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And no one doubted an atheist’s right to marry, outside of any church or any religion, just as no one doubted the marriages of childless couples, or infertile ones.
In fact, every single argument against marriage equality for gays collapsed upon inspection.
Getting married is often the hinge on which every family generation swings open. You can have as many debates about gay marriage as you want, and over the last 22 years of campaigning for it, I’ve had my share.
In my small-town life, it was far more important than money or a career or fame. “In everyone there sleeps/A sense of life lived according to love,” as the poet Philip Larkin put it, as well as the fear of never being loved. You can debate theology, and the divide between church and state, the issue of procreation, the red herring of polygamy, and on and on.
And I could see my grandmother’s point: the very lack of any dating or interest in it, the absence of any intimate relationships, or of any normal teenage behavior, did indeed make me seem just a classic loner. But what it all really comes down to is the primary institution of love.
The small percentage of people who are gay or lesbian were born, as all humans are, with the capacity to love and the need to be loved.
In retrospect, it was a sharp, displacing wound to the psyche.
At the very moment you become aware of sex and emotion, you simultaneously know that for you, there is no future coupling, no future family, no future home.
And conservatives were determined to keep them in isolation, stigmatized and kept on an embarrassing, unmentionable margin, where gays could be used to buttress the primacy of heterosexuality.
To feel you will never know that, never feel that, is to experience a deep psychic wound that takes years to recover from. Which is why, I think, the concept of “coming out” is not quite right.
It should really be called “coming home.”In the end, I had to abandon my home in order to find it again and know the place for the first time.
We were talking about civil marriage—and in that respect, religious tradition had long since ceased to apply.
Civil divorce changed marriage far more drastically for far more people than allowing the small percentage who were excluded to be included.
But when I first set eyes on my husband, I knew I had lucked out. And when we finally got married, a few years later, and our mothers walked us down the makeshift garden aisle, and my sister gave the reading through tears, and one of our beagles howled through the vows, and my father put his arms around me and hugged, I did not hear civilization crumble. It is a rare privilege to spend your adult life fighting for a right that was first dismissed as a joke, only finally to achieve it in six states and Washington, D. But how much rarer to actually stumble upon someone who could make it a reality. This joy is compounded, deepened, solidified by the knowledge that somewhere, someone just like I was as a kid will be able to look to the future now and not see darkness—but the possibility of love and home.