The U.S. Gay Marriage Legislation and what it means
It is hot news and a conversation topic that The United States of America has passed legislation that legalizes gay marriage on a Federal Level. What this means is that each state now has to issue Marriage Certificates to same sex couples. As we all know, gay marriage has been legal in South Africa since 1994. However, what is passed as law is not always observed in practice. A law cannot change the hearts and minds of people, but it can make them think about what they believe and perhaps to question that. People have very strong feelings around their sexuality, and the problem of being accepted or not as a gay person and couple lies deeper than the law. However, when the most responsible body in the land makes a public statement like this, it tends to make people wonder if they should reconsider their cherished beliefs. Gay Marriage has the potential to change lives.
Gay people are no different from other people. The fact that they have been treated differently, and been ascribed with all sorts of negative attributes due to our moral take on sexuality, has warped the lives of many gay people, including myself. By being reduced to someone primarily known for their sexual orientation, disregarding all else, a lot of humanity is lost. This brings up the argument of nature versus nurture, how much us is what we have been taught in church and school, and how much of what we are is really us? Most people who identify as Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay or Transsexual have a hard time making sense of the world through this lens of disapproval, which due to the human need to belong, becomes internalized and causes many problems in their relationships. A marriage is a type of relationship that not all gay people even aspire to. However, being recognized as normal human beings with the same needs as everyone else is a huge need in the gay community. Gay marriage or the right to be married puts all gay relationships inside a new framework of legitimacy.
My hope is that the U.S. legislation regarding gay marriage will raise the debate to a new platform of equality. One where LBGT folks will be treated just like everyone else with the same reasonably expected human foibles. No longer will the problems we have come about “because we are gay.” As a human race, we face many new challenges and it is time for all members of the human family to become accepting and gracious toward each other. This brings to mind a famous saying: “Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake.”