Sorry, NOM, But Same-Sex Marriage Has Actual Benefits

I'll be damned if I'm going to sit here and have a million-dollar organization tell me that my marriage has no value and is harmful to society, so here, using my own marriage as evidence, I list the ways that same-sex marriage can benefit society as a whole.
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The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is back, this time with a slickly animated propaganda video entitled " Marriage = Biology (Not Bigotry)":

Aside from likening same-sex marriage to drug dealing and pedophilia, the video is filled with enough offensive falsehoods and bizarre lapses in logic to put anyone's laptop in danger of being thrown out the window. I will not catalog every act of psychological violence and slander included in the video or we'll be here all night (for the full monty, watch it yourself), but I will respond to the central segment, which hit me in the gut like a gay basher's fist. In it the narrator says:

Natural marriage creates children. It best raises children. It protects women. It civilizes men. It lowers crime, poverty and welfare, which in turn reduces government spending and deficits. In short, natural marriage perpetuates and stabilizes society. Everyone benefits from that, even those who don't get married. Now let's look at same-sex marriage. What benefits does it provide?

This is followed by a blank screen and -- I'm not kidding -- the sound of crickets. Then the narrator says, "Same-sex marriage offers no benefit for society as a whole. In fact, it hurts us."

Using the evidence of my own life and millions of others, I am operating within the assumption that being gay is a normal and natural part of human sexuality and has been since the beginning of time. The problem with NOM and other anti-gay outfits is that their assumption is that homosexuality itself is wrong, so same-sex marriage, or any kind of legal recognition of gay relationships, is therefore wrong, as well. To them, same sex-marriage not only offers nothing to society but is as dangerous as incest and pedophilia (and apparently increases the infestation of crickets).

I'll be damned if I'm going to sit here and have a million-dollar organization tell me that my marriage has no value and is harmful to society, so here, using my own marriage as evidence, I list the ways that same-sex marriage can benefit society as a whole.

1) Same-sex marriage creates healthy relationships that stabilize society.

My husband and I met in March 1988, so we've been together for close to 25 years. Before I met him I was an absolute wreck. I'm going to spare you the details, but suffice it to say I was alone and living a personal life that was a shameful secret. It was the height of the HIV crisis, so the stigma of being gay had gotten worse, and it was still difficult to be out. My self-esteem was at rock bottom, and I was struggling with various addictions. I desperately needed companionship, if only for a few hours, so rather than spend every night alone, I frequently went out and had sex with men I had just met. I drank and smoked too much, did drugs and was generally a big mess, because I thought I would spend my life alone. There was no talk of marriage (and hardly dating) in those days. My budding relationship with the man who would become my husband immediately stabilized my life, kept me off the streets, increased my self-esteem, reduced my addictions and gave me hope for my future. I immediately became a better member of society, worked harder, was of more use to my profession and, because we were monogamous, didn't catch HIV and give it to someone else. In every way, our lives are better and we are more productive members of society because of our marriage.

2) Same-sex marriage stabilizes families.

Before I was in a relationship, I was not out to my Christian parents, and I moved farther and farther away from them so that I could live my life as comfortably as possible. I didn't come out because I had nothing to show for it; I just continued to live a secret life that I hated and endured my mother's incessant questions about who I was seeing. After my partner and I committed to each other, I was at last able to live my life openly and share the love of my life with family. It made us closer, not further apart. My partner became a family member, and his family became the in-laws. Both our families were strengthened and stabilized by our relationship. As time has gone on, we have helped members of our family with various family things. Our marriage ceremony earlier this year brought both sides of our families together in a way that they hadn't been before. This is true of every same-sex marriage I've personally witnessed, and I've been to a lot of weddings in the last year and have met lots of family members. Thank God few in our families were members of a NOM-like organization, which promotes only paranoid bigotry and encourages people to miss some really cool weddings.

3) Same-sex marriage creates a stable environment for children.

Yeah, yeah, same-sex couples can't create children. But they have no problem raising them. As far as the myth that children are best served by a mother and a father, we all know a lot of really screwed-up people who came from a mother and a father. The adoption and foster-care agencies of the world are jam-packed with babies discarded by mothers and fathers. A same-sex couple I know recently adopted a son who was thrown into foster care like a piece of trash, abandoned by every heterosexual parent he had. The child was a wreck when he arrived, and now he's a happy boy in the second grade, on the softball team, with a quality of life he did not know before age 5. This scenario has been repeated thousands of times in thousands of other same-sex families. The only problem that children of same-sex couples routinely report is dealing with the bigotry of children whose parents believe the lies told by organizations like NOM.

4) Same-sex marriage protects women, civilizes men and lowers crime, poverty and welfare, which in turn reduces government spending and deficits.

So there, NOM! Other than creating children, same-sex marriage does exactly the same things for society that "natural marriage" does. That's why they call it marriage. It protects women by ensuring that they have the stability of a partner. As for civilizing men, it sure civilized me. If I weren't in a relationship, I'd be a potentially dangerous member of society. My loneliness and frustration, not to mention my addictions, would have reached a fever pitch by now, and there's a good chance I would be a welfare recipient. I would have no career. I might have even turned to a life of crime. There's no way to know, because my relationship has provided me with such a rock for the last quarter-century. Without it, who knows? Thanks to my marriage, I have been better equipped to be a productive member of society in every way. Without it I might even be dead.

Some people are happy being single, but I believe most people are better off in a relationship. That's the case with me and just about everyone I know. The benefits of same-sex marriage are crystal-clear to me. NOM either doesn't know what it is talking about or is just spreading hatred on purpose. Either scenario is dangerous.

In every way, my marriage has helped stabilize my life and the society around me, positively affecting everyone I've touched, and I know a lot of people. Sure, I don't have kids, but that's because I was never interested in having them. I let others raise them, then I entertain them. We all can be of service somehow.

Anyone who watched the Dan Savage/Brian Brown dinner-table debate knows that NOM can quote all the facts and figures they want, but their basic premise is that gay relationships are fundamentally wrong, and they rationalize this bigotry by grabbing at any straw they can. Brown admitted that he cannot visualize any possible scenario where same-sex marriages are legalized. Even the thought of happy non-married same-sex relationships gives him the heebie-jeebies.

As for same-sex relationships, which are going to happen no matter what NOM says, NOM and other "family" organizations offer no evidence whatsoever that they do actual harm. Because of that, it is these organizations that merit the sound of crickets.

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