Same Sex Marriage

Marriage is a statement about a bonding and a commitment between two people. Outsiders and the State can and should honor that commitment, especially since it does not adversely affect anyone else.

samesex14_PH3_babiesThe nominal rationale, by those that oppose same-sex marriage, is that heterosexual couples are best suited for raising children.

Let’s start by saying that is an assertion. Where is the proof? Even if it were true, having and raising children is not the only reason for marriage. As I said earlier, it is about bonding and commitment between consenting adults. Turn it around. Would you want anyone to tell you who you should be with, what is right for you, and what you should do? Now let’s look at “the best for the children” argument. Having children is not the reason most couples get married. Certainly not all want or have them. Some who do, sometimes can’t. Moreover, the bonding provided by marriage lasts long after the children have left the nest. That is simply not a basis for providing the rights and privileges of bonding only to heterosexual couples.

Taking it a step further, just in case you haven’t noticed, many couples break up. When they do, the children are raised by a single parent, the separated parents, or someone else. At other times, a single adult or teenager gets pregnant. If she does not want the child, or can’t afford to take care of herself much less the child, and is not permitted to have an abortion, then her options are limited. At times the child is raised by a parent that didn’t want it, frequently under impoverished circumstances. That is especially difficult if the parent does not have sufficient education and experience to get a well-paying job. Moreover, she must spend much of her time taking care of the unwanted child. Sometimes the mother and/or the child require governmental services, or at other times the child may become a ward of the state. Many of those who are opposed to same-sex marriages are the same individuals who want to eliminate government services and reduce the size of government. Do you really believe the child and society are better off in any of those circumstances, than if the child was raised by a couple in a loving homosexual marriage?

 The bottom line is that heterosexual marriages are “the best place to raise children” is not a rational basis for not permitting and honoring homosexual relationships and providing those who wish to engage in them the same rights and privileges as all citizens. Though it may not be my sexual preference or orientation, I can still see no reason for denying those for whom it is their rights and privileges.

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The House I Grew up in

bernie's houseAbout a month ago Grace Camblos, a biographer, photographer, and author, invited me to participate in a four week memoir writing class.  One of the “prompts” she gave to us was to write about, “The house I grew up in.”

I remember it well. The address was 144-15 33rd Ave., Flushing, Long Island, NY. We moved there in about 1938. It was a two-story house with a finished attic and basement and was the third of three houses on the block. They were the first of many, built by Abraham Levitt, who went on to develop Levittown on Long Island and in Pennsylvania.

I was 14 in September of 1942 and I just got back from eight weeks at Camp Man, the Queens County summer Boy Scout camp, at Ten Mile River in upstate New York. It was a Monday morning and the High Holidays had just begun.  My grandmother’s room was just next to mine at the head of the stairs. I got dressed and was heading off to school — to Fieldston. As I passed my Mema’s room, her full-time nurse came out and said, “I can’t revive her.” We went into her room and turned her over so she was face down with her head to the side. I climbed on top of her and rhythmically pressed down on her rib cage administering artificial respiration 1940’s style, that I learned how to do as a Boy Scout.There was no resistance, no push back. Her body did not respond to the pressure. I could not revive her. Reality struck. I felt the difference between life and death. I felt it in my hands.

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