Why? New York, the third most populous state in the country, legalized same sex marriage. Horrors! Mark my words: Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be turned into a pillar of salt. Already end-of-the-world warnings have been rolling in as predictably as a full-moon tide.
“There isn’t one single civilization that has openly embraced homosexuality that has survived,” Pat Robertson said on his television show.
And New York’s Catholic archbishop called gay marriage a violation of “natural law” and “detrimental to the common good.”
Critics claim gay marriage is a threat to traditional marriage, an assault on the eons-old belief in the sanctity of the union between a man and a woman as recognized by both secular and religious law. I’ve never quite understood that kind of reasoning. No matter how I twist and turn my brain, no matter how many times I flip my heart inside out, I don’t see how the John-and-Mike nuptials in Albany will undermine my commitment to The Hubby. Or how it will influence any of my friends’ traditional marriages. In other words, I won’t be running to a divorce lawyer when Florida follows New York’s lead — if it ever does.
I hate to break it to the purists and the homophobes, but heterosexuals are doing a good job of assaulting traditional marriage all by our lonesome selves, no help needed. Marriage is in retreat, and at a full gallop. For almost half a century, the institution has been pummeled by fear of commitment, a lack of perseverance, a cavalier attitude to binding vows and the insane assertion that fathers are superfluous.
You can see this in the frightening figures on single parenthood and the stubbornly high divorce rate. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that many traditional marriages have failed for the most banal of reasons. Because of money. Because one or the other cheated. Because an in-law interfered and sabotaged. Because a wife wanted a more egalitarian relationship and the husband was unable to adjust. Myriad reasons, to be sure, but not because of a neighbor’s or co-worker’s sexual orientation. Not because a gay couple sought a legal blessing of their union.
At a time when same sex couples are clamoring for a place at the wedding altar, heterosexuals are pushing away from it in record numbers. Married adults of all ages now make up 52 percent of the population, the lowest share in history, according to the Census. In 1960, 72.2 percent of adults over 18 were married.
The proof is anecdotal, too. Most of the same-sex couples I know have been together longer than many heterosexual marriages. Many are eager to proclaim their I do’s, to love and honor in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health. Could it be that public acknowledgement of commitment, monogamy, fidelity and love — the foundation of matrimony, heterosexual or otherwise — matters most to the very people who have been excluded from it?
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