Alternative Lifestyles and America



I had a drink with a friend of mine last week. Great guy. Smart. Funny.


And he likes other guys.


I happen to like women <that way> but I like him.

He has been with his partner for 12 years. Yup. 12 years. I, on the other hand, struggle to stay with a girlfriend for more than 12 days. I seriously doubt I will ever get married. I also seriously doubt my friend and his partner will ever get married. But for a completely different reason.


And it kinda pisses me off.


Let’s start with maybe it’s just because I don’t get it (understand it). Hey, growing up I didn’t invest a lot energy thinking about whether David Bowie was gay, straight or bi. I just cared he wrote and sang great music and was an interesting (if not exceedingly eclectic) guy.


Maybe that is what I wish for others. Focus on what is important.

Who cares what a person’s lifestyle is?

Don’t you really care what kind of person they are … do they respect others?

Are they talented?

Are they a good mother or father?

Are they funny and smart?


Personal character is not a reflection of lifestyle choice.


I have met some amazingly insensitive, bitter, mean, straight married people.

So what gives them the right to be married versus the amazingly smart, insightful, caring gay people I know?


I know. I know. Religion raises its ugly side on this topic. And I am okay that our country is certainly founded upon some Judeo-Christian value base. But those same founding fathers went out of their way to do two things:


1) Freedom of Religion (so your personal beliefs should not have to dictate the actions and beliefs of others)


2) Separation of church and state. Government doesn’t govern based on religious beliefs.




I am sure I have offended people as well as I have probably simplified our Bill of Rights to a point that makes people laugh. The point is government – state or national – shouldn’t be choosing who can and can’t get married. Churches can surely decide to not marry someone but we have to respect if a church does (kind of a religious tit for tat).


People get married for the wrong reasons all the time. People make poor marriage choices all the time (see our current divorce rate). Why won’t we let a group of people who may actually be getting married for the right reasons (love, respect, common values?) have the privilege and right to be married?


Your religion may not agree with it (although I would still debate with you on that) but as humans who believe caring and love is the basis for considering marriage in the first place how can you not consider it? And if religious belief is your main issue let’s try this argument.


If you are against gays being able to get married because of religious beliefs I have two thoughts for you:


religion god literally

1. The Bible.

Maybe best argued by President Bartlett on the TV show West Wing:

President Josiah Bartlet: Good. I like your show. I like how you call homosexuality an abomination.
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: I don’t say homosexuality is an abomination, Mr. President. The Bible does.
President Josiah Bartlet: Yes it does. Leviticus.
Dr. Jenna Jacobs: 18:22.
President Josiah Bartlet: Chapter and verse. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I have you here. I’m interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She’s a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff Leo McGarry insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police? Here’s one that’s really important because we’ve got a lot of sports fans in this town: touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions, would you?


I am no theologian so I am sure this can be debated and torn apart a zillion ways. But similar to anything if you invest enough energy seeking the rationale to shut something down eventually you can find it.



2. You are an American.


What do I mean by that? Freedom of religion. Our founding fathers in their infinite wisdom (and the Constitution and Bill of Rights are amazing documents) stated people have the right to freedom of beliefs. That not only means as an American you can believe whatever you want to believe, but you also have the responsibility as an American to permit other Americans to have their own beliefs. You may not agree with the West Wing argument religiously but our Constitution demands Americans permit religious freedom. So arguing that gay marriage doesn’t meet American values, well, doesn’t really hold water. In fact it is pretty un-American. (And don’t get me started on gays in the military).


And if you believe because someone is gay that they are any less patriotically American then you are sorely mistaken.



Let’s move beyond religion, because I doubt I am going to swing anyone’s vote with the argument I just made (but I am hoping it makes you at least think), and let’s move beyond the Constitution & Bill of Rights (because…well…I am not sure why but I am).


The overall topic really does steam me. I am as American as an American can be. And sometimes America disappoints me (and in this case it really does).


So forget specific language in the Bill of Rights. Bottom line. We are a country founded on individuals’ freedom of choice. A person’s choice of a mate doesn’t affect the moral fiber of our country. It may not match your own individual moral compass. But what right do you have to dictate someone else’s choice?



So here’s the deal, using West Wing as an example again. I understand that “the public” continues to be against gay marriage rights, but here is what I hope Americans (even the majority) remember about what America is all about:


(from West Wing episode)


A house representative, who is gay, about a bill to ban gay marriage: … It passed the House with 342 votes. Our polling numbers are the same as yours. 60% of Americans oppose legally sanctioned gay marriage. The people want the bill. Congress wants the bill. The president needs to sign the bill.

Josh: Public opinion can be wrong. The public opposed interracial marriage and school integration. You want me to reach back into the nostalgia file?

The representative: that’s entirely different.

Josh: how is it different?

The representative: the government has a responsibility to protect the rights of minorities, but it can’t impose the minorities’ values on the majority.


Josh: Freedom of Choice isn’t a minority value just because the majority doesn’t agree with the minority’s choice.




I am done with this rant (or at least I am winding down).


People choose to get married. Their lifestyle shouldn’t impede their right to do so. Because I love women, does that mean I should have more rights or privileges or benefits then a guy who loves guys? The sanctity of marriage, to me, is not about lifestyle but rather loving & commitment.

And if someone can convince me that if you are gay you are less capable of that then I guess I would change my mind. Good luck with that.

Written by Bruce