Opinion: Civil Unions Row Misses the Point

May 16 2012, 10:57 AM

How fitting that this week’s political gamesmanship—better known as the backroom bullshit that makes voters yearn for term limits and recall elections—has devolved into a feckless round of he said/he said.

On one side of the debate over the civil unions bill is Speaker of the House Frank McNulty. On the other is Governor Hickenlooper. One of them either steamrolled or stonewalled the other one, and who you think is wrong probably depends on your partisan perspective. While they sort out who gets to pay what political price, a thought:

I don’t get it.

I don’t get the opposition to gay marriage. I'm aware of the religious roots of it, but I just don’t get it.

I don’t get the people who maintain that marriage and family are the “building blocks” of society, whatever that means. But let’s say that families are it. Wouldn’t we want to encourage as many people as possible to form stable, loving unions?

I don’t get why some would prefer that a certain portion of the population ignore and repress their deepest instincts toward love. The key word is instincts, because no one, gay or straight, chooses to fall in love. They just fall.

But if you’re gay, or if you think you’re gay, some would have you deny who you truly are.

Sexual preference may not have as obvious a genetic link as skin color or gender, but to suggest that being gay is a choice is absurd. Who would choose a lifelong lifestyle that exposes them to ridicule and legalized discrimination, to isolation from friends and family, and sometimes, to outright violence?

I don’t get how the person someone else decides to marry could possibly affect your own place in the heavenly pecking order, even if that someone else is your own son or daughter, brother or sister. If you support families, you support your family and everyone else’s, right?

Some predictions: Soon, Colorado will have civil unions. Then gay marriage. Along the way, someone will extensively study the adult children of gay parents. I'd bet a year's pay their research will demonstrate that these children are more well adjusted, on average, than those from so-called normal families.

What we know already is that for gay parents, there’s no such thing as an accidental pregnancy. Gay parents will, by and large, be great at it because of all the hoops they had to jump through to get there, because they so desperately want to be parents. And their children will thrive because of it.

These kids won't be perfect, of course; no matter who our parents are, we'll all end up needing a little therapy at some point. They won't be immune to the grown-up relationship and personal woes each of us must endure. This future research will find that children are children, that any given kid of two gay dads will have the same concerns, strengths, weaknesses, and outlook as any given kid of two straight parents. What unique issues children of gay parents may have, unfortunately, will largely arise from the discrimination and lack of acceptance they’ll still face outside the home. Apart from that, they'll be just like everyone else.

Until then, we’ll be subjected to these short-sighted debates about whether civil unions are close enough, a separate-but-equal non-solution to a problem that exists primarily in the minds of people who can’t—or won’t—wrap their heads around love, in all its forms.

Someday our children and grandchildren will wonder why we wasted so much negative energy on this, much in the same way we wonder why some of our parents and grandparents wasted so much negative energy on opposing interracial marriage. God help those who never see the light.

Image via Shutterstock.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.