Marriage Matters

A reader writes:

I'll be honest, there was something about the pro gay marriage argument I didn't quite get until recently.  I've always detested the hate and illogical arguments spewing from the Right, and found Bush-Rove's cynical use of the issue in '04 sickening.   Ultimately though I found it RINGJustinSullivan:Getty to be one of those debates, fueled by culture war nonsense,  where both sides just ended up talking past each other.   We've reached a point where many social conservatives don't deny the need to give gay couples hospital visitation rights, survivor benefits, and all the other legal protections of marriage, yet the Left seemed content blowing past a fertile middle ground in favor of what seemed to me to be largely a semantical argument.  Why not secure gays the basic rights they've been denied and worry about what name is given to their relationship down the road?  Surely when those under 40 become the generation over 40, the controversy over calling it marriage will seem almost quaint.  

 In the hellish months of planning my wedding in June, I found myself quoting Chris Rock to my friends -- can't get sent to war, can't get married, sign me up. Maggie and I started living together in 2004, and for years we shared expenses and were secure in our commitment to spend our lives together.  So besides spending a chunk of our savings on the wedding and developing a strained relationship with my parents (it's the nature of the beast someone won't like the wedding plans) I didn't see how my life was going be radically altered by marriage.

Well, as anyone whose been married knows, I was wrong.

The bond between Maggie and I is infinitely stronger and my life is so much richer for having her as my wife.  I feel foolish for not having done it 3 years ago.   As I stood on the dunes in Truro where we got married, overwhelmed by the life changing event that I'd just experienced, I looked across the bay at Provincetown.  I thought of all the engaged gay couples we'd encountered while planning our wedding, I thought of all those personal stories your readers shared back when the Prop 8 debate was raging, and I thought of you and your husband.  I'd always been on the pro gay marriage side of the debate, but not until I actually got married did I understand the core of the debate itself.  There is no separate, but equal argument to be made on this issue -- and any heterosexual, who has experienced the joys of marriage, is being intellectually dishonest in his attempt to make one.