This week has been dominated by various issues surrounding gay marriage. Vice President Biden started it over the weekend when he commented that he supported it. Voters in North Carolina approved an amendment to the state constitution banning it (even though it was already illegal under state law.) Finally, President Obama voiced his support. His complete statement was striking. In part it stated that “the denial of marriage equality means that, in their eyes and the eyes of their children, they are still considered less than full citizens.” That statement makes sense and is a powerful message that should resonate with many. There was a day when interracial marriage was looked at in the same light and the premise that two people are not entitled to happiness and joy because others are uncomfortable with something that is different than what they have does not create an environment where we can truly achieve great things.
I am fortunate to know several same-sex couples who are raising families and who exemplify so many good traits. In fact, those that I know are fantastic role models for doing the right things for their own children and those who cannot advocate strongly for themselves. At the same time, there are those in “traditional marriages” who are miserable in their lives and have no business raising children. I see other marriages between a man and a woman that are different than the one I have in terms of how spouses treat each other and divide responsibilities yet that has no effect on my relationship with my wife (who truly is my better half!) and how we choose to live and raise our children.
It is often those labeled politically “conservative” that push for issues like the one that passed in North Carolina while at the same time admonishing government for interfering in people’s lives. This is a contradiction that I’ve never understood. Allowing people to be equal in their unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness is a foundational principle of our country. Realize that differences are needed for innovation and innovation is needed for growth. As a society, we can become more inclusive and better able to face the great challenges the world faces when we ensure that every citizen is considered a full and essential part of who we are. Every marriage is different, even “traditional” ones between a man and a woman. Given the divorce rate (41 percent of first marriages end in divorce), perhaps traditional is not something everyone should strive for. To me, I like the idea that I can be happy with my life and that the same type of happiness can be had by others even when it is different than my own.