In the third grade, during “Show and Tell” at The North Street Elementary School, I decided to serenade, or bore the class with my rendition of Frank Sinatra’s hit “Love and marriage, love and marriage go together like a horse and carriage. This I tell ya’, brother, you can’t have one without the other…”
A contestant for “The Voice,” I wasn’t! Thank God, I had left my hoofer’s dreams and outgrown tap shoes outside of Philadelphia where we previously lived or I probably would have engaged in a song-and-dance routine on the school’s linoleum floor. As an eight year-old, I would have had the power to “close” in the leafy suburbs of Connecticut.
Does Marriage Exist For The Procreation of Children?
I was reminded of this song when I read this past week that the same Pope, who had in 2013, stated “gay people should not be marginalized but integrated into society. Who am I Judge?” was shunning blessing same-sex unions. The Pontiff had previously called same-sex couples “children of God” who “have a right to the family.”
What happened? I think the Vatican may have thought the more liberal priests in places like Germany were blessing too many same-sex couples. So, last week, The Vatican’s office issued a two-page statement The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF)’s that ruled “that any marriage that’s not between a man and a woman cannot be considered illicit.”
The document calls such unions (same-sex) a “choice” and says God “does not and cannot bless sin.” These so-called “unions” are “not ordered to the creator’s plan.”
Infertile, but Got Married Anyway
On January 29, 1972, at approximately 6:45 p.m., I met my dashing husband at a party. We had friends in common. He was handsome, modest, charming, “wicked smart,” and a Southern gentleman. On October 12, 1974 (the old Columbus Day), we were married to cheers in the balcony and small nave of an old New England church after being blessed.
In 1970, I had an operation to remove an ovary that was damaged by endometriosis, a condition resulting from the appearance of endometrial tissue outside the uterus and causing pelvic pain. (Back then, I couldn’t sell an article about the disease! Now, endometriosis is a hot topic). Because of the condition, it was doubtful that I would have children although my Mother was pregnant six times!
We were married with the presumption that we would never have children. However, we were not Catholic so we didn’t regard our marriage as God’s plan for our procreation. The next seven years were spent at fertility doctors in Manhattan and Queens. Fertility drugs, shots, ovulation charts became chores with no rewards.
At one point, I did think that maybe God was trying to test me to see how strong I was. In 1981, we stopped all fertility treatments and decided to adopt a child from a private agency in New York. On November 3, 1983, we became parents of a healthy, bouncing, five-month boy! Five years later, we were given another child, a beautiful baby girl.
“It Isn’t Fair That Our Daughter Can get Married, but Our Son Can’t!”
The adopted boy was gay. The adopted girl was not so she would be labelled cis-gender. When the adopted boy was 30, he wanted to get married, but gay marriage wasn’t legalized in every U.S. state until June 26, 2015. Nevertheless, he became engaged to a man whose Mother was Catholic and was opposed to gay marriage.
During that time, we were willing to have a “civil union” with a celebration afterwards, but due to recovery relapses, it was called off. Had he been able to maintain sobriety, he would have been a good husband and father. In 2019, his sister got married in the same church we were married in, during the same month.
“What Traditional Couples Can Learn from Gay Marriage”
On March 4, 2020, I wrote a blogpost entitled “What Traditional Couples Can Learn from Gay Marriage, on my blog straightparent,gaykid.blogspot.com. In 2016, I was interviewed by Christopher Katis from QSaltLake magazine, Utah’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Ally News, about heterosexual vs. homosexual marriage.
I told him that in many ways, the homosexual marriage works better:
- It is not based on outdated notions that the husband is boss. In fact, 74% of gay couples shared routine childcare vs. 38% of straight couples.
- Because gay marriage is relatively new, the marriage has to be constantly examined, upgraded, to see if it is working well for both parties.
- Gay couples bring with them greater wealth and maturity because they are older when they marry.
- If they have children through surrogacy or adoption, those children are wanted. There are no surprises unlike heterosexual marriages. Studies have shown that their kids fare just as well as other children who are raised by heterosexuals, if not better.
- John M. Gottman, Ph.D., a marriage expert who studies how married couples solve conflict, found that gay couples were superior at handling conflict.
- Katis found a study that reported that same-sex marriages had the lowest distress level while heterosexual marriages had the highest level of dissatisfaction.
I have respect for Pope Francis as a world leader of peace, but I think if the Catholic church won’t bless those in committed same-sex unions and regard them as inferior to heterosexuals who “regard life as objectively ordered to the revealed plans of God,” they will lose many members.
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.