Posting opinions, letters and correspondence from far and wide. Even some to/from my elected representatives.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Can we please name it "Garriage" and then move on?

The debates and arguments about gayness have moved forward a long way from where we were thirty, twenty or even ten years ago. Gayness certainly does not carry the widely held stigma nor the moral condemnation that it once did. Many highly religious people have reformed their own thinking about gayness. Many Churches officially support it or turn a blind moral eye to it. This is all good. I cannot think of a group of people more deserving of respect after having seen their predecessors live horribly oppressed lives.

The argument as to how people came to be gay or were born gay has also moved on. There is a large body of studies that purport to show that gay is either definitely genetic hereditary in action or certainly is at least partially a component of how gayness ended up in a gay individual's nature. Then there are those who subscribe to the idea that abuse, and more commonly, sexual abuse, leads some young people to become gay. In my opinion, both causes are possible and the question is probably best left alone to be answered by scientists, the gay person, or the gay person's counselor.

I think it is an honorable reflection on the level of maturity found in the western world today that makes it possible to be able to have these discussions, debate the science and sociology, and listen to the arguments. We can then reach our own informed conclusions and more importantly, listen to the gay people that are actually living the gay life that they do. They can integrate and keep their identities as private or public as they wish (let's not get into the U.S military policy right now).

One point of real progress worth mentioning would be that gayness is not considered by most people to be a "sickness", nor is it morally reprehensible. Those religions (both Christian fundies and Islamic radicals) that condemn gays to death, either now (some Islamic countries) or in the hereafter (some Christian fundamentalist churches) are in the minority. The famous Seinfeld episode constantly restating "not that there's anything wrong with that" comes to mind. I've known plenty of gay people, had some of them as friends, went to DCM in Sydney on gay nights, I've been proposed to by a gay, watched (probably too many) gay parades and generally feel that I, like most of us, are perfectly comfortable with gay people in our lives, if and when they inevitably show up. They live, sleep, work hard, fail, argue and hurt people as much as if not less than the average Joe. And speculating a little bit here, Joe the Plumber probably has a gay friend.

Perhaps I am not of the majority. Maybe I am wildly misjudging the western world around me. If that is the case, I can still point to the fact that the idea of "gay bashing" as being a good thing is limited to an incredibly small group of thugs. Whereas only twenty years ago it was common in many, if not most towns in America. So there has been real success in the idea that gay people are human too.

But even today, there are still some less comfortable situations that even I have to question. Would I for example, be perfectly happy if my son was gay? It is one thing to accept others as gay, quite another to have someone gay in your family. Or is it? Or as the movie "The Family Stone" so clumsily tries to convey, does a mother really think that she would "wish" her son to have been born gay? It's a great question because it asks you to fully accept gayness as totally, completely and unequivocally normal. Such a question pushes the cultural and historical envelope of acceptance to its final limit. I propose then, Gayness is - therefore - Total Normality.

But here is where I part company with my support of "Gays with an agenda". That would not, by the way, be all gays. I am referring to those gays that insist that they be given the full and total recognition that their "Marriage" is totally, 100 percent and legally binding identical to my "Marriage". You see, I support the idea of Gay Marriage but I cannot support calling it simply "Marriage".


There is but one single reason for me not wanting Gay Marriage to be called Marriage. In the same way that Gays want recognition of their marriages, I also want recognition of my marriage. My marriage is unique and what these gay activitists are asking for is to take that recognition of uniqueness away from me. Because I am heterosexually married. It is part of my identity and as long as we're in a world full of identities and politics, I want to be identified and recognised as heterosexually married. I don't want a single person on earth to be in any position of uncertainty in this matter. When I tell someone that I am "Married", I do not want that person to be left in any position of doubt as to my identity.

Gay marriage in many of the United States is recognised and known as a Civil Union. There are subtle differences in the legal meaning of the "Civil Union" in some States. I am not against Gays asking for legal rights that I have in marriage that they don't have when in a Civil Union. I support gays who want total legal recognition of their partnerships/marriages. But I just want them to use a different name for it. Civil Union doesn't cut it because on the printed page it doesn't even remotely resemble "Marriage". Civil Union also covers a wide variety of other types of cohabiting arrangements. I respect gay people that want something better than that clinical legalistic term. It has no pinache, no romance and certainly no double entandre's were ever written with that clunky phrase.

I say call it " Garriage " because "Garriage carries all of the nuance and implications of the word Marriage. It's a beautiful conjunction of the words "Gay" + "Marriage". From a legal perspective the only point of distinction between Marriage and Garriage would be that it implies a same sex couple. In all other respects Garriage would represent the full legal, romantic and cohabiting strengths (and weakness) of Marriage. It also makes it easy for the States, Towns and record keepers to keep the Marriage Certificate wording straightforward and well defined with the text "Husband" and "Wife" while also at the same time accommodate gay people who want wording text as "Him" and "Him" or, "Her" and "Her", "this" and "that".

So Gay Activists listen up. I want to give you full recognition. I want to give you full legal status. And it's simple, see below:

Gay Marriage = " Garriage "

Just let me keep my identity too, please?

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