One big issue around the country this week has been the U.S. Supreme Court taking up the issue of marriage equality. I’m assuming that my fellow Offenders join me in supporting the right of gay couples to marry. Throughout my adult life, I’ve been fortunate to have had both straight and gay friends. As we all got older, most found partners and began pairing up for the long term. Except those who were gay couldn’t get married, which always struck me as unfair.

The issue really hit home for me, however, about seven or eight years ago. The partner of a good friend suddenly suffered a heart attack and went into the hospital. Even though they’d been together ten years at that point, my friend didn’t have any legal standing to visit his partner, nor would he be able to make medical decisions should this become necessary. Thankfully, President Obama mandated in 2010 that the partners of gay patients were entitled to equal rights of visitation and medical consultation, but this example really made me conscious of the many ways — small and large — that the inability of gay couples to marry relegated them to second-class citizenship.

Was there a particular moment or incident in your experience that brought home the issue of marriage equality for you?

ALFREDO: A few months ago I received the following e-mail from Iris H., the twelve year old daughter of dear friends of ours who live in Boise, Idaho (parents are hetero):

Hi, I am doing a research paper in my Language Arts class. Our class is looking at stereotypes. My research question is, “What are people’s attitudes today on the subject of gay marriage and how have they changed?”

She had some specific subquestions – you’ll be able to guess at them from my comments below – but the heart of it, for me, was taking my knee jerk liberal reaction – of course gay people should have the right to be as happy or miserable as straights! – and trying to describe it coherently to a kid from a very red state. Here’s the short version of my reply:

Personally, I see marriage as a public declaration of two people’s love for one another, and their intention to spend the rest of their lives together, regardless of their gender.

I was raised Catholic, but I think many religions, not just Catholicism, boil down to this: accepting others as they are, and the “Golden Rule”: treat others as you would have them treat you. From that, I believe most great religious thinkers would encourage the acceptance of all people, regardless of their sexual orientation.

I don’t believe homosexuality is a choice, I believe it is a biological trait you’re born with, like having brown eyes or white skin. So, to me, there’s no room to condemn it.

There are all kinds of family units that can prosper or fail: single parent households; grandparents raising the kids; adopted children, the traditional nuclear family, etc. Sexuality isn’t the difference maker, parental love and devotion are.

DAVID: There is so much negativity of same sex marriage as I was growing up young. As lemmings do I just followed that mind set and never questioned it because the most obvious question was… “How can they have babies? Of course they can’t get married!”

Many years later that question is still the same… “Is there equality for gays that want to be married?” After all the teachings while I was in Sunday school… after all the smerky jokes and making fun of the situation… and after all the realization of my gay friends and family members that are gay who want to be married without prejudice… It comes down to this… love.

Let them love and declare love by marriage. Seems simple enough.

QUENTIN: You know my position. I think America is behind. My home country Canada passed gay marriage federally in 2003. When I was in Taipei that year for the Taipei International Film Festival, the Canadian government there hosted me and invited me to celebrate Canada Day by having me give a speech to high level academics and politicians in Kaohsiung. The Canadian consulate told me to make sure to mention that Canada would be passing gay marriage federally by the year’s end. I was totally touched. What a cool country, eh?

ROGER: If anything, the gay marriage issue always brings to light the two Americas in which we live and the two dominant factors that tend to divide our 2 Americas: religion and politics. The original ideal of America was a place where people of all walks of life could come, be free, and be accepted. And the purest form of religion would be one of unconditional acceptance and love. How, over the many years, the founding principles of politics and religion in America has been bent, reinterpreted, and injected with subjective fear and exclusion is a simultaneously fascinating and disappointing phenomenon. If anything, the many people who support no marriage for gay couples is a study in hypocrisy. For many of those individuals, if you just slide back the hands of time, were equally excluded for their ethnicity, their spiritual beliefs, etc. Yet they came to America at a time where “their kind” was accepted.

So to exclude others when you, yourself, was once alienated, discriminated, and excluded is just a purely selfish act. It’s dumbfounding and hypocritical to exclude others from home, happiness, and love. To deny anyone of these core, wonderful things is just wrong. And if one’s politics and religion teach differently, perhaps a quick look back into history will reveal that such discrimination disguised as truth was modified from its original intent.

JEROME: I’d be hard-pressed to pinpoint the exact moment when this consciously clicked with me. I was fortunate enough to be in – at the very least – a neutral environment about all this and assumed everyone had the same set of rights as everyone else.

Attending Catholic school started making me more aware of that other, incomprehensible stance, leaving the otherwise rule-abiding me to entertain the more inquisitive parts of my personality. Why are these books telling me that Jesus loved everyone and then presenting these weird caveats?

And then the rest is my history.

PHILIP: I don’t see what the big deal is so this has always been a non-issue but as I’ve blogged before–if you’re a homophobe, wouldn’t you want gays to get married? Wouldn’t you want them to have the same opportunity to be as miserable and unhappy as straight people?


  1. Jesus Christ, Ted Nugent and Rosie O’Donnell on Gay Marriage
    By Doug Giles / 31 March 2013 / 153 Comments
    The other day I was on a radio show being interviewed about my new Sandy Hook Massacre book when the conversation turned to gay marriage. I’m sitting there thinking, “Huh?” … “I didn’t sign up to talk about gay marriage” … “Good Lord, man, I’d rather watch Yoko Ono do an interpretive dance to “Riders on the Storm” then yap about two big lesbians wanting to get hitched.”
    Anyway, I caved in and decided to follow the host’s lead and give him my redneck two cents on gay marriage; and here’s what I told him:
    Number One. Before I directly address the gay marriage issue, allow me to state that I care more about the $16.7 trillion in debt that our nation’s mired in, our evaporating Bill of Rights and national security issues than I do whether or not Brad and Chad can be betrothed. Call me selfish and ill focused.
    In addition, I told my host that, as long as we have men and women in harms way who have to ration food, fuel and ammo due to the sequestration, I don’t give a rat’s backside about gay marriage. I’m so mean, eh?
    With that said, I went on to inform Mr. Radio Show Host, that if he really wants to get down to brass tacks regarding where I stand on the gay marriage issue, well then, here it is: I am against gay marriage, especially Liza Manelli’s former marriage to David Getz. That was the gayest thing that I have ever seen in my life and it should have never happened.
    Not knowing why he was so interested in the gay marriage debacle I asked him, “Why do you care? Do you want to marry a man or something? Do you think you got a shot at Ryan Seacrest?” He was speechless.
    As our segment was wrapping up I told him if he wanted someone on his show that’s a staunch supporter of gay marriage then he should invite on some divorce lawyers because they can’t wait for the gay marriages to get a-crankin’.
    In all seriousness, I’m kind of torn on the gay marriage issue. I’m split between Ted Nugent’s take on homo-matrimony and Jesus Christ’s opinion on the issue.
    Nugent told me a few years back that he didn’t mind gay marriage if: A). We didn’t call it marriage. B). We didn’t have to pay for it via our tax dollars and C). it was only between two good-looking lesbians.
    Hmmm. Interesting, Uncle Ted but what would Jesus do? What’s Christ’s take on the gay marriage conundrum? I’d like to know because, as a Christian, I probably ought to listen more to Jesus than to the “Motor City Mad” man on such a serious issue, right? Right.
    According to Matthew 19:4-6 Jesus said, many moons ago when He was walking the mean streets of Galilee, that marriage is a union that God ordained between a man and a woman. He said it. I didn’t. So, if you’re going to get pissy then take it up with the Son of God.
    Heck, even Hillary, Harry Reid and Dick Durbin agreed with Jesus’ assessment of what constitutes a marriage; and they said so in no uncertain terms that nuptials were for a man and a woman; and they held that position until they folded like a cheap suit before the powerful gay lobbies who threaten their political careers. But enough about those hacks — lets go back to JC.
    Now, I would remind those who supposedly take their cue from Jesus that there were gay dudes and dudettes around Him in His day. It’s not like homosexuality just started showing up during Liberace’s lifetime. Gays have been around since the dawn of man. Matter of fact, I think that was the name of the first gay rock band.
    Indeed, several cities such as Sodom and Gomorrah celebrated homosexuality, as did ancient Greece and Rome. By the way, what ever happened to those cities and cultures? Oh, never mind. I’m getting distracted. Let’s go back to Matthew’s Gospel.
    The God of Love said, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in the midst of a culture that contained gays, that when it comes down to what constitutes a marriage in God’s eyes, well … that would be a union that is fundamentally betwixt a guy and a girl. But then again … what does Jesus know? Heck … He can’t be smarter than a postmodern twenty-something, can He? Surely, He’s not keener than a radical Leftist. Jesus couldn’t have been shrewder than say, Rosie O’Donnell when it comes to the divine pattern prescribed for the continuity of God’s created order for humanity, right? Huh?
    So, what do you guys think? Was Jesus out to lunch on what constitutes a marriage in God’s eyes or what? Do you think Rosie, Kathy Griffin and Hillary Clinton are smarter than He was/is? Lay it on me, peeps.

  2. Amen……….A [email protected]# men
    Adam & Eve not Adam & steve………….
    It’s the gospel truth

  3. We’ve finally done it over here in the UK today 🙂 #equlamarriage