The news became public earlier this week that Bishop Gene Robinson and his husband, Mark Andrew, are getting divorced. As you might imagine the conservatives have had a field day with it. Gene has written about the decision to get divorced with his characteristic grace in a column in the Daily Beast. Reading it, I reflected on both the importance of my marriage to me and the reason why we need to stop referring to marriages between people of the same sex as “gay marriage.”
I can’t imagine my life without Becky. I’m incredibly lucky to get to share my life with someone as incredibly wonderful as she is, and I’m incredibly lucky to get to have a job where I can talk about my relationship with her, too. Those are all things that cannot and should not be taken for granted. There isn’t a day (sometimes there is hardly an hour) that goes by that I don’t give thanks for the joy that she has brought to my life. But it’s really not all about luck, either. It’s about love and respect and hard work and commitment and investing in each other and trusting each other. It’s just like any other marriage. And it has nothing to do with the fact that she is also a woman.
As long as we talk about “gay marriage” and “marriage” I think there will be a tendency to assume that marriages between people of the same sex are somehow different than marriages between people of opposite sexes. I don’t believe in gay marriage. I believe in marriage. Period. Marriage is about love and respect and hard work and commitment and investing in each other and trusting each other. It’s not about who you are married to. Without the hard work and commitment and a host of other things, any marriage has the potential to end in divorce. Our marriages become equal when we realize that they are all subject to the same joys and challenges.
It saddens me to know how Gene and Mark are hurting. It wasn’t that long ago that I was dreaming up silly gifts to give them at a wedding shower that some friends and I threw for them. But they are hurting now like any two people. Not any two gay people.
I think it’s important that we be honest about our love, the joys and challenges of marriage and the reality that, as Gene says, “Love can endure, even if a marriage cannot.”
Yours in faith,