The ongoing debate over gay marriage has certainly hit a new level of discussion. I was listening to the public radio program On Being last evening and caught part of the discussion on the issue. Two things hit me.
First, in the discussion by a person formerly opposed to gay marriage, he made the point that here are these individuals who want IN to an institution that many mainstream Americans seem to want OUT of. And it is the institution that the anti-gay marriage people are trying to protect. What this amounts to, I realized as he talked, is a major cognitive dissonance when what we see and say and believe and want all come into some form of disagreement.
In essence he said that he realized that all the anti-gay marriage talk hadn't done anything to strengthen the institution. Marriage is in trouble, he implied, in spite of all the support it is supposedly getting. Why then are people trying to prevent those who WANT to get married from getting married?
Sidenote: I have been hearing how marriage is in such trouble for as long as I've been married (41 years). Maybe we are just better informed about it. Maybe more people feel free to leave truly bad marriages. Maybe we just are more willing to look around and see that the old institution of marriage was broken and we are in a time of moving it into a new way. I don't know, but it is not a new problem in 2013.
In that may well be the seeds of the change that has been occurring over the last few years. It is a massive change which, as the pundits have been telling us, is an almost unprecedented change in a short time. How does not allowing someone to get married keep marriage safe? So goes strange concept #1.
Second was the idea that most of the time when we are discussing this issue, we are leaving out one small factor. What is at the heart of marriage? What is it all about? Children? Commitment? Societal institutions under fire? Religion?
In the end it is about love.
Whatever that means for the individuals, love is the underpinning of marriage. It is the force that brings two people together. And as it grows, it is the glue that surrounds the couple and keeps them going when the original love (or infatuation) begins to wear off. Love goes deeper and forms newer bonds within the relationship.
What another strange concept. The more we argue about the rights and wrongs of marriage (gay or straight) the more we lose sight of love. And the more we need to be reminded of it and how, in our current situation the government denies the right of love to be officially recognized in a rite of love.
May this strange concept of love not be denied. May it be allowed to blossom and bloom.