My grandparents got married in 1914 and when they both died within 4 hours of each other in 1978, they would have been married 65 years. My parents would have been married 62 years when my father died in 2004. My husband and I have been married 40 years. I saw the love and respect that my grandparents and parents had for each other in their marriages, and I wanted to emulate that. I take my wedding vows very seriously. In today's climate, I feel fortunate that my husband and I have lasted together this long.
However, I am not so foolish or socially rigid to not know that many marriages don't end up like mine or my parents and grandparents. Things happen and people find that their marriages just aren't working. But I also try not to make assumptions or judgments about what these people do in their personal lives or how they end up in the situations in which they find themselves.
I will say that I do believe in the "institution of marriage." But I don't look at marriage in a biblical sense. I feel that marriage is personal - between each partner in that union, as well as the children and other family members of the couple. I know that the accumulative affect of divorce over the years does have an impact on society, and that many different things contribute to that, but I'm not a social scientist and don't care to address that at this time.
What interests me right now is the fact that there are many legislators in different states working diligently to save what they believe is the sanctity of marriage and they're going about it the wrong way. They feel that only one man and one woman have the right to be married. They talk about the "slippery slope" - that if LGBT people can get married, then that would lead to marriage with dogs, goats, small children and automobiles. However, it seems that while they're trying so hard to protect marriage for the rest of us, they don't work very hard to practice what they preach.
Minnesota Republican Leader Amy Koch took it upon herself to try to protect marriage in her state by introducing a marriage amendment which would deny same-sex marriage. It came to light that Amy had been having "relations" with one of her subordinates. Within a few hours, this subordinate was no longer working at the Senate and Amy had resigned her leadership position.
Sadly, Amy is not the only one who lives by the motto "Do as I say, not as I do."
Here in Indiana, State Rep. Phil Hinkle was found to have offered up to $140.00 to an 18-year-old boy "for a really good time." Phil was one of the proponents and signers of HJR-6 - our version of a marriage discrimination amendment. When confronted about this liaison, Rep. Hinkle stated, "I wasn't going to marry him."
And let's not forget good old Newt Gingrich - this is a man who cheated on and dumped two wives who had health problems "for the good of America," all the while condemning same-sex marriage. John McCain, who also opposes same-sex marriage, was cheating on his first wife who was health-challenged and divorced her upon his return from Vietnam. So much for family values...
Personally, I don't much care what these people do in their personal lives. If they want to ruin their lives, so be it. But what rankles me is their hypocrisy. They rail against same-sex marriage and go so far as to try to enact laws against it. They view people like my son as "less than" and want to control what they do and with whom. They make moral judgments against people who they don't really know, in their misguided attempts to control an institution that has been in trouble for at least 50 years for a variety of reasons, none of which have anything to do with same-sex marriage.
I often wonder why these people spend so much time thinking about the LGBT community and same-sex marriage. I believe that for some, it's a wedge issue - a way to not to have to address the really pressing issues of our times, such as the economy, our failing schools, etc. It's also a way for legislators to get re-elected - they know that many people oppose same-sex marriage and by bringing up this issue, they are pandering to their constituents. It also is a way to suck up to the Religious Right and give them what they want.
It's too bad that our children are the ones who are getting thrown under the bus. Instead of protecting minority groups, these legislators are enacting laws against them. If states vote for amendments against same-sex marriage, what's to stop them from enacting other laws against the LGBT community?
Some may really believe that protection of marriage is needed, but any laws against one group of people is certainly an act of discrimination and needs to be looked at closely. Marriage as an institution was already in trouble back in the 60's, way before anyone thought that LGBT people could get married legally. As far as I'm concerned, this is just another excuse to discriminate against the LGBT community.
Instead of targeting this group, perhaps our legislators need to really look at the factors that are breaking down marriage in our country and address those instead of using our kids as scapegoats. And people like Amy Koch need to think twice when they decide to cheat on their spouses. Do what you want, Amy, but don't be a hypocrite and blame the LGBT community for the ruination of your already-messed-up marriage.