Recently, I had the pleasure of dining with two beautiful and successful women, who are in love and married. They traded vows in Canada, which became the fourth country in the world to legalize gay marriage in 2005. In a complicated arrangement, they have three children in their lives, two of which are their biological offspring. The ease with which they relate to each other and speak of their sexuality was very refreshing. Frankly, the affection they share so openly is a testament to their spirit and desire to have a fulfilling and normal family life.
Many people have made the case that gay couples don’t have the rights and privileges of other Americans. They should be eligible for the same financial benefits as heterosexual couples and be free to marry. And yet, there continues to be meaningful opposition to gay marriage in the U.S., but generally not relating to economic benefits. The principal issue is whether two people of the same sex should be able to “marry.” This is an interesting phenomenon given that the cost to society of issuing marriage certificates would be absolutely zero.
Preventing gay couples from having the same rights and freedoms such as marriage is significant to the gay community. The most important question Americans should ask is what benefits accrue to society by making such a large group of Americans unhappy? The answer is clear: there are none. Why make gay couples feel like second-class citizens because of their sexual preferences? The fact of the matter is gay couples procreate, adopt children, are successful in business, give to charities and live productive lives just like the rest of us. And yet, the naysayers say two men or two women who marry somehow denigrate traditional marriages.
The age-old stereotypes of gays, just like the age-old stereotypes of ethnic groups, are harmful. They make us less than what we want to be as Americans. Tolerance for those who are different has made America a great melting pot. Enabling everyone to live his or her dream and be happy is part of what makes our country strong.
It’s time to enact laws that give all Americans unqualified equal status.
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