In Defense of Marriage

In North Carolina today, gay marriage is illegal. And now and through next Tuesday, the issue of whether to amend the state constitution, taking the already existing law a step further to constitutionally outlaw same-sex marriage (along with any legal recognition of civil unions and domestic partnerships) has been placed before the voters in the North Carolina primary.

If you’d rather just read my posts about jobs and programming and ruby and systems administration — you may want to click on. I’d say this post is political. But it’s not. It is about defending marriage. It is about values and morals.

For portions of my life since college I was very involved in protestant evangelical christian churches, I have spent years studying the christian bible and having conversations with christians, and those values and traditions shaped my views on marriage. I was 33 when I married, and I’ve been married for 5 and half years now.

At 33 and unmarried, I went–at least in that aspect of my life–from being what society generally considers a little “weird” to “normal”. And since I’ve been married, I’ve realized even more the rights and the recognition and the benefits that society conveys on those that are married.

When my wife and I married, my wife chose to keep her maiden name. We certainly had a few conversations about that. My family expressed a fair amount of reservation, I think my wife’s family was little perplexed. And even though we are not the first to do so, even if it feels totally normal to us now, and largely accepted by our families, it’s still a little “different” The auto dealership still can’t quite get it right. The vet has called me by wife’s last name more than once. She’s been called by my last name more times than we can count. It’s all benign these days though. We get a little wink, and you can tell that most people are thinking “well that’s not what I would do” — but I’m not sure that we’ve ever gotten any negative comments from strangers about it.

It’s a very small glimpse for me into what it means to have a “different” view from what is considered “normal” in marriage. But I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t consider it incredibly insane to deny my wife and I the rights and benefits that come with marriage because we have different last names.

So I can imagine, but I can’t fully know and appreciate what it is like for same-sex couples. We had a choice about names. Sexual identity is not a choice.

What I do know is that the existing law is wrong. And this proposed admendment is wrong.

I hope at my core I always felt this, but I know I’ve had expressions in my past that I wish now I could take back — especially now that I’ve come to know and respect and value those colleagues and friends that are affected by this deeply unjust law and will be affected by the deeply unjust constitutional admendment.

I will not look my friends, my colleagues, my fellow human beings in the eye and say that they can not enjoy the rights that I enjoy because of who they are.

There is nothing right about denying two consenting adults the chance to be together in marriage. Nothing right about denying others the right to take responsibility, financially and emotionally for the other. Nothing right about denying others the right to be in the hospital room when the other is sick. Nothing about denying two people that have spent or want to spend a lifetime together the benefits and rights that marriage confers.

While this issue and others have contributed to change how I view christianity, I can say with certainty there is nothing at the core of christianity and the values that christians profess to hold that provides any justification for this law and this admendment. There is absolutely, positively nothing moral, nothing values-based about treating someone else as less than a person for who they are.

My straight marriage doesn’t need defending, but the institution should be as strong as it can be, and as long as two consenting adults in our society are denied the right to marry if they so choose, it can not be.

My vote is against this admendment. If you are a North Carolina citizen, I hope yours is too.