Sarah Garrecht Gassen: If you're happily married, why would you deny that pleasure to others?

2013-04-11T00:00:00Z Sarah Garrecht Gassen: If you're happily married, why would you deny that pleasure to others?Sarah Garrecht Gassen Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

The wedding was a few weeks away. It was a quiet moment in our four-person news bureau.

My editor, about 30 years my senior, wasn't the sort of man who talked about mushy stuff. He and his wife had quite a love story of their own, but their tale was unwound in bits and pieces.

It's like you're the same as you were before, he told me, but you feel different. More solid. You're more rooted. More connected. It's just different. It matters.

He was right. Being married is different, and it does matter - to me and my husband, the people who care about us and to those we care about. Throw in the IRS, insurance companies and hospitals and we've pretty much run through the list of people who do, or should, have a passing thought about our marriage.

And really, that's fine because I'm not overly concerned with anyone else's marriage, specifically, either, beyond the fact that I want everyone to be happy, healthy, safe, well-fed, well-read and able to laugh. If that is what we would wish for ourselves - joy, security, a foundation to build a life on, then we shouldn't wish anything less for another.

The argument, and I'm stretching to call it an argument, to preserve an unequal society where one version of what makes a good life overrides all others, isn't about godliness or sin or the benefit of civilization or any of that. It's not about protecting "the children" or the preserving the alleged sanctity of heterosexual marriage.

It boils down to selfishness. I have what I want, but you can't. What else can it be called?

The discussion about who deserves the benefits of marriage inevitably turns to pronouncements that indicate that children fare best with a happily married mother and father. That adds nothing to the discussion about marriage equality. It's like saying my life would be better if I were taller.

Unless, of course, gay and lesbian couples in committed relationships have infinitely more power to affect others' behavior than I'd ever realized - like the moon controlling the tide.

How is this supposed to work, exactly? Sorry Bill and Steve, you've been together for 20 years and you seem like nice guys, but it might be better if Little Jimmy had a mommy at his house so you can't get married.

Maybe it's some twisted variation on "It's a Wonderful Life" and every time a wedding bell is kept from ringing, someone else's miserable marriage gets mysteriously better. It's a bloomin' miracle.

If you believe that marriage is an institution blessed by your god for the purpose of procreation, then what of those millions of marrieds without children?

Where does the line to invalidate our unions begin? Behind you? What happens to the marriage when the woman becomes too mature to procreate? Once the children are grown, should the marriage be dissolved?

These aren't idle questions. They're the ridiculous conclusions to a facile line of thinking.

The intrepid city of Bisbee, a wonderful place of art, houses perched on hillsides and creativity, passed Arizona's first ordinance allowing civil unions - a way for couples to be legally recognized, at least within Bisbee city limits, and receive some of the protections and benefits that heterosexual couples receive as soon as they say "I do."

But never fear, here comes the cavalry, riding to the rescue of marriages endangered by Bisbee's move. The cavalry in this case is Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne, who has vowed to sue to stop the ordinance. Oh good. (Google "Horne, parking garage, affair and FBI.")

The legal issues will be worked out in time. Change is coming because treating adults equally is the right thing to do.

Isn't that the human drive, to want to face the road with a hand to clutch when times are hard, and to pull along when the sun is shining? To face the inevitable end with the possibility that you won't have to face it alone.

Each of us deserves the privilege of finding that love, that commitment. We each deserve the chance to prove ourselves worthy of another, to build a life out of a love that can be trying, can be difficult but is effervescent and endless in its source.

Sarah Garrecht Gassen writes opinion for the Arizona Daily Star. Her column appears Thursdays. Email her at sgassen@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Activate

Latest Fitz Report video

More

Fitz studio: How to draw the President

In this video tutorial, Star cartoonist and columnist David Fitzsimmons teaches you how to draw the Preside…

Latest Newsmakers video

More

Sarah interviews Dr. Peter Rhee, part 2 of 3

Dr. Peter Rhee discusses mental health and other issues surrounding gun violence.

Featured businesses

View more...