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Walkin'

“Dad,” my youngest daughter told me not too long ago, “Marie and I are going to get married.”
My middle daughter Erin also has “been out” for many years, so I’d already worked through the issues involved with accepting that your child is gay. Not that there was a lot of heart wrenching and soul searching. I decided well before they were born that I would welcome either boys or girls into my life equally as long as no one became a St. Louis Cardinals fan. I have a few guy friends who have asked, “Didn’t you really want a boy?” but my heartfelt answer always has been, “No, I didn’t care as long as they were happy and healthy.” In the final analysis, it comes down to the same thing as they become adults. Are they happy and healthy?
While Erin has been in a long-term relationship with the same partner they opted not to get married for, among many considerations, a traditional American reason: it saved them money. Erin is in law school and combining their incomes would cost her student aid.
The younger daughter Hannah upped the ante by going the extra step of getting married. To be honest, I was a little concerned about the announcement for typical parental reasons. They also married for a very traditional American reason: it makes them feel like a family.
As a father and a citizen I support their right to do so.
Their marriage doesn’t affect Marie’s status. She is from France and is here on a student visa. If she were a he, a path to citizenship would be allowed. As it is, if she drops out of school for whatever reason her visa would be revoked and she’d be forced to return home, breaking up the family. This is courtesy of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed in 1996. Also because of DOMA, they will not share the same rights when it comes to things like inheritance, visitation in hospital and retirement funds.
I don’t carry a copy of the U.S. Constitution in my pocket and wave it around like some politicians– as if having a book in your coat is the same as having read it much less understood it. And I’m certainly no constitutional scholar, but I think it’s fairly evident that our country’s founders– under the duress of being found treasonous– had more important things on their minds when they declared independence and penned the first ten amendments of the Constitution, AKA The Bill of Rights. Things like peaceful assembly, bearing arms, unreasonable searches and seizures, due process of law, state sovereignty, etc. were covered. Whether Hannah can marry Marie was not.
Or was it?
What do these words mean: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness?”
What did they have in mind when they wrote in the first– the very first– amendment the following: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof?”
For my money, our government should be completely out of the business of deciding who is married and who isn’t and what it means to be so. Hell, seems that half the politicians claiming that marriage is between one man and one women have been divorced and remarried many times over or caught in illicit extramarital affairs. Who are the likes of Bob Barr (author of DOMA) and Bill Clinton (signer of DOMA into law) to decide what marriage is? The former is on his third wife (whom he had an affair with while married to his second wife). We all know how the latter practices the sanctity of marriage.
It’s a personal and/or religious decision that should be left to the individual in their pursuit of life . . .
Unless they become Cardinal fans.