Duane Perry is a member of the mayor’s advisory board on LGBT affairs and founder of The Food Trust
When Mitt Romney opposes same-sex marriage, he assumes he is energizing a large group of voters who want to preserve marriage by limiting it. The former governor is misguided politically and morally.
Today, in six states and our nation’s capital, same-sex couples get married. The legislatures and governors of two more states approved same-sex marriage this year.
I am a man married to a man. We were wed in Memorial Church at Harvard, in Romney’s home state.
Polls show increasing support for same-sex marriage. According to the Pew Research Center, a majority of respondents “strongly favor or favor” legal marriage for same-sex couples. That support is across ages and genders. A majority of both men and women support same-sex marriage, and there is majority support among most age groups, except among older Americans.
Same-sex marriages existed as early as Roman times. Yale historian John Boswell found that they were sanctified by the early Christian church, though they were banned during the Middle Ages.
However, we’re not in the Dark Ages anymore. The expansion of civil rights for same-sex families is sweeping the globe.
Eleven countries allow same-sex couples to marry, and many other nations, including Israel, Aruba, Mexico, and Uruguay, recognize these marriages even if they don’t allow them to be performed.
People are realizing that expanding civil marriage to same-sex families, often including our family members, coworkers, and friends, does not diminish anyone else’s marriage. The sky has not fallen.
When we got married in Massachusetts in 2008, we had the support of our entire extended family: Republicans, Democrats, and independents; Christians, Jews, and agnostics; young and old.
My then-98-year-old great-aunt, a Republican, took my partner aside before our marriage. She told him that she had thought about it for a long time, weighed her deeply held religious views, and welcomed him to our family. She later put his name as my spouse in the family Bible. My relatives from South Carolina, religious and Republican, enthusiastically entered my partner’s name, as my spouse, in our family tree.
While we’ve been legally married for only a few years, my partner and I have been a family for more than 25 years. We’ve bought homes, adopted a dog, worked, volunteered, vacationed, and voted. Our marriage isn’t very different from that of my sister and her husband.
Does my marriage contribute to the unraveling of American wedlock? Hardly. We have friends and family long married, and others who are divorced. We’ve never heard anyone say they split because same-sex couples can marry.