Thursday, October 18, 2012

Jim David on the "Actual Benefits of Same-Sex Marriage"

Although comedian and writer Jim David's recent HuffPost commentary is directed to the folks at the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), it could just as easily be addressed to members of the Roman Catholic clerical caste. After all, both groups speak disparagingly and erroneously of gay people and relationships, and both are funding and partaking in anti-marriage equality activism, including working to pass a constitutional amendment in Minnesota that would deny civil marriage rights to same-sex couples.

David begins his commentary by identifying what he calls "the problem" with anti-gay groups like NOM and the Catholic hierarchy.

Using the evidence of my own life and millions of others, I am operating within the assumption that being gay is a normal and natural part of human sexuality and has been since the beginning of time. The problem with NOM and other anti-gay outfits is that their assumption is that homosexuality itself is wrong, so same-sex marriage, or any kind of legal recognition of gay relationships, is therefore wrong, as well. To them, same sex-marriage not only offers nothing to society but is as dangerous as incest and pedophilia.

He then outlines a number of ways that same-sex marriage can actually benefit society as a whole. Following are three of these ways, illustrated by some very powerful experiences from David's own life.

1) Same-sex marriage creates healthy relationships that stabilize society.

My husband and I met in March 1988, so we've been together for close to 25 years. Before I met him I was an absolute wreck. I'm going to spare you the details, but suffice it to say I was alone and living a personal life that was a shameful secret. It was the height of the HIV crisis, so the stigma of being gay had gotten worse, and it was still difficult to be out. My self-esteem was at rock bottom, and I was struggling with various addictions. I desperately needed companionship, if only for a few hours, so rather than spend every night alone, I frequently went out and had sex with men I had just met. I drank and smoked too much, did drugs and was generally a big mess, because I thought I would spend my life alone. There was no talk of marriage (and hardly dating) in those days. My budding relationship with the man who would become my husband immediately stabilized my life, kept me off the streets, increased my self-esteem, reduced my addictions and gave me hope for my future. I immediately became a better member of society, worked harder, was of more use to my profession and, because we were monogamous, didn't catch HIV and give it to someone else. In every way, our lives are better and we are more productive members of society because of our marriage.

2) Same-sex marriage stabilizes families.

Before I was in a relationship, I was not out to my Christian parents, and I moved farther and farther away from them so that I could live my life as comfortably as possible. I didn't come out because I had nothing to show for it; I just continued to live a secret life that I hated and endured my mother's incessant questions about who I was seeing. After my partner and I committed to each other, I was at last able to live my life openly and share the love of my life with family. It made us closer, not further apart. My partner became a family member, and his family became the in-laws. Both our families were strengthened and stabilized by our relationship. As time has gone on, we have helped members of our family with various family things. Our marriage ceremony earlier this year brought both sides of our families together in a way that they hadn't been before. This is true of every same-sex marriage I've personally witnessed, and I've been to a lot of weddings in the last year and have met lots of family members. Thank God few in our families were members of a NOM-like organization, which promotes only paranoid bigotry and encourages people to miss some really cool weddings.

3) Same-sex marriage creates a stable environment for children.

Yeah, yeah, same-sex couples can't create children. But they have no problem raising them. As far as the myth that children are best served by a mother and a father, we all know a lot of really screwed-up people who came from a mother and a father. The adoption and foster-care agencies of the world are jam-packed with babies discarded by mothers and fathers. A same-sex couple I know recently adopted a son who was thrown into foster care like a piece of trash, abandoned by every heterosexual parent he had. The child was a wreck when he arrived, and now he's a happy boy in the second grade, on the softball team, with a quality of life he did not know before age five. This scenario has been repeated thousands of times in thousands of other same-sex families. The only problem that children of same-sex couples routinely report is dealing with the bigotry of children whose parents believe the lies told by organizations like NOM.

To read Jim David's commentary in its entirety, click here.

Related Off-site Links:
Catholic Hierarchy, NOM Responsible for 60 Percent of Anti-Gay Marriage Funding in Ballot (October 18, 2012).
Knights of Columbus’ Financial Opposition to Marriage Equality Revealed – Francis DeBernardo (Bondings 2.0, October 19, 2012).
U.S. Marriage Act Is Unfair to Gays, Appeals Court Rules – John Schwartz (New York Times, October 18, 2012).
Reality Check: Pro-Amendment Ad Makes Questionable Claims – Pat Kessler (WCCO, October 18, 2012).
Marriage Amendment Ad Misleads – Catharine Richert (Minnesota Public Radio, October 19, 2012).
Church-Going Latino Catholics Favor Same-Sex Marriage: The Surprise of the Centrist Catholic Commentariat – William D. Lindsey (Bilgrimage, October 19, 2012).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
A Message for NOM (and the Catholic Hierarchy)
Simple Answers to NOM's Complicated Lies
NOM's Minnesota Battle Plan
Dale Carpenter on the "Win-Win" Reality of Gay Marriage
Responding to Bishop Tobin's Remarks on Gay Marriage
From Northern Minnesota, Two Excellent Rebuttals to the "Convoluted Logic" of the Bishops' Pro-Amendment Argument
The Changing Face of "Traditional Marriage"
Dr. Erik Steele and the "Naked Truth on Same-Sex Marriage"
The Same People
A Pediatric Physician's Helpful Perspective on Same-Sex Parenting
The Longing for Love: God's Primal Beatitude
It Is Not Good to Be Alone
Marriage: "Part of What is Best in Human Nature"


Unknown said...

I've been on the internet since 1995 or whenever it superseded "Gopher" and those are the three most preposterous statements that I have ever seen.

But I know that you don't mind lying to your followers because that is what Alinsky told you to do. Few people realize it, but propaganda is to be aimed at your allies, not your enemies. Your enemies would never believe you, but your friends would. Gotta keep that morale up, so keep lying, Michael.

jamez said...

Where in this article do you see any lying and why do you see it as a lie? When I read this article, I hear some pretty profound truths - truths that have been borne out in a multitude of personal experiences throughout my life and the intimate relationships that I have cultivated with my family and friends.

Full recognition LGBT people and their committed relationships will be achieved in this society not by propaganda, but by the simple fact of the vast network of gay people, their families and friends and coworkers and associates and patients and consultants and caregivers and on and on and on who know and care for each other in openness and integrity. These networks permeate society with the truth that gay people are Not depraved, disordered or deficient any more than anybody else. We achieve this by our example as concerned and dedicated citizens. Nothing short of an earth shattering cataclysm or the near genocidal suppression such as that implemented through the theocratic regimes of old will reverse the course of the eventual full acceptance of LGBT people, their committed relationships and their profound contributions to society. The paradigm has shifted my good sir. It behooves you to repent (rethink) yours...

Michael J. Bayly said...

Beautifully said, Jamez! Thank you.