By: Martin Kantor, MD
Gay Pride Week is among the best of times to contemplate the political realities of gay marriage. It is crucial that marriage be an option for those gay men, as well as lesbians, who strongly believe that being officially married feels right, and should be available to them without their having to beg for it, or having to spend too many hours away from home trying to alter the political scene just to get something they should by rights already have.
But the issue of “is it desirable for you?” is as important as the issue of “should it be legal for everyone?” For gay men and lesbians need to see marriage not only in terms of its practical benefits, but also in terms of “what are its joys as well as its challenges?” Will you be contented if you enter into a permanent gay or lesbian partnership? Is gay/lesbian marriage the royal road to your happiness?
Gay and lesbian marriage, like anything else, has its downsides. It’s squarer, more establishment, more routine, and more predictable than any of the alternatives. You lose some freedom, you have to make some compromises, and you have to think of someone besides yourself. You take on some financial risk and you take on emotional risk too just by getting involved with and trusting another person. But in my opinion being single is even harder, and far less fun. Being married is a sanctuary; it keeps you healthy and stabilizes you emotionally; it keeps you from needing to depend on the kindnesses of strangers; it helps you build a life by giving you something to do and someone to do it with. Professionally you will be better able to concentrate on your job instead of expending all your energy searching. And it helps you be happy forever, not just when you are young. Should you get sick you will have a caring hand to help make you well, and when you die you will have something to leave behind, and someone to leave it to.
So my message at this time is this: work not only to make such marriage a political reality, also work at making a permanent partnership your personal goal.
Make that happen for you as it happened to me. Discover the happiness, joy, peace, and harmony of a wonderful marital relationship. Help others partake of this particular blessing. Be also blessed on your own by what you have helped create.
Martin Kantor, MD
This book is an invaluable resource manual and survival guide for gay men who often turn to peers, parents, educators, or the media for direction, only to encounter misleading myths about gay life, such as the notion that "coming out solves everything."