On Marriage Equality

by Kathy on March 26, 2013 · 31 comments

in Background, Change, Decisions, Faith, Family, Friends, Game Changers, Infertility, Life, Love, Marriage, Reality, Relationships

I have wanted to write about this here for a while and this week, being so pivotal in the United States Supreme Court, seemed to be the right time for me to do so.

I haven’t always believed in marriage equality and I am the first to admit that. The idea made me uncomfortable, especially because I didn’t know anyone personally (or at least didn’t realize that I did) whom it effected.

I thought that marriage was supposed to be about the love and procreation that happens between a man and a woman. I didn’t necessarily have a problem with civil unions, but I believed that marriage, which is considered a sacrament in my catholic faith tradition, was sacred and shouldn’t be allowed for those who chose to be with others of the same gender.

I wasn’t the only one who felt this way. Our own president campaigned in 2008 sharing my thoughts and feelings on this issue at the time. I felt safe and justified to believe what I did.

But I know that it is possible for open-minded people, like me, to change.

I am proud to say that and to mean it.

Every now and then something happens in our lives, new information comes to light, and our hearts and minds can be changed.

That is what happened with me over the past few years.

It wasn’t a sudden revelation or an a-ha moment.

It was more subtle.

In part because of Facebook, which I joined in 2008, I became aware just how many of my old friends who I reconnected with were living happy and healthy lives as gays and lesbians, some of whom were committed to partners of the same gender.

At first I was surprised, why hadn’t I known so many men and women from my past were gay and lesbian? In some cases a small part of me might have suspected way back when, but it didn’t really matter.

It took me some time to accept that some of my old friends are who they are. But the beautiful thing about that process was that it is because of my old friends who were just living their lives and loving who they love, that I was able to come to embrace marriage equality.

From my perspective there was very little difference between their lives and mine. They choose to love who they love, in many cases commit to spend their lives together and in some instances build families together. Their status updates and the photos they shared on Facebook weren’t much different from mine, just expressing their day-today challenges and celebrations of life, love and parenting.

After struggling with secondary infertility for so many years, I also came to appreciate that not everyone gets to have a baby the old-fashioned way and whether that means a person or couple chooses to try to adopt or use Assisted Reproductive Technology to bring children into their life and family, should not be anyone’s business but their own (unless they want to share about their experience, as I did).

The bottom line: It is about loving and spending ours lives with the people who mean the most to us.

Why does it matter who those people are and what their sexual orientation is?

I no longer believe that it does.

I get that there are still many people who do not agree with this way of thinking.

I understand that many religions and faith traditions, including my own, do not officially embrace marriage equality.

For now I try to accept and make peace with that, while still praying for and supporting my gay and lesbian friends who want, and I believe deserve the right, to marry the men and women who they love.

I believe that God embraces marriage equality and have trouble now imagining a God who doesn’t think and feel that way.

I am not looking to debate this, so please don’t take this as an invitation or an opportunity to do that with me.

I just feel that the time is right for me to share my thoughts and feelings about marriage equality and how they have evolved in recent years.

People can change.

People do change.

I changed (and for the better).

I hope and pray that there will come a day when it will be as surprising to our children or our children’s children that there was ever a time that marriage equality didn’t exist in the United States. Just as my generation finds it hard to believe that there was a time when African-Americans and women, among others, did not share the same civil rights (including being able to vote) as white men.

Thank you for reading and hopefully keeping an open mind and heart about this issue.

Cross posted on BlogHer.

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Laura March 26, 2013 at 9:12 am

Beautifully said Kathy.

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2 Kathy March 26, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Thank you Laura.
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3 Jjiraffe March 26, 2013 at 10:34 am

Wonderful post, Kathy. Thank you for sharing this.
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4 Kathy March 26, 2013 at 12:37 pm

Thank you, Jjraffe and you are so very welcome.
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5 Deborah March 26, 2013 at 11:47 am

This was a very interesting post to read. Thanks. I’m wondering how you reconcile that support of same-sex marriage with your views about marriage being a sacrament.

I’m reminded of the man who taught Judaica at the camp I attended as a kid. He said that he didn’t used to support gay marriage because he believed the purpose of marriage was to raise Jewish children. But then he realized that gay couples could adopt children and raise them Jewish, so he changed his mind (this was 20 years ago, so I imagine same-sex couples having bio children was less common than it is now).
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6 Kathy March 26, 2013 at 12:45 pm

You are welcome Deborah. I am glad you find it interesting and appreciate your question about how I reconcile my support of marriage equality with my views about marriage being a sacrament.

As I shared recently in my posts about the conclave and our new pope, there are a lot of things that I struggle to reconcile about my personal views and theology as a member of the catholic church and the official views/teachings of the Catholic church. I believe that I don’t have to embrace everything that my church teaches to be a part of it.

I believe that significant change happens slowly and from within (which is how I came around to marriage equality being a civil right) and that is why I choose to remain catholic and active in my church.

Some my call me a “Cafeteria Catholic,” and, depending on their definition, that may be the case. But I still have a strong faith and belief in God, as well as a love for so many of the traditions and things that make my catholic faith community special.

Thank you for sharing your memories of the man you met at camp years ago and how he allowed his views on marriage equality to evolve and change. I am always fascinated to learn how and why people open their mind and hearts to thinking about things/believing differently.
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7 April March 26, 2013 at 1:04 pm

I love it, Kathy! Thank you for sharing.
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8 Kathy March 26, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Thank you so much April! You are welcome.
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9 Keiko March 26, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Brava, Kathy. Well said!
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10 Kathy March 26, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Thank you so much Keiko!
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11 Virginia March 26, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Lovely post. It’s so nice to know that there are other Catholic allies around!

I shared this post on FB and also gave it a sparkle+comment on BlogHer. I hope more people will read it, and I’ll cross my fingers that it gets featured on BlogHer!
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12 Kathy March 26, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Thank you Virginia! I agree, it certainly makes it is easier to be open about my support of marriage equality knowing that I am not the only Catholic who feels this way.

Thank you so much for sharing my post on FB, as well as sparkling it and commenting on BlogHer. I just replied to your comment there, pretty extensively, and really appreciate your perspective on this and prejudice in general.
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13 Lori Lavender Luz March 26, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Hear, hear. I would bet that this subtle change has happened with a lot of people (raises hand). We are at a tipping point for this angle for personal freedom and civil rights.

Up next — equal access for all citizens to their original birth records?
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14 Kathy March 26, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Thank you Lori! I agree with you, that we are not alone amongst those who came to this change more slowly over time. It is exciting to be at this tipping point, as you say and I feel good to be a part of the process trying to help open people’s minds and hearts to such personal freedoms and civil rights.

As for what’s up next… I echo your call for equal access to original birth records and would add to that universal infertility treatment coverage for those struggling to conceive and sustain pregnancies, as well as anything which can be done to make adoption more affordable.
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15 Kimberly March 26, 2013 at 3:45 pm

This is a wonderful post Kathy. Thank you for being brave enough to talk about your change in opinion. I think looking back and talking about a transition and the start of that transition is just as important as the transition itself. 🙂
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16 Kathy March 26, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Thank you so much Kimberly and you are welcome. I really appreciate your kind words and thoughts on transitions.
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17 loribeth March 26, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Kathy, I am way behind on my blog reading & commenting, but I saw this wonderful post & had to tell you how much I loved it. I know it’s not easy go public in your support for a contentious issue like marriage equality (or pregnancy loss, for that matter), and I respect the journey you’ve taken to reach this point — I haven’t always felt this way myself either. But like you, I have people in my life who are gay — and how can I deny them the same happiness and rights that I enjoy myself as a married person?

Now, to catch up on some of your other recent posts…!
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18 Kathy March 26, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Thank you so much Lori! It wasn’t easy to “go public,” as you say, but I can only imagine what it is like for my friends who want to be able to marry who they love and under the current legislation are not allowed to. This morning thinking about, sending positive thoughts to and praying for them pushed me over the edge and gave me the courage and strength I needed to write and share this here.

I also love how you make the analogy to going public about other contentious issues, such as pregnancy loss (or infertility). There was a time when I feared the repercussions of doing that. I didn’t know how my extended family and friends might react to my being so open and honest about our journey through secondary infertility and loss.

Though there were growing pains when I “came out” about my blog and more publicly in places like Facebook about our experience trying to expand our family, it has always been worth it to me. I have never regretted trying to use and make the best of every gift and trial that I have been given.

Thank you for understanding that and me, as well as for your unwavering support here over the years. You are such a dear and I need to catch up on your posts too!
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19 Mirjam March 26, 2013 at 8:42 pm

I love this, and I love your courage, and the way in which you share with the world your whole person, not just the already-matured and -marinated parts 🙂

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20 Kathy March 26, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Thank you Mir! You support means so much to me. I love the idea of being able to share “not just the already-matured and-marianted parts” of myself. I have never thought about it in quite those terms, but it is such a beautiful way to word. I figure, more often than not, if I have these thoughts and feelings I am not alone and thus feel compelled to put myself out here. xoxo
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21 Esperanza March 26, 2013 at 11:36 pm

This post warms my heart in way I can’t even express. Thank you so much for sharing this.
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22 Kathy March 26, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Thank you Esperanza, that means a lot to me, and you are so very welcome. xoxo
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23 Katrina March 29, 2013 at 12:18 am

Lovely. Glad to have you as a neighbor. 🙂

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24 Kathy March 29, 2013 at 10:53 am

Thank you Katrina. The feeling is mutual. 🙂
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25 dspence March 29, 2013 at 10:52 am

Well said! I find that people are surprised when they hear that I am a Christian and support marriage equality. Whenever I am asked about it, I simply point them to Jesus – He taught love, not hate.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:34-35
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26 Kathy March 29, 2013 at 10:55 am

Thank you! I like your logic and what you tell people when they ask about you being Christian and supporting marriage equality.
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27 Hilary March 30, 2013 at 6:48 am

wonderful post and I love how you changed your view. I think you hit the nail on the head when you started to realize you knew a lot of gay/lesbians. I have always been a supporter of same sex marriage, and I think it is because I have always had a lot of gay/lesbian people in my life, and I didn’t think it was fair that they couldn’t have what the rest of us have, just because their choice for the sex of a mate was not conventional…
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28 Kathy March 30, 2013 at 11:56 am

Thank you Hilary! I appreciate you sharing your experience and how that has influenced your acceptance and support of marriage equality.
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29 picturetalk321 April 6, 2013 at 8:46 am

I really enjoyed reading this post and felt so uplifted by your story of how you changed your mind. I have been a defender of equal rights for decades, and especially since two good friends of ours got married 5 years ago (officially, in the UK, it’s still called a civil partnership but they called it ‘our wedding’ and they call each other ‘husbands’). It was a wonderful occasion. Our two young sons came along and listening to them, I realised that for them it was the most natural thing in the world and just simply not an issue. Also, I remember talking to our friend’s mother who was in tears and said she would not have believed that she could have enjoyed this day with her son. I realised that the decision to get married is a public event as much as a private one, and how fundamental it is to have that public recognition, to be able to celebrate your union with your family and friends, to be able to welcome a new member into the family. To our friend’s mother, it was clearly tremendously important. She was so proud and happy that her son could have this happiness! It was also, inevitably, a political event. As you say, ultimately it’s about love — and I realised that marriage was also a way to express love among family members, beyond the immediate marriage partners. Thanks for the post. It’s good to remember that we can all change our minds over the years.
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