We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Anyone raised in this country knows these words if they have had a U.S. history course. It is part of the Declaration of Independence and that line is one that most recognize. But our founding fathers were not saying it was just for those here, but for ALL men everywhere. Certainly it is important that we recognize that while pursuing happiness we cannot infringe on another persons, my rights end where their rights begin. Exactly what happiness is can be defined a million different ways, it varies from person to person. Today I am focusing on the pursuit of happiness as far as one’s spouse is concerned.
Marriage and who we chose to be married too is a very personal decision. I respect that there are still cultures in which marriages are arranged, sometimes before the births of the individuals to be wed, and while that is not to my liking it is not mine to impose upon them what I feel is the proper course for finding one’s mate. Cultures can change over time, and it is my hope that anyone being bound to another for life would be able to chose for themselves the one they believe makes them happy.
I have often wondered what it is that draws us to a particular person or persons. Raised by the same parents, in the same household, under the same core beliefs, two brothers or sisters will often be drawn to very different types of people. I don’t believe it is driven by experiences as much as something within us in our individual make up drives our desires. Raised on the same food in our growing up years I have an ice cream addiction, my sister can walk right past it, go figure. While we will both tell you Trace Adkins is to die for sexy, that is where our similarities in taste end when it comes to men. Yes our individual life experiences may influence some of our choices (you won’t catch me dating a fire fighter ever again) over all I believe we are simply wired differently. Born with certain desires, or under influence, it really doesn’t matter, our tastes and preferences vary.
Regardless of what your ideal is in a mate, I believe everyone has or should have the right, to chose that partner. Two consenting adults of sound mind should not be denied the right to be legally wed to one another and have the laws protect that union. It should not matter if they are of the same nationality, skin color, or gender. Yes I did say gender, but before you grab your bible and start preaching at me (I cannot hear you anyway) or walk away, at least finish this with an open mind.
This weekend two beautiful women I know will be tying the knot, with each other. While beautiful outside, I mean inside. I have known one distantly as she grew up in the neighborhood, the other, her partner, for a few years now. I often suspected that the one from my neighborhood was at the very least bi-sexual. The other I only recently realized was more than just a best friend to this woman, that there was a reason they were always together and 90% of the photos of them they appear as a couple…because they are! They are wonderful people that work hard, have big hearts and I think the world of them both.
Now before I go further a little background. I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church, and high tailed it out of there when I turned 18. I have since attended a variety of Protestant and non-denominational churches over the years, from charismatic to reformed Baptist. Each has their own interpretation of the Bible and their own core beliefs and not surprisingly a portion of those matters of faith are in strong opposition to each other. One thing they all have in common is that they think they are correct in their beliefs and everyone that doesn’t adhere to them is wrong. I am, for the record, a firm believer in the Bible. I won’t argue scripture with someone that doesn’t adhere to that one common thread, that it is in fact God’s Word. If you don’t happen to believe that it is in fact from God then what is the point of discussion? The Bible was written TO THE CHURCH, the early believers of what it contains. The laws, rules, guidelines, whatever you want to call those scriptures are NOT written to mankind as a whole, it is for the church, those who believe and are bound by those beliefs. I really wish those of faith would stop trying to enforce biblical principals on those that do not believe what is written within it’s pages. LOOK at the writings especially of the New Testament and you will see that it isn’t addressing the world, it is addressing those that follow Jesus Christ. I happen to be a bible believing Christian, and within those pages it tells me to sweep in front of my own door first. I have a rather large amount of dirt of my own to tend too and it will keep me busy until I stand in judgment in the here after. And if you are reading this, so do you. If someone is curious about my faith I will share it, but I’m not knocking down your door or telling you what you have to believe, I very well may be way off base and when I die discover that I was all wrong. In life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, that liberty part applies to what I want to believe as far as God. This wonderful nation was founded on religious freedom, back off and practice your faith, adhere to it like you really mean it, if you do, but don’t impose it on anyone else. They have the same liberty as you and chose to go another direction. There is a separation of church and state, it prevents any one faith from becoming the official church of the nation and from the church determining the laws of this land, which is one of the very reasons our forefathers left to come here. The churches have no place in influencing the laws, the Bible or book of Mormon or Koran, are all written to those specific faiths, not the rest of the world. Keep them within the your faith and stop trying to dictate how the rest of us should live according to what your religious documents dictate for YOU. The line says “we hold that we are all endowed with certain rights, by our creator”, it doesn’t say or imply that one must believe in said creator to partake in those rights.
Back to these two women getting married. What is sad to me is that, unless something has changed that I am unaware of, their union will not be recognized by the laws here, and it should be. Their house, any future children, all their ‘marital’ assets, should they ever terminate their union, should be just as protected by laws of divorce as my own. My understanding is that they will have children, each giving birth to a child via sperm donation. Those children will be raised in a very loving home with two parents that will shower them with love and discipline. BUT if they would down the road, like any heterosexual couple, terminate their bond, those children are not legally protected to see their other parent, and that to me is just WRONG. They should each be legally parents to any children born of their mother’s union (and this applies to gay men who adopt). Should they divorce there should be divorce laws that govern the custody and visitation exactly as it is done for ‘straight’ couples. Religion should not be dictating the laws of marriage, or personally held religious beliefs, common sense on the other hand should be. It is bad enough when a long term relationship ends, the laws need to protect both spouses regardless of gender preference. It is time to afford equal rights to our gay brothers and sisters, who wish to commit to their life partner in the form of marriage.
I hope the laws change, and soon, that will allow for same sex unions so that all people can be protected by law in their pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, apart from any church’s beliefs outside of the individuals own place of worship. I am not for special rights, simple all about EQUAL rights for all parties. Life is too short, and everyone deserves a shot at finding happily ever after, protected and secure, with the one they love.
To L & L – I wish you both all the happiness in the world, may you truly live happily ever after!!