Sunday, November 15, 2009

Randi Reitan on What Makes a Family Strong

My friend Randi (pictured at right with her husband Phil and their son Jacob) has a powerful “counterpoint” commentary in today’s Star Tribune. It’s written in response to columnist Katherine Kersten’s November 8 commentary, “The Perilous, Slippery Slope of Gay Marriage.”


Kersten Doesn’t Know What Goes Into
Making a Family Strong

I was organizing the dresser where I keep many of our treasured keepsakes, and I came across our wedding bulletin. Our vows were written out in the order of service. They were not the traditional vows used by most couples at that time but ones we found in a contemporary service. We called them our promises.

“I will be faithful to you and honest with you; I will respect, trust, help, and care for you; I will share my life with you; I will forgive you as we have been forgiven; and I will try with you to better understand ourselves, the world, and God; through the best and the worst of what is to come as long as we live.”

I thought of those promises as I read Katherine Kersten’s Nov. 8 commentary on marriage. They were promises made by two people who dearly loved each other. They were promises made to help our love grow and to build a foundation that would firmly support our new lives as a family. Whether we had children or not, those promises helped us focus on the respect, the trust, the understanding and the love it would take to make our new family strong.

It is time the Kerstens of this world actually look at what makes a family strong. It is the ideals of respect, forgiveness, trust and love. The words Kersten wrote centered on condemnation, fear and judgment. When you treat a whole segment of the people with such contempt, you are not building a just and good society. You are making it unstable in a most destructive way.

We have attended many wedding ceremonies for gay couples. Their love and desire to build a strong family together is what Kersten fails to see or refuses to see. The love and dreams of those couples were just like ours.

I hope there will come a day when Kersten shows respect for all of God’s creation. I hope there will come a day she understands that the gay community should have the same rights to marriage. If for no other reason, she should understand they are citizens of a nation where all people are to be treated equally.

I long for the day my gay son finds a person to love as much as I loved my Philip when I spoke those promises 37 years ago. I simply want for Jacob what has been most precious for me, and I don’t want the Kerstens of this world to stand in the way of his love or his future family.

- Randi Reitan

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Responding to Katherine Kersten
Dr. Erik Steele and the “Naked Truth of Same-Sex Marriage”
The Same People
John Corvino on the “Always and Everywhere” Argument
Patrick Ryan on the “Defense of Traditional Marriage” Argument
The Changing Face of “Traditional Marriage”
Competent Parenting Doesn’t Require “Traditional Marriage”
What Straights Can Learn from Gay Marriage
Separate is Not Equal
A Must-See Film
Voices of Parental Authority and Wisdom
A Parent’s Prayer

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