Even though I have always vaguely been pro gay marriage, these past few months it has become much more clear to me why -in my opinion- it is a necessity. The first thing that got me thinking seriously about it was my own upcoming wedding. If you are in your late 20’s to late 30’s, chances are that your friends have started getting married like crazy after years of happy (or not so happy) relationships and co-habitations. You have probably already attended a wedding or two and there are a couple more that will take place this summer. Well, one of those is mine. And it is quite strange, because everything happened quite fast, but on the other hand, smoothly. We have been together for years, we love each other, we live together and have not killed each other, our finances are joined and we want to have a kid.
Our first thought was to sign a partnership, which is quite common in the Netherlands. But once we asked the people at the town hall, they told us that we would have issues getting our marriage recognized in Greece. Even if I got pregnant and we would sign to transform the partnership into a civil wedding, we would still have trouble with the Greek authorities, they told us. So we decided to go the easy way and do a civil wedding instead. But we had the option. We had the option to to get married and be sure that our relationship, our future child, our finances would be recognized and protected by the law. See, my gay friends who live in Greece do not have this option. And that just does not feel right.
The second hint that I got from the Universe, that I should make my pro-gay marriage stance known was the legalizing of same sex marriage in Zealand a few days ago (namely the 17th of April, 2013) and the way that this video made me feel. Seeing all these politicians celebrating equality and singing their hearts out was so moving that I soon found myself sobbing in front of the screen. Me, a relatively straight person. I was just so thrilled about all those couples waiting for their relationship to be recognized by the law. And then this second video showed up, where New Zealand MP Maurice Williamson presents all the ways in which gay marriage will affect the lives of straight people and straight married couples. Do you know in how many ways he thinks disaster and moral degeneration will occur? To keep it short: none.
But what is going on in France? A huge, heated debate takes place there, in the country where one would least expect it. At least, I would least expect it, but maybe I was just blissfully floating on my sea of ignorance. I have to admit that in my mind The Dreamers was a french film, even though Bernardo Bertolucci, who directed it, is clearly Italian and Gillbert Adair, who wrote the novel and the screenplay, was Scottish (he did live 12 years in Paris though,so…). But I digress. So back to the real France and out of the movie-France. This Tuesday, 23rd of April, the french parliament is expected to pass the bill which will allow same sex couples to get married and adopt children. The french people seem to be divided however. Homophobia grows, according to the New Zealand Herald and the Guardian, and so do the incidents of violence against gay citizens and gay bars. Even though the majority of the French people are in favor of gay marriage, much fewer are in favor of adoption by same sex couples.
UPDATE 23.4.2013: As of today, gay marriage is legal in France with 331 votes for and 225 against.
The Netherlands was the first country ever to allow not only partnership but also marriage for same sex couples. It was back in 2001 that the first 4 gay couples got married in Amsterdam. Two ladies and four gentlemen made sure that if they were to die suddenly, their property would not be taken by their much hated uncle Jeroen, but by their loved ones, who stood by their side all their lives and knew how they liked to drink their coffee.
Uruguay: Since 2013 the people of Uruguay are allowed to call their loved ones “my spouse”.
Denmark: Since 2012 Anders and Anker can live in the same home and decorate their living room walls with pictures of their wedding.
Argentina: Since 2010 Adolfa and Irene can hold hands publicly and no matter how bitter their grandparents are about them living together, they have the blessings of their government.
Iceland: Since 2010 if you want to arrange a same-sex wedding with an erupting gayser in the background of your wedding pics, Iceland is the place to go.
Portugal, Sweden, Norway, South Africa, Canada, Spain and Belgium have all legalized same sex marriage as well.
Did those countries collapse? Are they filled with traumatized kids? Maybe, but if this is the case, it has to do with alcohol and drug abuse from their parents, which is a totally different story and has nothing to do with homosexuality. You see, in my not-so-humble opinion, when a same sex couple decides to get married, they are usually much more aware of what they are about to do than a “traditional” couple. And that is because they had -and still have- to fight for their right to live together and protect each other. They do not take those things for granted. I am not saying that all coed couples jump into marriages without any thought, but with the divorce rates being at roughly 50% in the western world, it seems that they do not put much effort either. I am really curious to see the divorce rates among same sex couples in 10 years from now. I am not implying that they will be lower than the average. On the contrary, my guess would be that they would be exactly around the average percentage. You know why? Because gay marriage is like any other marriage. It requires daily work and dedication to work. And some times, no matter what you do, it doesn’t work out in the end.
As for the adoption of children, I feel that with all these kids waiting to be adopted, it wouldn’t hurt to have more legally recognized families, willing to take them in and shower them with love and care. Again, just like with straight couples, the adoption of a child or conceiving a child, is something that requires a great deal of thought, as it is a life-long responsibility. Adoption in Greece, where I come from, is not an easy procedure and parents-to-be need to be able to prove that they can offer a financially and emotionally stable environment to a child. To me, this sounds like a reasonable prerequisite no matter if the parents are of the same or different sex. Keeping a healthy relationship is hard work among just the couple and if you through a child in, I am sure it can rock everyone’s world. I am all for gay couples being able to adopt kids, just like straight couples are, and I am all for preparing as best as you can for it, making sure there is support from the family or the community that surrounds you. Oh, and do check out this video of the son of a lesbian couple. He looks pretty awesome to me.