I’m crying again now as I re-read it.
This is a person who gets it. He didn’t always get it — he didn’t always support same-sex marriage — but he gets it now. Not just as a matter of fairness or justice, not just as a matter of rational public policy. He gets it about why it matters.
It’s New Jersey State Senator Raymond Lesniak, in a blog post on the NJ.com blog titled Why not gay marriage? And I’m just going to quote the whole damn thing.
What are we afraid of? That we’ll tear the fabric of society apart?
Seems like the fabric of society is already torn apart. Fifty percent of first marriages end in divorce. Less than 40 percent of eligible voters go to the polls. There’s rampant corruption in government. There are random acts of violence in Virginia and Newark, random acts of violence committed every day in our cities and our suburbs. Religious figures commit sexual assaults. Anti-gay political and religious figures are caught in the same sexual trysts they condemn in their public pronouncements.
I love my church, being raised a Roman Catholic. The Catholic Church does wonderful charitable works for the poor throughout the world, yet when I attended Mass recently, the priest gave a homily condemning those who do not follow the rules of the Church. Not a word about the gospel of the day, a beautiful reading from the gospel by Matthew on loving thy neighbor as thyself.
I left after the lecture and waited for my friends in my car, crying and feeling abandoned and not loved. But I digress.
Civil unions in New Jersey give committed gay couples the same rights as heterosexual married couples. Except the right to get “married”. The very law that gives these loving couples the rights of marriage deprives them of the loving feeling of being married. Outcasts only because of their love for each other.
Allowing gay couples to marry is not going to repair the fabric of society, but it’s not going to tear it apart either.
To paraphrase John Lennon, let’s give love a chance. We might just find out that it works.
BTW, to the folks in this blog who have been arguing that civil unions should be the legal contract and marriage should be the religious ceremony — for everyone, not just same-sex couples — I’d just like to repeat what Lesniak said:
“The very law that gives these loving couples the rights of marriage deprives them of the loving feeling of being married.”
That’s the part that keeps making me cry.
I don’t just want a legal contract that mimics marriage. I want the experience of marriage. Marriage is an institution/ ritual/ relationship that has existed for thousands of years, one that has tremendous resonance in our culture, in a way that civil unions simply don’t. Separate but equal is not equal. It never has been, and it never will be.
And I am touched beyond words that this Catholic state senator from New Jersey gets it.