For years Ernest and I (especially Ernest) felt that straights had made a mess of 'marriage' and we wanted no part of it. We used whatever terms seemed to serve us best. In public for a long time referred to each other as 'lovers' and thought 'partner' sounded to business specific. In time we have come to use "life partner" in most public references. Privately each almost always wrote the other as "Dear Husband" or "Dear Spouse" and signed with his Christian name, or reversed to use the Christian name in the salutation and sign as "Husband" or "spouse." We had no intention of trying to appear like heterosexuals. We were naming the bonds of affection and commitment that we treasure. Even going into GC 2003 I had only an intellectual and strategic, not a personal, investment in C051 (Blessings). We had been "married" (our term, but again, not equating in our minds to "marriage" or even a "marriage look-alike") for almost 30 years at that time (it will be 31 years in 18 more days). It would have seemed silly to give any suggestion that we were waiting in line to get started. But along came secular decisions in Massachusetts, Vermont, and most especially, in our own state of New Jersey. I have already written about our going to register our domestic partnership (archived as "Living in Sin" at http://www.andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/natter/msg00078.html). I now believe that it is silly to differentiate lbgts unions and unions of heterosexuals. "Marriage" is already extremely varied in its heterosexual manifestations, and treating lbgts monogamous life commitments as "Marriage" would be a lot more traditional and less complicated than many varieties of "marriage" that now legally exist for heterosexuals. The Church has a lot to say to any couple, straight or lbgt, about commitments that all Christians should make in marriage. We will say that much more clearly and cogently to all if we don't get distracted by the nice distinctions of the plumbing. The state should be saying the same thing to all couples, straight and lbgt, about legal responsibilities and privileges of that couples accrue in marrying. It's important to remember that 'marry' itself is a metaphor -- the same thing that a carpenter does when he glues together to planks. We don't want to literalize that metaphor. It's utility is in pointing us to the 'joining'; the institution itself cannot effect in marriage, the joining; only the couple can; and we're wise to recommit to it every day of our lives. L. ----- Original Message ----- Sent: Thursday, January 13, 2005 3:26 PM Even so, I am able in my own mind to separate my support of blessing same-sex unions and ordaining people in faithful, committed and monogamous relationships from saying I support same-sex marriage. I'm supportive of the former. I'm still learning and thinking on the latter, but at this point I think we're talking about two different things. One is not better than the other, and maybe the glbtcommunity would be wise to avoid taking on the baggage of "marriage" altogether. At any rate, I'm unaware of any past or pending General Convention resolutions that support "gay marriage." I would especially like to hear from some glbt folks on this.
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