I have long been in favor of allowing same sex couples the right to marry–in addition to allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the military–so I am pleased to see that New York has decided to legalize same sex marriage. No, this will not threaten traditional marriage; if anything, the fact that so many people–whether gay or straight–want to enter into a lifetime monogamous relationship that entails (among other things) arguing about who takes out the trash, arguing about the position of the toilet seat, arguing about finances, purchasing a home with a picket fence, and worrying endlessly about the fate and well-being of approximately 2.5 kids speaks immensely well of marriage. After all, wedded bliss must offer a massive amount of immensely valuable benefits to make up for some of the associated headaches.
What is threatened, of course, by the legalization of same sex marriage is the notion that gays, lesbians, and bisexuals are somehow not “normal” people, and that they should somehow be shunned by society. The privilege of loving someone, being loved in return, and building a life based on that love is not some kind of country club fringe benefit that is, or should be available only to a particular group of people. Quite the contrary; all should enjoy its blessings.
It is worth noting, in the course of this discussion, the intellectual cowardice of the incumbent President of the United States, who constantly tries to avoid a serious debate about same sex marriage by telling everyone and their pet canaries that his position is in the seemingly interminable process of “evolving.” I recognize that evolution takes a while–Darwin and scientists who followed him pointed out as much–but evolution towards a position of decency towards one’s fellow human beings shouldn’t take nearly as long. So much–once more–for Hope, and Change We Can Believe In.
But the shortcomings of the Obama Administration notwithstanding, we can, and should celebrate what happened in New York, and hope that what happened in New York replicates itself elsewhere. Long ago, the Supreme Court recognized that marriage is a fundamental right. It’s nice to see that gays, lesbians, and bisexuals are at long last being recognized as fundamentally human, and therefore worthy of both enjoying that right, and shouldering the responsibilities that come with it.