A conversation this week with a new acquaintance raised the old-for-me question: why do I oppose gay marriage? Don’t gays deserve equal rights with heterosexuals? Don’t I want them to have the same opportunities for happiness I enjoy?
Why do I deviate from the “Straight Spouse” standard reply that, because I love my ex-husband, I want him to be happy in his “real self”? After all, how does gay marriage hurt me, individually? personally? —
Discussing abstract realities is always difficult, and this is an abstract; that is, it’s a reality that cannot be known by our physical senses (touch, sight, hearing, taste, etc.). Nevertheless, I keep coming to a place where I have to try to — not persuade, that’s not in my sphere of influence! But I do hope to speak well enough that people get even a partial glimpse of how I see things, from “behind my eyeballs” as it were. So I keep trying, hoping the same old responses don’t feel tired to the person who’s reading them, while I keep reaching for better ways to say what I perceive and feel.
The question “how does gay marriage hurt you?” is bantered about like a challenge the opponent is suppose to yield, unable to defend. But gay marriage does hurt me. It hurts all of us.
Gay marriage suggests that there is no distinction between the sexes, that we are interchangeable parts of a social construct. This is an attitude that demeans me as a woman — demeans all women (and men, too). It says we have no intrinsic value or worth due our sex. It says that the rejection of the opposite sex in favor of a different type of union is acceptable and laudable.
It also says that I have no value as a wife — that unique relationship to a husband that simply cannot be replicated in same-sex unions. Of course, this is why California has abandoned the language of gender and opted for “Spouse One and Spouse Two” in their legal processes.
I was demeaned in my marriage to a homosexual. I was unworthy of companionship, of basic, nonsexual affection. I was merely a personified abstract — a Wife — behind which my then-husband could hide. This misogynistic attitude is only legitimated through a recognition of gay marriage: it is a society saying that I, as a woman and as a wife, have no meaning, no value. I am again only a personified abstract, this time expected to approve the very things that diminish my worth and render me inconsequential.
This I will not do.