The weddings start this week in California as gay marriage becomes legal. West Hollywood is thrilled; Bakersfield is not. While others cities and towns across California are preparing to boost their economies through wedding services for same-sex couples, Kern County Clerk Ann Barnett decided to stop performing all weddings after unsuccessfully trying to resign her position.
What in the world are people so afraid of when it comes to gay marriage? Oh, I know the arguments: marriage is between one man and one woman (tell that to the FLDS); gay relationships are immoral (but we let convicted felons of all sorts -- even child molesters -- get married); marriage is for procreation (uh, what about childless couples).
Why would Americans want to deny a minority the same civil rights they enjoy? Just because the majority of people are heterosexual doesn't mean the gay minority is any less entitled or capable of sustaining a stable, long-term relationship.
My eyes were opened to the realities of human sexuality when I started to raise animals. I had a real menagerie, with horses, ducks, cattle, chickens, even llamas.
The first llama I acquired was a stud. I named him Valentino because all he thought about was sex. When he was delivered to our place, the women who sold him to me whispered in my ear before she left, "Don't let my husband know I told you, but to keep him happy, get him a bale of hay." When I wheeled that bale of hay into his pen, Valentino promptly went to town and mounted it. Llamas, for those of you don't know about them, take their sweet time with sex. There's no ejaculation, just a constant drip that takes 45 minutes to finish.
With unflagging enthusiasm, Valentino mounted his bale of hay every day. Pretty soon the neighbors were coming over for the show. I heard more than one wife say to her husband, "Look how long it takes him!"
We also had a gelding, named Cinnabar. Valentino was as interested in Cinnabar as in his bale of hay. I thought at first it was because Cinnabar was a gelding. Later, when we started breeding llamas, I found out the males were interested in anything that moved and we had to keep Valentino separated from his siblings and his daughters to prevent inbreeding.
All the animals were blissfully bisexual. Fascinated, I studied the matter and learned that sexuality for humans -- after all, we are part of the animal kingdom -- is a continuum, unique to each person based on the hormones they received from the Creator. It's most certainly an in-born orientation, not a choice.
So why are some of my fellow Americans opposed to gay marriage?
Fear. In this case, two separate fears.
The first is a deep cellular fear of losing power and control. Just like our animal friends, the superior male is concerned about any male further down the ladder that could challenge his position. In animals, the weaker male submits to the stronger one -- a horse backs away, a llama kneels. People are unconsciously afraid of being overpowered by another. It has nothing to do with sex, and everything to do with the fear of becoming subordinate. This unspoken fear of being dominated plays out in all our daily relationships, from the marital bed to the boardroom. People are projecting this fear incorrectly on the gay population, and then claiming they will somehow take down the institution of heterosexual marriage, leading to multiple wives and multiple lovers. In fact, the more marriages of committed partners, the more stability we have as a culture.
The second fear is related directly to sex. It seems like most men are scared to death of having a feeling of attraction for another man. And these are the same guys who light up at the thought of two women together!
But the truth is, rare is the man who hasn't experimented at some point in his life with a member of his own sex. When young teen boys gather in a circle jerk long before they have girlfriends, or when the team members pat a guy on his backside, and when an "accidental" touch happens and a body unwillingly responds, fear arises. Uh-oh, says the subconscious, I shouldn't be feeling anything. Could I be gay? Try talking to a guy about his unconscious feelings of sensuality for others of his gender, and he comes unglued. But skin is skin, whether it's on a man or woman. And bodies respond.
Personally, I think too much emphasis is put on the sexual aspect of homosexuality. Gay marriages are just like straight ones. The ones that are all about sex often don't even last a year. I've been married for over thirty years and know marriages that endure are real partnerships. As time progresses, you are left with the person, and if you are fortunate enough to find someone who loves you enough to share a life with you -- you're lucky!
The opposite of love isn't hate, it's fear. Since marriage is equated with love, those who are against gay marriage are fearful that it will jeopardize them personally in some way -- their family, their kids, their life. The fear is if we depart from what grandma taught us, or what we think the bible says, chaos will undoubtedly ensue. As far as I can see, there's no good reason to fear gay marriage. If your colleague at work, or your child, or your next door neighbor wants to sanctify his or her love for another of the same sex, encourage them.
With so many lonely people in the world taking pills for depression or eating themselves into obesity, I applaud those who have the guts and self-worth to make a choice for the sake of their personal happiness. Instead of judging others and forbidding them from forming a union of happiness, let's allow people to love each other and support each other. Life is hard enough; doing it alone is no fun.
As the weddings begin, let's pop open some bubbly and raise a toast to those gay and lesbian partnerships that are now eligible for all the delights -- and difficulties -- the rest of us having been dealing with all along. Congratulations and best wishes!