Patti Davis: Marriage Should Be About Love

Patti Davis, Ronald Reagan’s daughter, has a wonderful
column on MSNBC about same sex marriage
. Surprise, there’s a Reagan on our
side.

The irony of our times is that the one group of people—gays— who passionately
want to get married are slamming into a wall built of political concerns, legislative
wrangling, right-wing religiosity (an oxymoron if I ever heard one), and oddly
enraged TV pundits who seem to think the world will come to an end if two people
of the same sex join in holy matrimony.

… Whenever I hear about the furor over gay marriage, and whenever I step back and look at how tentative and wary we are about love (I’m including myself in that one) I wonder the same thing: What is it about love that frightens us so much? In the personal arena, the easy answer is, I suppose, loss. We wonder if we can survive the deep bruises to our hearts if our partner gets ill, or dies, or leaves. Solitude might be safer. Yet we see people surviving loss so we know it’s possible; the heart is a sturdy little muscle.

The harder question is: What is frightening about a same-sex couple standing forth in front of the world and making their commitment to one another public? Is the happiness of others really so threatening? Maybe
the bravery is what’s threatening. I don’t know if I could stand up to society’s wrath in the name of love. I hope I could, but as a straight woman, I’ll never be tested on that one.

A woman I know sat at the bedside of a man dying from AIDS. He told her he didn’t think he’d accomplished much in his young life, and now he was dying.

She said, “Did you love?” And he replied, “Oh, yes. I have loved deeply with all my heart.”

“Then you accomplished everything,” she said.

It’s funny, but I don’t think of it as brave to be living my life openly, with my partner and our son. At least not any braver than anyone else who dares to love and let others into his/her life. It’s just what I have to do, to be happy. Maybe the bravery comes from believing I deserve happiness, and daring to claim it despite the odds.

Still, when I get up every morning and see my son and partner out the door before I prepare to leave for work myself, I think I probably experience what just about anyone else experiences at a moment like that, watching two people I love walk out the door. At times like that, loving at all seems like a huge risk to take. So much of my heart is invested in both of them, and I’m not sure how well I could handle the loss of either of them, but I’m certain I’d loose a part of myself too.

I guess the difference between me and Patti, or me and any other heterosexual person in the same boat, is that I’m willing to take the risk of loving – and building a family – and while I get the personal benefits of that love (seeing my son first thing in the morning and hearing him laugh or say a new word, being able to roll over and see my partner beside me, etc.), I live in a society that tells me every day that love is not equal to the love that other – more traditional – families share; that what I have is some kind of second-class love. I know that’s not true. Maybe that’s where the bravery comes in; in daring to act as though the love that created and bonds my family together is just as worthy as any other.

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4 Responses to Patti Davis: Marriage Should Be About Love

  1. lish says:

    Did you and your partner create your son? As an American you have a right to love as you please, but in the eyes of humanity and God you do not have a right to confuse an innocent child. Humanity exists because of the union that creates life. When that un ion is in love, it deserves the recognition of marriage because of it’s fundamental difference. All other love IS second-class to that type of love. That’s why it should be honored with the word marriage. And as dysfunctional as the world is, there has a l ways been hope in the natural family. It’s something we all want to have as youngsters. It’s not your right to attempt to steal the glory of the natural order from your son (or to humanity itself) in order to prove a gay point. Marriage is holy. Those w ho use it for a personal agenda is wrong … and love itself isn’t enough of a requirement to warrant marriage. The bodies of a man and woman are ultimately designed to procreate even if they choose not to do so. That union has the holy right to be called m arriage above all other. I’m very sad this fundamental point has escaped you, and you deny your own ability to create true life and love with a woman. You can pass this off as hate mail to deny this if you don’t want to hear the truth, but truth doesn’t m ake room for your denial of God’s order (whether it be homosexuality or some other issue). I pray you will see the light one day before it’s too late. God loves you (and so do I). He will forgive and heal. But you and your partner must look to your own upbringings to get the true answer to these feelings that go against His order. There are answers, if you really want to know the truth.
    Respectfully and with great compassion …. r

  2. Denise says:

    I have asked — many times — what is at the heart of the opposition to gay marriage. Mostly, people respond with defensiveness, anger and bigotry. This response is at least rational (IMHO).

    It is, still, based in religious belief — faith against all evidence — but it seems to me to be held honestly and lovingly. Where one person believes that their ‘truth’ is right (because of some inherent or taught faith in a religious doctrine) and another’s is just wrong, there can be no argument or discussion. At that point, we just have to acknowledge each other’s right to his/her beliefs and go our own ways.

    I see a completely different picture of life and love (more akin to T’s) than does the previous commentator, but I do respect his/her views — for the most part. I would have qualified the second sentence to say “in my opinion”. For, in *my* world, God and humanity does confer a right to love — and to raise a child.

  3. Gayle Madwin says:

    To the commenter named Lish:

    I take it you’re equally vehemently opposed to heterosexuals adopting children they didn’t create or couldn’t have created due to infertility then. How dare they oppose the natural order of God having chosen them to be infertile, and confuse their adopted children by pretending to be their parents? How dare any widowed or divorced parents ever remarry and present their children with stepparents instead of biological ones? Far better that orphaned children should die on the streets unadopted and children whose parents are abusive or can’t stand each other should stay together and continue abusing them or arguing loudly 24 hours a day making the household miserable. Anything to prevent children from being raised in happy families, apparently.

  4. laurie says:

    Dear Lish,

    As an American, you have a right to love as you please, but in the eyes of humanity and God you do not have a right to confuse an innocent child.

    Humanity exists because of unions that create life, whether they be non-loving single nights of heterosexual passion and lust, or loving long term marriages.

    When a union is in love, it deserves the recognition of marriage because of it’s fundamental difference to non-loving relations and one night baby-making stands. All other love IS second-class to that type of love. That’s why love should be honored with the word marriage.

    As dysfunctional as the world is, there has always been hope in the natural family. It’s something we all want to have as youngsters. To grow up in a family with parents that love and care about you, that nurture you.

    It’s not your right to attempt to steal the glory of the natural order from any child (or to humanity itself) in order to prove a point. Marriage is holy.

    Those who use marriage for a personal agenda are wrong. Sex itself isn’t enough of a requirement to warrant marriage, although the bodies of a man and woman are ultimately designed to procreate even if they choose not to do so.

    I’m very sad this fundamental point has escaped you, and you deny your own ability to create true life and love.

    You can pass this off as hate mail, to deny this if you don’t want to hear the truth, but truth doesn’t make room for your denial of God’s order (whether it be homosexuality or some other issue).

    I pray you will see the light one day before it’s too late.

    God loves you (and so do I). He will forgive and heal. But you and your judgements must look to your own upbringings to get the true answer to these feelings that go against His order.

    There are answers, if you really want to know the truth.

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