Happily Ever After (Originally published to Plymouth Patch May 16, 2012)

A constitutional amendment to take away people’s rights – not the America I believe in. ~ Carol O’Brennan

What the hell is wrong with people?

Seriously? That’s not a rhetorical question. Okay, maybe it is a little.

Did a certain portion of this country sleep through the last forty years? Have they learned nothing from history? Back then we were fighting over color instead of gender. Guess what? Nothing they predicted has happened. Nothing. The world did not go spinning off its axis, hurtling toward the sun, to punish the sinners and miscegenators. God did not smite anyone. People of all colors and nationalities have been getting happily married and the world did not end.

Just as nothing will happen when same-sex couples are allowed to marry.

Listen, hate anyone you want but do it quietly, in your own home. Do not bring it to the public square for if you do, you will be held up and reviled as the bigot you are. Do not hide your hate behind your religion; it’s cowardly. Do not wrap yourself up in righteousness and argue that intolerance is a family value. It’s not.

Love is a family value and it should be encouraged and nurtured whenever possible. Celebrated. If we loved more and judged less, the world would be a much better place. Seriously, maybe you should try it.

Marriage has evolved over time. If you did not, then too bad for you. You don’t get to hold the rest of us back. For most, marriage is no longer about rival clans settling a dispute or an attempt to negotiate a merger or prevent a war. It’s not about gaining an extra pair of hands to work the farm or to acquire land or wealth.

Modern marriage is about love and making a life with a partner you choose.

Every marriage is unique. It has its own goals, its own hopes and dreams. I have been married for close to two decades and my marriage has matured and changed over that time. It has experienced happiness and sadness, regret and remorse. It has been both suffocating and liberating. It has been hard work but it has been totally worth it.

When I think about my life and my marriage and the joy and the balance that it brings me, I can’t imagine denying it to anyone and certainly not because they love someone with the same parts. Preventing people from achieving personal happiness is a much greater transgression than any sin you can manufacture to repudiate it. I feel a little sorry for those who can’t see that.

By refusing to recognize marriage as a right for all, we are, in essence telling every bully, bigot and would-be thug that it’s ok to single people out if they’re different from you or if they deviate from your cultural norm. That there exists in America, in the 21st century, a lesser class of American; Americans that can be denied the basic human dignity of deciding whom they want to make a life with; who to love.

I’m going to say this once and I’m going to say it slowly: Every single consenting adult has the absolute right to love the person of their choosing. They have the right to live their lives without interference from bullies and bigots.

They have the right to get married. Not civil unioned. Not gay married. Not same-sex married. Just married.

As in Happily Ever After married.

Just like me.

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