The Rev. Mark Doty’s recent OpEd (“Connecticut ruling step toward justice for gay couples”) spoke with feeling about the compelling reasons to embrace same-sex marriage — justice, equality and our shared humanity. I know gay and lesbian couples who have been in loving same-sex relationships for many years.
Just like my heterosexual married friends, they have nurtured their children, attended parent-teacher conferences, paid taxes, supported local businesses, offered their friendship and participated in all the other dimensions of domestic and civic life. Just like my heterosexual married friends, their enduring, committed relationships are filled with love and strengthen our communities. Just like my heterosexual married friends, they want their unions to be publicly acknowledged and honored.
Our American history holds many examples of how people who have been viewed as “other” – Franco Americans, Native Americans, African Americans, women, Jews, Catholics, people with disabilities – have been denied basic human rights and legal protections that majority members of our communities take for granted. I am hopeful about the capacity of Americans to gradually become less fearful and condemning of “others” and to recognize that human rights belong to all of us, not only to privileged groups. We can be better than that. When same-sex couples are granted the right to marry, the beneficiaries will include our communities and the institution of marriage, not just the immediate families.