Last week the state of New York passed a law legalizing the performance of marriages between same gender parties in that state, joining six other states and the District of Columbia in doing so.

That state’s legislators are to be congratulated for doing so even if some of the usual political horse trading and political contributions from interest groups may have been at least partially responsible for this accomplishment.

I have nothing personal to gain from this as I shall confess that I am not gay. But also, at this stage in my life under my current circumstances I have little or no personal stake in the marriage of heterosexual couples. (Ladies, my deepest apologies for your shock and sorrow.)

I do not know many gays, or at least people who identify themselves as such. The ones I am familiar with are—SURPRISE—pretty much the same as my non-gay friends and acquaintances. They work, they love, they worship in their churches, they may even raise children.

The only way they truly and consistently differ is how they conduct their sex lives and express their sexual feelings (even that may be no different in quality). What they do behind closed doors concerns me not a whit.

If for some reason you disagree with me about their right to privacy in their sex lives, please be prepared to detail your own sexual practices as you comment in protest of my opinion.

Now I’m sure many Americans will take comfort from the fact that the state they reside in does not officially permit such marriages and may indeed have taken steps to officially outlaw them.

Well, don’t. There has been so much emphasis on the Constitution the past few years with loud complaints that the federal government has exceeded its Constitutional limits in exerting power. I won’t address that issue, but if you preach adherence to the Constitution, then you must recognize the obligations of all states to acknowledge and accept a marriage legally created in another state, whether that same marriage could have been created there.

Article IV of the U.S. Constitution deals with the rights and responsibilities of the states. Section 1 reads:

Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof

States have almost always had different requirements to enter into a legally recognized state of matrimony. Some may have an age of consent of 14 while others require the parties to be at least 18, without parental permission.

Some states permit marriages between relatives of as close consanguinity as first cousins while most do not.

Some states permit couples to enter into a “common law” marriage by living together for a given number of years if they give some public indication that their intent is to do so is as a married couple, even with no license. W.Va., among other states, does not permit a common law marriage to be established.

However, for instance, a couple that has established a common law marriage in Pennsylvania that moves to W.Va. does so having all the rights and responsibilities attendant to a legal marriage remaining intact.

Likewise a couple who have married in a state with an age of consent under 18 that now lives in a state which has 18 as the minimum age, and the couple is still under 18, lose no rights nor the validity of their marriage by doing so.

There does exist an abomination known as the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) which is a law passed by Congress in 1996 that essentially defines a marriage as between one woman and one man and further states that a same-sex marriage permitted in one state does not have to be recognized in another state where such marriages are not authorized.

DOMA is clearly and utterly unconstitutional. It violates the provisions of Article IV Section 1 as cited above. Congress cannot unilaterally abrogate a requirement of the Constitution. DOMA is currently under attack in federal court and the Obama administration, in one of its few acts exhibiting balls, has refused to defend it.

There is also talk in Congress about the repeal of DOMA but I’m not holding my breath since that band of idiot brothers cannot even come to agreement on admittedly more vital issues facing the nation.

Why is gay marriage important? Better you should ask “why is breathing necessary for life”? It is important because if you consider marriage as necesssary for the ultimate fulfillment of any heterosexual couple’s love for each other, then you should be aware that gay couples love each other in the same way.

Last year in the runup to the eventual repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell rules for the military, a young woman  eloquently expressed how thse issues affect her very humanit in an op-ed piece in the Post Gazette. Perhaps her words will be persuasive.

She was homosexual but desired a career in the military and was in a reserve unit. She agonized over being unable to share even the mundane aspects of her every day life with colleagues because it involved a gay partner.

One of the worst aspects of being closeted is not just
feeling like less of a person, but becoming less of a person — less open, less
honest, less trusting.

After several years, I was no longer willing to live in
fear of being found out, or to continue compromising my integrity. I finally
came out to my commander and was subsequently discharged — for “moral and
professional dereliction,” as my Army discharge papers read.

While her discharge was being processed she spoke often with her Commander who did not want to lose her services but had no choice under military law.

He finally understood my point: The person you build a
life with is not a hobby or a “lifestyle” you can just as easily keep private as
not. “Don’t ask, don’t tell” is not about discretion, but the dehumanization of
gay service members simply because of who they love.

So it is with gay marriage. It is nothing more than an affirmation of that couple’s humanity. especially in relation to each other.

A long-time close friend of mine, Harry, entered into a brief hetersexual marriage in 1970. Several years later he emrged from the closet and became openly gay. Still friendly with his ex-wife, he has had a loving and devoted partner for just over thirty years now.

As avowedly straight as I am, my one foray into matrimony or any type of committed relationship lasted just over eleven years officially, though we separated permanently prior to our tenth anniversary. Yet my failure would garner more official recognition in many states than would Harry’s success.

There is no way that is morally right.

To deny Harry and Mark and other loving couples like them their right to formalize and sanctify their arrangement is nothing short of an obscenity. That more opportunities for them and others to do so now exist  is a blessing for this nation and an indication that sanity sometimes rules.

Thank you, New York Legislature.

Let us hope such sanity spreads like wildfire.

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