Here is the underlying truth to the debate over gay marriage, and the gay rights movement in general:
Straight men are afraid of gay men, or afraid of being seen as anything like them. We throw in the issue of lesbians - like the Bible, written by men, seemed to as an afterthought - to get around that reality. But that's where all or most of this angst about gay marriage is coming from.
For whatever reason - and it's probably a combination of societal pressure, tradition, faith, biology and other things we don't fully understand or acknowledge - one of the biggest fears straight men carry around with them in silence is that they, too, might, kind of sort of, maybe somewhere down the road might - just might - have a stray homosexual thought or feeling or inkling. For the longest time, the worst thing you could be as a man was gay. In the dark recesses of our minds, that remains true even for many straight men who are proponents of gay marriage. We've been taught and conditioned to believe that sexuality can be fit neatly into a particular box when all the real research - and real life - tells us that's simply not the case.
It's not the same for women. Women can hug and kiss and hold hands with a best friend in public and no one would bat an eye. But for a straight man to show another straight man the same type of affection is potentially deadly. Men can watch two women engage in pornographic situations and feel good about it even though they would throw a temper tantrum if forced to watch two men in the same types of scenes.
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I think we are breaking free from some of those taboos.
That break won't be complete until we come to grips with the reality of sexuality. It might be true that most of us can be legitimately called straight - or have preference only for someone of the opposite sex - and another, smaller group of us can be called gay - having a preference only for someone of the same sex. And by preference, I don't just mean the sexual act. I mean the fullness of a personal, romantic relationship.
But there are many other types of sexualities that barely get a public hearing, including straight men who might have the occasional, stray "gay thought," gay men who have the occasional "straight thought," bisexuals, transgendered people and those who struggle to identify themselves at all on the sexuality scale for a variety of biological and societal reasons.
Because most of us are "straight" or "gay," we don't leave much room for the folks who don't fall neatly into those two boxes. And that's a shame.
When it comes to gay marriage and whether or not a person must try to "overcome" their sexuality or "give in," it is unwise to force all of them into the same box. There are some men who have decided that they have an obligation to their faith and the family that they've created and must forever fight any homosexual urges, and for them that might actually be the best recourse. But there are other men who believe it is better to be "true" to themselves, and that even if it means a painful divorce, it is better to take a different route through life. If that leads to a better life for them - makes them more fully human and is best for those in their life - why should we try to get in their way?
I believe the church teaching that every gay person should either be celibate or try to "pray the gay away" is wrong-headed and has been incredibly harmful for scores of generations of gay people. It is a damaging thing to be told from the time you can understand words that God hates people like you - even though you know God made you the way you are. And, yes, I'm also including those admonitions told "in love" or with a smile instead of a dirty name.
But it would also be unwise for the gay rights movement to mean that every "gay" person has to choose the road taken by other gay people. Not everyone is alike, and not everyone was put on Earth to walk the same road.