Why Marriage Matters: A Valentine to My Sweetheart and a Thank-You to the Washington Legislature and Governor Gregoire

“Third time is the charm.” That’s what my daughters say about my marriage to the love of my life, who is neither my first husband nor my second.

Marriage in and of itself is no guarantee of a successful relationship, obviously, although I'd argue that the lessons learned in two previous marriages prepared me for being very mindful and attentive and succeeding in this marriage. 

So why the big deal for marriage equality that will allow people who are gay or lesbian to marry each other?

Because marriage matters. Standing in front of our friends and family in our backyard nearly five years ago, with my dear friend Betsy Lawrence taking us through our vows, we committed to each other and to our children. We took on obligations as well as privileges, rights and responsibilities.

We gained many things through the simple mechanism of taking out a marriage license: Community property rights, the ability to be at each other’s bedsides in a medical emergency with no questions asked, and much more.

These are the rights denied people who cannot marry. As I’ve written before, it is high time we move forward as a nation and I am proud today to live in a state where the legislature and governor have acted to provide equal rights to all.

Would you want your right to marry to be the subject of popular opinion? I sure wouldn’t. And since we moved on as a nation some time ago concerning race and ethnicity, no one could stop me from marrying my dear sweetheart even though he is not 100% “white” as some would define it.

This summer and fall, no doubt people with sincere beliefs (and some paid petition carriers) will stand at the entrance to your local grocery store and ask you to sign a petition to overturn marriage equality. Just say no to the petition, yes to equal rights, and yes to marriage for everyone.

We all deserve to love and be loved, and to be able to show that love to the world. It's as simple as that. Happy Valentine's Day to everyone.

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  1. Ok, I'm not sure exactly why/how I'm still poking around your blog but hey, isn't it more fun getting replies to your posts? :)

    It's pretty much a certainty that the enough petition signatures will be gathered to put the issue to a vote. However, if a successful Constitutional case is made, it "may" not go to a public vote. Guess what, I'm betting your going to be surprised to read the following comment that I've posted to various news stories irt this topic. I'm guessing you'll agree with it as well. Here it is:

    1. It's extremely hypocritical for people who rail about keeping gov't out of their lives (in a "don't tread on me" sort of way) to then argue that "they want" gov't (as long as it's in someone else's life). The domestic partnership law still denies partners of many things that other married couples enjoy like the ability to file married filling jointly as one example. Others argue that a state ruling doesn't change that so it doesn't relate. What? Obviously it will be easier to address at the federal level after more and more states pass these laws. Eventually it will be the case so let's just get there already.

    2. In regard to the arguments I've heard that marriage is about encouraging "reproduction of the species": A hundred yrs ago this was more of a valid point because sex, let alone having children, out of wedlock was condemned such that most people took many dates before even holding hands or kissing. Until "relatively" recently, not many children were being born without a marriage to kick things off. A decline in the marriage rate (down from 72% in 1960 to 51% in 2010) shows this has been changing. In many ways we'd be better off going more in that direction (i.e. slowing down a bit) but if we take a realistic view of things (TV shows glamorizing teen pregnancy, celebrities having kids & remaining unmarried, increased sexuality in TV & movies, etc.) it's obvious that's not going to happen.

    3. Irt comments about religious beliefs: Allowing same sex marriages at the state/federal level doesn't impact churches in the least so introducing particular religious beliefs to the argument simply distracts from the underlying issue of equality.

    We have a long time tradition of freedom to practice your religion but not freedom to force your religion’s beliefs on those who don’t subscribe to them. Furthermore, a given church/religion doesn't have to recognize the marriage or do the service if it doesn't want to. Therefore, if someone wants to be legally (state/federal) recognized as being married, they should be allowed to do so without people unleashing such furor.

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  3. ((As an aside, it would be nice if blogspot allowed editing rather than having to delete and resubmit comments))

    Even though I'm guessing you agree with the above post, I'm not sure what your opinion of the following will be.

    Along with my previous post I also believe there's a genetic area that influences people being homosexual. By no means does that mean I'm saying homosexuals are bad people (in the same way people predisposed to any other genetic issues aren't bad people). I also believe the feelings of same sex attraction come just as natural as those felt by heterosexuals (due to the DNA coding that impacts the way people feel).

    I believe we're less than a generation away from isolating the area of DNA that impacts sexuality. The dilemma will be: Do we address the DNA issue (like we'll be able to address other DNA issues) while someone is a baby, or would that be seen as making decisions for someone who, if asked later in life, may not have wanted "to be changed". It's a very tricky concept.

    The trickiness will be that if we know the feelings will seem perfectly natural (due to the very genetic coding issue to be addressed), then would it make sense to "wait" till they were older to "ask" them what we already know their DNA will be telling them feels perfectly natural. On the other hand, that same person would say heterosexual feelings felt natural if a DNA treatment (causing heterosexual feelings to dominate) had been administered to him/her as a baby.

    It will certainly be interesting.

  4. Dave,

    A long time ago I read a fascinating work, "Woman of Tomorrow," by Kathy Keeton, a co-founder of Omni magazine. I remember it as the first place I read a really detailed description of the complicated dance of fetal development, with hormones washing in and out and a lot of tricky timing. (Much more interesting than the lectures on pieces and parts in about sixth grade.)

    If I remember correctly (and I'd need to look at the book to be sure), she attributed human sexual orientation to a combination of factors that included this process. Change the timing by a few days, push or drop the estrogen or the testosterone, and you affect the developing fetus and who he/she will find sexually attractive a decade or two later.

    I have no idea if this is still considered good science (she cited quite a bit of research, but the book came out in 1985). I remember thinking that it sounded logical, and it certainly wasn't the kind of thing you could just tell someone to change through therapy, prayer, or trying really hard.

    It's also far more complex than just DNA coding. My own instinct is that we can't and won't know the interactions of various genes well enough to be sure that doing anything--whether it's tinkering with sexual orientation or doing away with cystic fibrosis--doesn't come without its own costs. We won't know those costs until it's too late and I personally wouldn't want to dig into the double helix for my own children.

    Certain genes that give a protective benefit against a disease prevalent in a particular part of the world come coupled with genes that cause some other problem. If you tease those apart do you lose the protection in an effort to get rid of the problem? You refer to "isolating" but I don't think it's that simple, since a gene may play a role in the expression of more than one trait.

    I am also strongly pro-choice, believing that government (and other people with different values than mine) should not have a role in my personal decisions about my body. I can't imagine that something like what you're proposing wouldn't involve incredible amounts of government invasion, defining "good" genes and "bad" genes, insurance reimbursement and who knows what else. This is too much like eugenics for me, a tool that has always been used against those who are not in whatever majority is in power.

    You are talking about a very dark path for everyone--not just for people who are gay.

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  6. I have no idea why there seem to be excessive spaces in certain spots of the above comment. Perhaps a formatting issue when copy/pasting from where I typed it.

  7. --Couldn't take it, I had to try re-posting to see if I could fix those weird formatting issues in the original---

    It's an interesting discussion to be sure Barb. I completely agree that there are valid concerns irt the slippery (and potentially dark) path that DNA research could take. Unfortunately, there are generally always a few bad things that come along with the good parts of innovation. An off topic example is industrial automation. It provided many consumer benefits (lower cost, readily accessible goods) but at the cost of many jobs (as machines did the work of multiple people).

    I haven't read the book, but Much of what Mrs. Keeton described sounds a bit more like hypothetical assumptions than provable data because the actual testing of a hypothesis like "altering the timing of pushing or dropping estrogen & testosterone levels" would be quite tricky and extremely controversial. You're right that the data's a bit old as well. Back in 85' DNA science was just barely scratching the surface. To use a baseball analogy: the national anthem had just been sung but the game hadn't started. We probably just finished the 2nd inning with 7 left to go.

    Your points regrading what changing one gene could do to another are definitely valid concerns. Imo, those issues will be seen and eventually corrected for by the by the 4th or 5th innings (which I'm estimating will happen within 30-50yrs due to current technology growth).

    30-50 yrs may seem like a short time but technology has been moving at a relatively exponential pace recently. In approximately the past 25 yrs we've gone from black screen "primitive" DOS computers to cell phones with exponentially more computing power. CD/DVD's, cell phones, teleconferencing, GPS, NVG's, etc. are all examples of the extraordinary growth we've seen in technology in only the past 25'ish yrs... We didn't even have computers that could "seriously" aid in research until the mid 90's and now look at what they can do (hopefully "Terminator" remains a fantasy movie)...

    Here are two short articles regarding some DNA treatment advancements (just wait till we get to the 4th inning):

    Melanoma treatment: http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/health&id=8177913

    Leukemia treatment: http://www.physorg.com/news172130077.html (short but starts a bit dry. Middle and end are good).

  8. --This is so strange. Re-posting eliminated some of the extra spaces but not all of them... Then, when I deleted the 3-13 post (which became a duplicate), the "confirm delete" pg showed that post with NO FORMATTING ERRORS???

    On my computer I still see extra spaces (8-10 of them) between the words Melanoma and treatment, as well as between treatment and the link. Similar issues with the Leukemia line...

    Does it look like that on your computer Barb? Thanks

  9. Dave, it looks to me as if your text may be set to justified and when you copy/paste it brings that in. The break in the melanoma treatment line is at a punctuation mark, which is what makes me suspect the text alignment code.

    Set it to left-aligned in your word processing software and then paste in.


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