Hypothetical question: What if there was no sex in marriage? (Yes, I know, in some marriages this is true) Would the religious people opposing gay marriage be so angry about the Supreme Court’s recent decision’s advancing the rights of marriage equality. Admit it, gay sex, especially between two men, creeps a lot of people out. And rather than just admit it, they shroud it in words, usually religious, and blame God and tradition for their own squeamishness. I think the answer is that gay marriage without sex would bore the hell out of the religious right.
Now, if there was no sex in marriage, let me ask, would the other side, LGBT advocates, still be fighting with same fervor for the right to marriage equality? I believe the answer is a resounding yes.
My hypothetical is of course ridiculous. Sex is at the heart of marriage. It is the most beautiful thing we are and the most destructive. It comes from the same place as our spirituality, our compassion, and unfortunately our desire to dominate.
Our sexuality, given generously and with abandonment of self-will, can be a shared experience of the divine. In my own marriage sex is an expression of trust, acceptance and joy where words too often fail.
But marriage isn’t all sex.
To hear gay marriage opponents talk you would think that marriage equality advocates are simply fighting for the right to have sex. You hear expressions like, keep what you do in the bedroom, or the old wonder of creativity, “God made Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve,” which is of course an obvious reference to where body parts fit during sex. In fact, the only people talking about sex in this debate are opponents of gay marriage, and their fixation borders on obsession. Sad, but I would be far more respectful of a person who said gay sex gives him the willies than this straw man argument that it will destroy marriage as we know it, an institution that by all statistics is failing miserably under the good Christian guidance of heterosexuals over the past 2,000 years. It is, as is often the case in these situations, a cultural problem, not a legal one.
I hate to break it to the religious right, but sex is going on all over the place, marriage not withstanding. If gay people want to have sex they will have sex. They want marriage.
They want government rights of other married couples, some as simple as filing joint tax returns.
They want the right to sit at the bedside of their dying spouse in a hospital.
They want an institution of intimacy, love and commitment to strive for when they are young and struggling with their sexuality, just like the rest of us. Perhaps with that in place fewer gay teenagers will seek out the confusion and fear of dangerous promiscuity or worse, kill themselves.
And of course they want sex.
Or as my wife calls it, making love.