If you were told from the beginning of your life that you would never be allowed to get married, and you would never be allowed to have children, how would you live? How would you behave? If you knew you never had a chance at a “normal” life, what would that do to you?
That’s what a gay man (or woman) has had to deal with. The idea of getting happily married and settling down and raising kids has never been something that I even got to consider, because I’ve spent my whole life being told it wasn’t allowed. So, my entire mental construct of what life will be like is vastly different from all my heterosexual friends. While they dream of eventually finding a marriage partner, raising 2 kids and settling down somewhere in the Midwest (ok, who am I kidding, none of my friends are quite that lame, but you get my point), I do not. Not because I don’t want any of that, but because it has never been an option for me.
It’s never really bothered me, either. I mean, my parents got divorced when I was 3. My dad has been married 5 times (actually, I lost track, it might be more). Every married couple I’ve seen has been pretty damn miserable, so the “sanctity” of marriage hasn’t really sunk in for me. In fact, it seems like once you get married, it all turns to shit. There might be more sanctity in divorce, nowadays. Relationships, to me, seem wrought with discord, control issues and a complete lack of faith and trust in another person. I know, I know, that’s awfully jaded. But it’s all I’ve seen, it’s all I’ve known.
So you can understand my lackadaisical attitude toward marriage. It never seemed like a good thing in the first place, and babies poop a lot, so I didn’t want anything to do with either of those.
Until I met this gay couple. For the sake of privacy, let’s call them Brad and Collin.
Brad and Collin have been together for a very long time. 15 years, I think. They are both incredibly successful, incredibly respected and loved by everyone who knows them. They live together, they have dogs, and they go away for summer vacations with each other.
They’d been coming into my bar for a while, and I never really paid their relationship much mind. I mean, I adore them both, but I just assumed that they lived a stagnant lifestyle like all the other “long term relationship” people that I see. But then I saw something. I saw this weird spark. After a long day at work, they would meet at my bar for happy hour, and the excitement I saw in their eyes was awe-inspiring. They would see each other, and their eyes would light up as if they hadn’t laid eyes on each other in months. They would kiss tenderly, and hold each other, and talk about their work day, and the other would listen as if it was genuinely the most interesting thing he’d heard.
I saw this and thought “well, that’s weird; maybe they haven’t seen each other in a while.” But then I saw it again. And again. Almost every time they saw each other, it was as if they were falling in love all over again. I’d never seen that kind of love and respect before. I’d certainly never seen it in a heterosexual relationship, that’s for sure.
So when I think about gay marriage and how important it is, I think about these two. I want these two men to be able to get married, because if anyone can bring some respect and sanctity to the entire institution of marriage, it’s these two.
I’m not sure marriage is in the cards for me, but I will continue to fight for the right to marry who I choose—not for me, but for Brian and Collin.