Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Wall Street Journal: Why Gay Marriage Matters

This is a touching story that was published today in the Wall Street Journal by the brother a man who is gay. Both brothers live in Iowa. As we rejoice at the news of Iowa and now Vermont recognizing same-gender marriage as legal, here is a heterosexual's viewpoint of why this matters.

I often tell friends that a part of me is gay, even though I've been happily married to my wife for 12 years. What I mean is that in April 2003 I donated a kidney to my older brother David, who is gay. The transplant took place at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics -- and it was, in a very real sense, a miraculous event for our entire family.

So when David called me last Friday excited about the Iowa Supreme Court decision making same-sex marriage legal, I wasn't surprised. "You know what this means, don't you?" he asked. "It means we can visit those we love when they're dying in the hospital; it means we're finally treated like family."

Most hospitals in America only allow spouses and immediate family members to visit a patient during a medical emergency, when a patient is unconscious or in critical condition after a car accident, heart attack or kidney failure, for example. These are the moments when our spouses are most needed, the moments when life and death decisions are made -- and, if necessary, goodbyes are said. My brother, whose kidneys failed when he was in his 30s, understands these moments.

Of course, this is just one example of how Friday's decision changes the lives of gay and lesbian couples in Iowa. As the court wrote in its unanimous decision, the 12 plaintiffs (six couples) expressed "the disadvantages and fears they face each day due to the inability to obtain a civil marriage in Iowa." These include: "the legal inability to make many life and death decisions affecting their partner, including decisions related to health care . . . the inability to share in their partners' state-provided health insurance, public employee pension benefits, and many private-employer-provided benefits and protections," and the denial of "several tax benefits."

Read the rest here.


Vincetastic said...

“Marriage” is just a man made term and carries very little weight these days. Look at the high divorce rate and the level of infidelity, what does marriage really stand for. Whether you call it Gay Marriage or Civil Union, the basic premise is that every person should have equal rights. It’s good to see that some states are progressing, I made a list on my site of the states I think will legalize Gay Marriage first: http://www.toptentopten.com/topten/first+states+that+will+legalize+gay+marriage

Kendall Lockerman said...

This campaign and all the campaigns like it are incapable of making their case without lying. In fact,the more irrational, the further from the truth they remain, the easier it is to maintain their illusions. It isn't just queer fear that terrorizes these people. It is fear wrought in their own unexamined lives. It is the nature of an unexamined life to be consumed in fear. Gays embracing complete vulnerability for the sake of what is right and just are extremely threatening to those who live in fear. Courage flaunted is intimidating. It may be that gay rights expressed in holy unions will ultimately set an example for how life may be fully realized in wholeness, in honesty and with integrity for those whose fears prevent them from having the fullness in their lives for which they are obviously, madly thrashing about. Love & Peace, Kendall Lockerman