Chatting with a wonderfully romantic idealist young friend the other day and he asked me if I would ever want to get married. He was looking for a touchy feely emotional answer to spew from me pertaining to my quest for “the one” – the soul mate. Strike the choir. I instead asked him what he meant by “married”. Yes, fingers held up into the quotation mark gesture. After his Pollyanna description of, “You and someone else in a committed relationship with 2.5 kids and a picket fence and health insurance coverage, etc, etc, etc.” (Take note: It is the wistful sighing on the “etc, etc, etc,” that will warn you that you are talking to a romantic idealist.) I decided no emotional diarrhoea from this puppy. I chose to have “THE DEBATE”. I have been avoiding said debate as if it was a flesh eating disease. It just bored the hell out of me. Not so much that it is lacking passion, as there is plenty of that, but because people are just not getting it. People are motivated by a root cause to this problem but no one knows what that motivation is or it if they do, it is too scary a conversation to have. It would make the foundations of lives start to tremble. Ideals could fall!
My answer is I do not feel a need to be married by society. Further, redefining the marriage term for those who do want to be in relationships recognised by society is not the answer. We need to define who we are. Let the people who procreate have the word marriage. It has plenty of baggage attached and let them have that five piece set. Gay people need to get a term for other unions and relationships. Then the country has to recognise these other unions as another type of relationship in the same category as marriage. Right now under the big umbrella of relationships for couples is the marriage umbrella. Then all other relationships come under that umbrella. We need to now recognise that the big umbrella must be equal rights and freedom and under that is a sub category called relationships and both marriage and gay unions will be on equal platform under that umbrella. See? Simple.
The marriage group is upset because it thinks the gay union group wants to be treated the same as they are. It is impossible to treat each group the same. But we cannot confuse “same” with “equal” or equal with same as ideological concepts. Same means behaviourally acting in the alike. Whereas equal as a concept is about the treatment and rewarding of all. The gay union people do not want to be the same as the married group. (And really why would they? And secondly it is impossible for gay unions and marriage to be the same. Humour me I am getting there.) Gay unions simply want to be seen as equal.
But why do married people argue so much over it? I am about to give heterosexuals their strongest possible argument. It is all about who feels they are contributing more to society. And this is something the gay union group has to accept as reality. Why? By today’s definitions the married group believes they contribute the greatest good to society. On one level they do. They procreate. Yes they continue the natural order of birth-life-death-birth-life-death that is the sustaining force of all life on this planet. Those that procreate believe they should get the most of the nutrients to keep growing and get the most rewards for doing so. Anything outside that natural norm is the exception to the rule and should be treated as so. How does nature usually deal with those exceptions to the rule? Does nature ignore it or leave it be? The plant that cannot procreate simply dies; it simply exists while it is alive. Or do even the procreating plants block out a lot of the sun to the non-procreating plants?
Ah but we humans with our higher consciousness, the mind that knows it is a mind! We decided at some point that not only was the non-procreator not an exception to the rule but should be nurtured EQUALLY like the procreators. There are many people in society other than homosexuals who do not procreate who are nurtured and often given preferential treatment. Homosexuality is different - different but equal. But still gay people have to recognise they are an exception to the rule of the natural order of life. Those that procreate whether human or other mammals/animals do create homosexual offspring so it is not so much that homosexuality is outside the natural order it is a minority expression within the natural order.
The natural order of life is a neutral concept. It has gained a lot of flack and mudslinging. But part of the ownership of the idea is the defence of the idea itself. But I think gay people know that. I think it is the procreating people who want or need to hear the gay people say they know they are not directly contributing to the continuation of life on this planet at its basic foundation. Maybe that is it! What if we get all gay unions to have as part of their ceremony a sentence something to the tune of “And we acknowledge we do not directly contribute to the continuation of life on this planet at its basic foundation but do believe we contribute in….”
Because today’s “traditional married couple” are the torchbearers of procreation they believe that they are making the highest contribution to society. Procreation makes them more important and better and they should be treated as if they are more important and better than those who do not carry that torch. We have some hurdles to clear before we can get to the neat idea of placing married and gay unions as equal categories in a category called life. They are just two ways people can contribute to life; equal ways! Before we get there we have to dismantle the ideological hierarchy that history has created that made us think procreating was the highest contribution to life. Switch that ideology around to thinking that “nurturing life” is a more powerful instrument in the continuation of our species than the instruments of procreation.
There is precedent. There are many societies, our own included, where there was/is such a profound connection between the seen and unseen world; the worlds of the physical and the beyond the physical where nurturing is as valued as biological nature. Most cultures believe the big reward is in the after this life, in the unseen. In the past and still in some cultures the highest contribution to life was to become a monk or priest: a man of “God”. They were spiritual guides and bridge keepers between the physical and the metaphysical. These keepers of the gate were considered the greatest gift. They did not procreate. Their job was to keep the path to the gate/bridge open for us all. They were rewarded by having their way of life seen as the highest calling from life itself. But western society moved into the direction where they who give birth to babies are at the top of the food chain. They get the juiciest morsels and all else are at the lower end to get the drippings. (Though in present day, a strong argument could be made that the highest calling of life is to have fame, fortune, and power. And those who create and maintain such are at the top of the food chain.)
Only when we have accepted the paradigm shift of what is our highest ideal will we be able to think of loving gay unions and the marriage of loving procreators as equal but separate categories of freedom of life on this planet. For if we feel that only marriage linked to procreation is the truest form of relationship and continuation of life then we have to remove heterosexual couples who choose not to have or are unable to have children from the category called marriage. People who choose to be single or cannot be married for various social or health reasons are doubly screwed on the food chain.
In the future this may all be irrelevant as reproductive technologies are creating the brave new world. When fertilisation can happen outside the womb we are a short period away from external gestation. In a recent conversation with a scientist friend she was saying the technology is already there but it has been deemed illegal. Part of that illegality is the procreators feeling their place on the ideological food chain is becoming threatened. Appealing to a natural order deemed by a god is a good cover for threatened egos. Soon the chicken will not be required to get the egg or is it that the egg will not be required to get the chicken. The biological interaction of penis and vagina, vagina and vagina, and penis and penis is distracting us from what is really important. In the final analysis the argument has to be about nurture and not nature. Nature is just the what. Nurture is the how. And in the end it is our ability to nurture that will continue life on this planet.