(This guest post comes to us from Eric Marcus, an NYC-based author who wrote Making Gay History, Breaking the Surface, Is It A Choice?, and several other books on gay issues. He blogs at Up & Out. ~a.b.)
I think it's great that Elizabeth Edwards has gone public with her support for gay marriage. But I really don't care. I like Elizabeth Edwards, admire her, and even support her husband in his quest for the White House (although I wish he'd just not say anything about gay marriage rather than torture us with his overly-earnest explanation of how his views on gay marriage are colored by his religious upbringing and blah, blah, blah).
Unfortunately, no matter what Elizabeth Edwards thinks--or what any of the other candidates, both Democrats and Republicans have to say--nothing major is going to change when it comes to our legal right to marry in the foreseeable future. Sure there'll be some progress on a state-by-state basis, but given the still politically toxic nature of this issue and a Supreme Court that's unlikely to overturn Bill Clinton's Defense of Marriage Act, it's going to take a generational shift before we catch up with Canada, Europe, and South Africa.
In the mean time, while we wait for the youngsters who support gay marriage to get older and the oldsters who don't to die, we need to take a closer look at straight marriage and the terrible harm it's doing to children. As we've often been told by opponents of gay marriage, children and their wellbeing are the principal reason for marriage in the first place. So it seems only reasonable to reconsider the right of straight people to marry in light of the murder, abuse, neglect, and emotional harm inflicted on the nation's children by mixed-gender married couples.
Consider the recent case of the professional wrestler who injected his child with growth hormones and then murdered him (and his wife and killed himself). Perhaps an extreme example, but you have to wonder why more wasn't done to protect this child from heterosexual marriage.
While this horrific case is more the exception than the rule, as I look around at the straight married couples I know, I have to wonder how same-sex married couples could do any worse if we tried. (I feel the need to state here that some of my best friends are straight and my questioning of mixed-gender marriage is not an indication of any prejudice or bias on my part, just a rational response to what I've witnessed among my friends and in my own family.)
It's impressive to me that all of the leading presidential candidates on both sides are in agreement that marriage should be between a man and a woman, especially since there isn't much the two sides can agree on these days. But I want to know how they plan to protect the children who result from these sacred unions. When are they going to consider the lifelong physical and emotional scars inflicted on America's children by straight marriage? And when are they going to have the courage to stand up and say what is already abundantly clear? It's time to consider banning straight marriage. For the sake of the children.