Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Opinion: We laugh all the time - A case for gay marriage

I am for marriage
I have always had very liberal views on the issue of marriage that it has rarely bothered me what the gender pairing might be. Man to woman, man to man, woman to woman, if you've ever been in any of those shoes, love is a mysterious and powerful force.
The issue of gay marriage is more one of legal rights, in that if a person has chosen to live their lives with another, when certain critical life decisions need to be taken, the position and primacy of partner, lover, companion and spouse must not be trammelled.
Significance for the other
The situation where same-sex partners suddenly find themselves relegated by the family on the critical matters of life and death where there is no legal backing for the union is untenable.
Partners are people with whom one shares intimacy and companionship that neither family nor friend can aspire to. Hopes, fears, cares, anxieties and issues of life are exchanged in a bond no outsider to that partnership can begin to comprehend or unravel, it is unique between the people in that intimate relationship.
That family or relations might disapprove of the relationship does not invalidate it, lives are intertwined and hearts are melded, cleaved in a mystery indecipherable yet simple.
Religion is moot
It is such that marriage ceremonies are just what they are, ceremonies; the law recognises the civil contract of partnership and delegates a legal instrument to religious and civic institutions to contract marriages. A marriage might well be a religious activity to some, but it is fundamentally a civil contract that grants spousal rights to a chosen companion with whom a person has decided to share that responsibility with.
It is with that in mind that regardless of the age difference between Stephen Fry and Elliott Spencer, I celebrate the core element of the relationship which in the words of the younger makes compelling reading. He said, “I don’t care what people think, Stephen is the love of my life, the light of my life.” “We laugh all the time,” he continued “Humour is the binding thing in our life. I think that’s what brought us together.” [The Independent]
The pursuit of happiness
Now, if that is not the ultimate pursuit of happiness, I wonder what is. To have someone to laugh with, to cry with, to hold, to hug, to share the most intimate moments and know that when the biggest decisions are to be made, they are not sidelined, but significant, they should be front and centre, just as they have been chosen to be front and centre, bound in a union of love that sometimes dares not speak its name.
It took me a while to understand that in all this, sometimes marriages do not work and divorce is the only option for each party to find another hopeful opportunity for love. I had to unlearn my fundamentalist schooling to appreciate that marriages are never made in heaven but worked and played on earth. There is no fairy tale moment, just experiences, some good, some bad, some happy, some sad and if the fun outweighs the absence of laughter, you have a good thing going.
I am for everything that gives a tightly knit companionship of hearts legal standing, straight or gay marriage –who really cares? Let the significant other be significant in life and be very significant too in the eyes of the law.


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