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Miami Herald columnist Ana Veciana-Suarez: Gay marriage no threat to traditional vows

BY ANA VECIANA-SUAREZ, aveciana@MiamiHerald.com

vecianaAny day now I’m expecting the fires of hell to scorch the earth and lightning to strike down sinners and saints alike.

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?

Follow Ana on Twitter @AnaVeciana


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It's wonderful to have a writer like Ana publish a piece like this. I would add that the anti-gay bigots and bullies understand all the substantive points she makes to be true. A bigot, alas, is by definition vicious. Archbishop Dolan, in saying that marriage equality will cause the downfall of civilization, is using precisely the same arguments against LGBTers that Hitler used against German Jews; give them equal legal status and German civilization will end. Dolan has an ulterior motive, of course. By terrorizing young gay and lesbian people about their orientation (you're going to hell, you can't have any happy domestic adult life, et cetera) and turning the majority of society against those young gay and lesbian people, the Church has a dependable source for young people signing on to be priests and nuns, to do the dirty work for the bullies and predators at the top of the Church hierarchy. The falloff in the number of young people signing up to be priests and nuns corresponds precisely to society's increasing acceptance of gay human beings. This fact upsets the Church's whole, long-standing business model for cheap labor. But my broader point is that anti-gay adult bullies sling their hate speech, and countering it with well-reasoned arguments does no good. "Homosexuality is a choice" for example, is anti-gay hate speech. A good response to it is "I will not dignify your hate speech with a rebuttal."

Hello, Ms. Veciana-Suarez -

I don't have the talent to adequately tell you how much your public display of support means to me. I wish for you a life that is rich, full and happy -- your words have helped to make mine (and I assume that of millions of others) so.

Wow. Pat Robertson is as good a historian as he is a human being. Let's take a roll call of defunct civilizations, shall we? Ancient Rome? At it's height, had an openly gay emperor, Hadrian, and survived for centuries until Constantine came in, Christianized the joint, and banned homosexuality, after which the Empire fell. The Spanish Empire burned gay men at the stake. Empire's gone, though Spain, with legalized gay marriage, has yet to be brimstoned. Nazi Germany put gays in concentration camps. Not around. The USSR was strenuously anti-gay, throwing gays in the gulag. Not around. So we might conclude - if we were as historically simple-minded as Pat- that HOMOPHOBIA destroys civilizations, no? But on the other hand, Saudi Arabia, which publicly hangs gay men, is still here. Perhaps Robertson would be more comfy there?

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