Someone recently told me if there was such a thing as fantasy leagues for relationships they’d want me on their team. The breadth of my experience in this department has been wide. In 25 years I’ve been in six serious relationships. Two of them ended because another woman came along. Two others ended because we didn’t really love each other. I’ve been engaged twice. With the first one, we got married… and then divorced which was sad and has taken years to get over. The second engagement ended when our connection with each other faded – I loved him though, wanted to work it out and spend the rest of our lives together as we’d planned, but he suddenly “didn’t have time” and stopped talking to me as if he’d never loved me or proposed to me.
I look back on these relationships with fondness. There’s also a lot of humor and irreverence in the memories they offer. What felt sad and tragic to me when each of them ended, now seems like folly. I was younger, naïve, foolish but mostly I was hopelessly romantic. In the grander scheme of what happens to us in a lifetime, these experiences are silly by comparison.
What if you can’t look at your love life and see it as silly though? What if you are in a serious, committed relationship with someone and it garners consternation from strangers? What if you find yourself having feelings for someone and they feel the same way towards you but your friends, family, and your church tell you that you are wrong? What if your relationship put your life in danger?
As marriage equality gets more attention, these questions pop up. It’s hard enough finding that person you connect with in life – the person you actually want to spend every day of the rest of your life with. Knowing what you want and then finding someone you trust wholeheartedly with that, and having them love and trust you back is rare. If you’re lucky enough to find it, it can be fleeting and change without warning. Even if you stay together and make it work through the difficult times, you will both be tested. You will have disagreements and conflicts with each other. At times you will hurt each other. You will have to apologize to and forgive each other. One of you may get seriously ill and need to be taken care of. Most certainly one of you will have to deal with the other’s death and all the loss and grieving that brings. Even when love for and from the right person happens, it is difficult.
The issue of same-sex marriage isn’t about making choices or figuring out your sexual orientation. It’s bigger than that. This issue is about equality. Hasn’t history the world over taught us that any time you deny a person their basic human rights it will come back to bite you in the ass? And it’s about love. Human beings have a basic need to be happy. Happiness is a force that gives our lives meaning and purpose. Happiness is shared experiences with the people you love who love you back. The point I’m making is that finding your love is hard enough. Staying together and making it work is even harder. I can’t imagine what it would be like if the world at large told you that you can’t love the person you’ve been fortunate enough to find. What right do we have to deny anyone their basic need, and the freedom, to be loved?