Marriage Equality and Male Nipples

There are tons of perfectly valid reasons to think you’re better at something than someone else and therefore more qualified to do it.

For instance, Adele has some pretty impressive pipes on her, so I’m just going to say right off the bat that she is better-equipped and therefore more entitled to win Grammys than I am. Yup, I’m okay with that.

As I’m thoroughly uncoordinated and height-challenged, I’m just going to make the logical assumption that I’m not as equipped as Lebron James to play in the NBA and star in Nike and Gatorade commercials. I’m just not.

Since I’m pretty much physically incapable of demonstrating any emotion other than happy or sad, I probably wouldn’t be able to replace say, Meryl Streep in Steven Spielberg’s next big movie. Meryl can emote, so I’ll just go ahead and leave that up to her.

And when it comes to parading around in swimsuits and generally not wearing much clothing, I’m going to let the infinitely-more-qualified Kate Upton handle that. Gals like me generally prefer to wear more clothing in public, (probably because we’re not Kate Upton).  She’s just plain better at that business.

I’m not afraid to admit that some people are better at certain things than I am, because they have phenomenal talent, are giants, are natural drama queens, or because they are genetically blessed. I’m cool with that. That makes sense to me.

What doesn’t make sense to me is the assumption that I’m better qualified to be married simply because I happen to be straight.

I’ve only been married a few years so I’m not going to say I’m some sort of marriage expert. But even in that short amount of time, it’s become pretty clear to me that what makes a good marriage is pretty darn similar to what makes a good friendship: you love each other, you respect each other, you’re there for each other in good times and bad, and you treat each other well.

Unless I’m seriously mistaken (and just this once, I don’t think I am) what makes two people capable of doing these things has nothing to do with whether they happen to be women attracted to men, men attracted to women, men attracted to men, or women attracted to women.

This should go without saying (but like so many things that should be able to go without saying) apparently it needs to be said: gay and lesbian couples are just as qualified as straight couples to love each other, respect each other, be there for each other in good times and bad, and treat each other well.

In fact, gay and lesbian couples are already doing these things. They’ve been doing these things for a good, long time. They’re just not being given the same recognition and legal status as straight couples when they do.

I was never big into marriage personally. Growing up I never dreamed of getting married and proclaiming myself Mrs. Such-and-Such or Mrs. So-and-So. It just wasn’t something that I ever really thought about. I just assumed that if I eventually decided I wanted to get married, I could and I would. I just took it for granted because I had the luxury of being able to take it for granted, because I happened to be a woman who was attracted to men.

But what if the person I fell in love with and decided I wanted to spend the rest of my life with just happened to be another woman? What then? Would our love not be real enough, legitimate enough for us to deserve to get married too? The answer, as you’ve probably already guessed, is it is just as real and it is just as legitimate whether or not DOMA and certain individuals agree with it or not.

That’s another thing that I just don’t understand about this marriage equality debate: what exactly is there to disagree with?

Two, loving, consenting adults want to be in a committed relationship and they want the legal rights and benefits that for a straight couple would automatically come with the union of marriage. What’s to disagree with there? Have people truly decided to be against, loving committed relationships now? Is that really a battle that should be fought?

Now please, do not tell that the union of two, loving committed adults who happen to be of the same sex in any way affects the supposed “sanctity” of the institution of marriage. It doesn’t.

Do you know what does affect the “sanctity” of marriage: verbally abusive relationships, physically abusive relationships, dysfunctional and unhealthy relationships, and to a far, far lesser extent, the promotional stint marriages of celebrities and the show, “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire.”

(Do you remember that show? It was a Fox reality show in which purported multi-millionaire Rick Rockwell asked Darva Conger to marry him after a two-hour broadcast on February 15, 2000. So if you’re truly concerned about the holy and sacred institution of marriage, you better get yourself a time machine and go back and stop that dreadful mess from ever happening.)

At this point, some people would completely ignore my perfectly valid comment about “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire,” and say that is not what they feel marriage needs to be defended against. They may even say they disagree with gay marriage for religious reasons, an argument which also doesn’t make sense to me.

Admittedly, I’m not a religious scholar. I consider myself a Christian but my church attendance is irregular at best and I’m not going to win any Bible verses face-offs any time soon. (It’s been a good, long time since I was Bible Quiz Bowl champion in confirmation class.)

But even with my limited Bible scholar skills, I know you can find Bible verses that seem to say homosexuality is wrong. That’s true. But you can also find Bible verses saying tattoos are wrong, wearing clothing made of two different types of fabrics is wrong, and ingesting any blood from animal meat is wrong (that last one can be interpreted to mean eating rare steaks is wrong, and if that’s wrong, I don’t really want to be right).

There are also some pretty phenomenal rules about women in there. These are some of my personal favorites (that was sarcasm, in case that wasn’t clear). Really check out all of 1 Timothy 2 if you want to read about everything I have been doing in church that I shouldn’t have been doing like wearing gold, having my hair in braids, or you know, talking.

Now I didn’t bring these things up in an attempt to discredit the Bible. Of course I can’t (and don’t want to) discredit the Bible. It’s the Bible. There’s some pretty great stuff in there. I’m just saying that if we cherry-pick certain verses and use them against each other, I think it goes against the whole, larger point of the text.

I don’t think the Bible was meant to be used as a justification for acts of discrimination and hatred. I just don’t think that was the point. And unless I was seriously not paying attention in Sunday School, I’m pretty sure that is kind of the opposite point of Christianity as a whole.

If anything, I kind of thought Christianity was all about loving God, loving each other, and treating others how we would like to be treated. And well, as for me, I kind of want my marriage to have full recognition and legal status in the eyes of my government. So doesn’t it only logically follow that I’d want all other couples to have those rights, too?

That, that makes sense to me. And I really hope it makes sense to you too.

I’ve attempted to see this issue from every angle and I tried to address every argument I could think of against marriage equality. But as I generally don’t care enough about anything to argue this much about it, it’s possible I’m terrible at arguing.

So, with that in mind, I brought some backup.

Please check out this Golden Girls clip where the enlightened Sophia Petrillo breaks down the issue of marriage equality far more eloquently than I ever could. Bonus: She asks a pretty insightful question about male nipples.



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