My Defense Of Marriage

"Every time that wheel turn round
Bound to cover just a little more ground." 
(From "The Wheel" by the Grateful Dead)

I mean, what kind of newspaper would it be if it didn't have an occasional editorial?

It looks as if marriage equality is about to arrive in Florida.  All that remains is for us to greet it by kicking and screaming or by gracefully accepting its inevitable existence and welcoming our LGBT friends and neighbors to the world of marriage and family.

Marriage is the ultimate partnership.  It goes beyond the practical and into the spiritual realm.   At times it can be two people against the world and that propinquity helps to somehow make it a fair fight. That has been my personal experience.  My wife and I have been married since the 1960s. We have weathered storms and grief together that would have been unmanageable and intolerable separately. One event in particular would have been impossible had we not had each other to lean on. Why would I deny this same salvation to another because I don't have or understand their sexual orientation? And I have to ask how the marriage of any people of any sexual orientation could have affected our marriage along the way?  We're straight. We couldn't help being born that way...created that way if you will.  God made our LGBT friends too and God does not make mistakes. It's obvious to me that most people who have hesitations about same-sex marriage are just trying to do the right thing.  I respect that. I guess my words are simply a plea to live and let take this issue out of the hands of those of any political stripe who'd use this reality to divide and manipulate our emotions for selfish reasons.

Marriage and love can be one and the same. Lovers who are of any sexual orientation can have the same tenderness, affection, love and concern for their loved one.  We're all wired to be what we are but love is something that transcends all  attempts to categorize.  Loving that special person in your life is easy to do but impossible to explain.  Any good scientist who endeavors to explain love will probably end up writing poetry instead.  Of course you don't need a marriage license to be in love.  Marriage goes beyond the spiritual realm.  Marriage unlocks certain financial, legal and cultural equalities and advantages.  That's all.  That's all people really want...respect and fair treatment...equality under the law.  Rather than an attack on marriage, this editorial comment is an act of support for marriage...yours, mine and everyone's.  It is an attempt to open marriage to even more people.   This actually affirms the importance and desirability of the institution of marriage.

Do you remember reading Andrew Marvell in high school lit class?  I'm assuming he was straight but his emotions were universal: "But at my back I always hear time's winged chariot hurrying near...thus though we cannot make our sun stand still,  we will make him run."   It was written to his "Coy Mistress" but it could have been written by anyone to anyone then (about 1650) or now.  Life is short and death always wins.  Love makes the journey bearable and meaningful.  Marriage validates all of that for some people. It is an affirmation of commitment and trust.  If you don't believe same sex marriage is moral then by all means don't enter such a marriage. The rise of domestic violence and climbing murder rates suggest that marriage for some straight people may not be the best choice. Marriage is threatened by drug abuse, violence, divorce and the problems of living in what has become a troubled society. LGBT people are not responsible for that. Gay and Lesbian people are not lurking outside our doors seeking to convert us and our sons and daughters.  It doesn't work that way.  It's orientation, not preference–you no more choose your sexual orientation than you choose your ancestry.  You're born to be what you are.  I humbly ask my straight friends if they can recall the day they chose between being gay or straight.

Robert Herrick wrote a poem entitled "TO THE VIRGINS TO MAKE MUCH OF TIME"  somewhere around 1600.  In it he said: 

"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying."

                                                             He was an obvious promoter of love and he expressed sentiments that are a part of our culture.  He added:

"Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry."

Singers and musicians are today's poets and Michael Nesmith wrote a song called "Propinquity."  It a beautiful expression of love from one person to another.  It transcends gender and illustrates emotions that should be shared by loved ones.

"I've known of all the heartache
And I've known of all the pain
I've seen you when the sun shines
And I've seen you when it rains
I've seen you make a look of love
From just an icy stare
I've known you for a long time
But I've just begun to care." 

Johnny Mercer wrote the lyrics to what may well be an anthem for two people in love who will experience the world together. Maybe he was talking about the river being his love but I like to believe he was talking about his"huckleberry friend." Moon River can bridge the gap between two hearts of any sexual orientation.  It is my wish we stay out of the way of any couple making the journey Mercer wrote about:
Moon River, wider than a mile,
I'm crossing you in style some day.
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker,
wherever you're going I'm going your way.
Two drifters off to see the world.
There's such a lot of world to see.
We're after the same rainbow's end--
waiting 'round the bend,
my huckleberry friend,
Moon River and me.

                                                                                           Johnny Mercer also wrote another popular lyric about love in "I Remember You."

I remember you
You're the one who made my dreams come true
A few kisses ago

I remember you
You're the one who said "I love you, too"
Yes, I do, didn'tcha know?

I remember, too, a distant bell and stars that fell
Like the rain out of the blue

When my life is through
And the angels ask me to recall
The thrill of it all
Then I will tell them I remember you

Mark Twain wrote one of the most poignant expressions of love in his Diaries of Adam and Eve.  As death approaches each of them Adam said: "After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside it without her. At first I thought she talked too much; but now I should be sorry to have that voice fall silent and pass out of my life." 

Twain quotes Eve:  "It is my prayer that we may pass from this life together. But if one of us must go first, it is my prayer that it shall be I; for he is strong, I am weak, I am not so necessary to him as he is to without him would not be life; how could I endure it?"

Twain writes an anthem for lovers for all ages when he quotes Adam at Eve's grave:  "Now that she is gone, I know one thing; wheresoever she was, there was Eden." 

Love and let love...can this be our wish for the cold gray days of Christmas and New Years?  For the encouraging days of Easter and the Spring Equinox?  For the hopeful rebirth of Summer months and finally the chill winds and full circle of the Autumnal Equinox?  "And the greatest of these is love."  It is an emotion for all seasons.

IN CONCLUSION...2015...A New Year
I note that the state of Florida and many of its county clerks are struggling when it comes to issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples.  We're one of the last states to deny all of its citizens a right enjoyed by heterosexual couples.  Courts and politicians are involved.  Feelings are strong.

Marriage is an expression of love and a person is so very fortunate if he or she can find that one person who truly is "The One."  So many people go through life without that.  Neither my own marriage nor my spiritual principles are violated or even discounted if a gay couple wishes to publicly  and legally enter into the love and commitment that marriage represents.  It's only a problem if I make it a problem.  Marriage is a wonderful institution and it truly strengthens the fabric of our society.  Marriage has given me love and deep spiritual meaning.  How can I deny this freedom to anyone else without striking a blow at my own freedom?

It has been argued that parents find it difficult to explain even the very existence of gay married couples to their children. The children are so vulnerable. Parenting is more difficult than ever before.  Please consider this though...can you imagine how difficult it is for a gay child to "come out" to disbelieving, or even hostile parents?  Or their classmates? Or their pastors? Such is the stuff of life-long estrangement and more sadly, destructive behavior and even suicide for the child.  In my professional and personal experience I've seen such tragedy.

My friends, you probably already know people and youngsters who are gay. If you don't feel marriage to a gay person is "appropriate" for you then DON'T DO IT.  Let us not prevent a loving same sex couple from enjoying the rights, privileges and stability of marriage.  Gay people can be just like your friends, relatives, co-workers and neighbors.  They may even BE your friends, relatives, co-workers and neighbors. They may even be your teachers, peace officers, politicians, soldiers and football players. Most importantly, they may even be your children and your pastors, priests and rabbis.

I urged you to live and let live.  All I can add is a plea to love and let love.  "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knows God. He that does not love does not know God; for God is love."   1 John 4:7-8

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Bill Stockland All Rights Reserved
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Sites of interest.


Robert Herrick

MUSIC...I cannot link these directly but you can copy and paste them into your browser.

Moon River
I Remember You
It Must Have Been The Roses