sometime during June, the United States Supreme Court will announce it’s decision in California’s Prop 8 same-sex marriage case and the federal case involving the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
No need to recap the last five years of legal maneuverings which have brought us to this point. Let it suffice to say that no matter what SCOTUS does, the LGBT fight for human rights will continue.
All of us, straight and gay alike, know that marriage is not the silver-bullet which somehow creates a successful relationship. In fact, gay men and lesbians have actually proven, beyond any religious or family component, that what really counts in a relationship is what couples pledge to each other, feel in their hearts and acknowledge in and to each other. We have built successful, long-term relationships, building lives, raising families while staving-off the disapproval of an uninformed family and a hateful society; de-facto marriages.
Like many heterosexuals, we have learned that marriage is not for everyone or the cure-all for a successful life. In fact, many of us, myself included, never wanted to get married. What for? All around us, too many marriages have been, to put it succinctly, a disaster! Why should lesbians and gay men embrace an institution which has been misconstrued and distorted by so many?
The track record for straight marriage? Dismal. According to Mark Banschick, M.D. of “Psychology Today,” statistics show that in the U.S. 50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second and 73% of third marriages end in divorce. However, even with these foreboding statistics, many lesbians and gay men are tired of being “marriage outlaws” and want to get married!
Just as the courts, governments and society are unable to imbue gay men and lesbians with the personal trust and understanding necessary to form enduring relationships, neither, then, can they take away those elements. We continue to forge our rightful place in society regardless of courts and laws. We continue to be important, reliable and integral members in our communities in spite of little or no legal recognition of our personal lives.
There’s no doubt that the misuse of Biblical texts have produced fear, mistrust and hate towards gay men and lesbians. And, it is from religious groups that we find the most vehement attitudes against equality and acceptance. While People of Faith are entitled to their personal visions and beliefs, they are not entitled to make those views into the law of the land. It may well be generations before some are able embrace gay men and lesbians as natural creations of God.
In the meantime, the LGBT community is moving forward. OUT history is on the fast-track gaining it’s main strength from the actions of each LGBT person who “comes out” to family and friends. And, Americans have been responsive understanding that the pursuit of happiness includes getting married and having a family.
As we await SCOTUS, I think it may be helpful to set the record straight regarding the true nature of homosexuality. Encyclopedias and dictionaries give the following definitions:
Human: A member of the genus Homo and especially of the species Homo sapiens; having or showing those positive aspects of nature and character regarded as distinguishing humans from other animals.
Nature: The inherent character or basic constitution of a person or thing.
Human nature: Refers to the distinguishing characteristics, including ways of thinking, feeling and acting, that humans tend to have naturally. (I’m struck by the fact that sexual orientation is not addressed in these basic definitions because a our sexuality is an integral part of human nature.)
Heterosexuality: characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward the opposite sex. Heterosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction or behavior between persons of opposite sex or
Homosexuality: characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex. Homosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual activity between members of the same sex or gender.
Around the world, among all humans, all population groups, all socio-economic levels, ethnicities, races and religions, homosexuals, like heterosexuals, are found.
Bottom line? We’re here, we’re queer, regardless of what the Supreme Court says or does! So, deal with it!
Monday, 20 May 2013