Earlier this week I wrote about how, on our 35th anniversary, Bill and I will make our marriage legal. That Liberating Word led to an online conversation with an old activist friend about our mixed emotions about this “progress.”
Although we have fought our entire lives to ensure that all taxpayers are treated equally, as activists, we also have tried to insist that same-gender-loving people ought to strive for more than acceptance and assimilation. We ought not to simply seek to model our relationships after the modern nuclear American family, which is a recent expression of family, not for everyone, not particularly biblical, and not always healthy or successful.
Yes, many of us grew up dreaming that we would find mister or miss “right,” fall in love, get married, have 2.4 kids, buy a house with a two-car garage, and live happily ever after. There is nothing wrong with that dream. However, it isn’t everyone’s dream, and, right now, those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community whose families don’t conform to the American family model are feeling twice marginalized.
I simply want to raise for us an awareness that, from the earliest days of Genesis, the Bible has held up as sacred a wide variety of familial forms, and none was more sacred than the tribe. My deepest fear is that the pursuit of marriage equality has caused us to forget that two people getting a marriage license does very little to create a healthy, sustaining family. That requires hard work, communication, negotiation, trust, compromise, sharing, and change. It also requires weaving a lot of other people into your life.
A good bit of the American nuclear family’s unhealthiness comes from two people being isolated from extended family and disconnected in such a way that they try to rely emotionally only on one another. That isn’t a model that works well anywhere in the world. We are made to care for one another, not just for our spouses. If we think that is what a marriage license means it will end up being a terrible curse, not a victory for the LGBT community.
Rev. Michael Piazza