By Joseph Delli Gatti
Below is a response letter that I wrote to Marc Olmsted, author of this linked article. Marc is gay and fought to ban Proposition 8, but came to the conclusion that it was the wrong move. He proposed an alternate solution to provide greater validation of gay relationships. While I don’t support his suggestion, he did provide some insights to me about what a gay couple might gain from a publicly recognized and sanctioned relationship.
I felt somewhat inspired to share my perspective on the matter from more of a subjective angle as well. Objectivity is important, but subjectivity allows a peek into an individual and their feelings. That’s what I hope is provided here. Some slight modifications and edits have been made from the original.
I thought that you made some interesting points in your article. I won’t try to futilely relate to you and presume that I feel your struggle just because I may know and have some gay friends. Instead, I’d like to provide some insight about my position on Prop 8 and other moves across the country to re-iterate or “redefine” what marriage is.
A LOT of money was raised to fight against Prop 8 – a fight that I felt tried to attack my marriage and further erode what two-career heterosexual families and abusive couples have been doing for the better part of a century. My religion and family taught me that my spouse was our key to creating and rearing emotionally, physically, and spiritually healthy children. My wife and I do everything we can to allow her to stay at home and dedicate her full attention throughout the day to the home and children. Her job is intense and I have great respect and admiration for what she does.
The vast majority of heterosexual couples don’t adhere to the principle of single income. Having two income earners and day care has slowly become the tradition. This move causes enormous inflation in the price of goods and makes it twice as hard to for a traditional family to make ends meet on (what used to be) a good salary. Basically, when everybody earns more, prices go up to adjust for it. People who have sincere dedication to their marriage and to children that they brought into the world together are nearly forced into poverty to ensure that their children have their fundamental emotional, spiritual, and physical needs met. The few tax benefits (or supplements) that we get to help our family function as a traditional family are proportionally and functionally less now because both members of most married couples are working and are not focusing on their children like they should.
Now a large proportion of homosexuals want to add themselves to marriage. This would not only create more of the same “two-spouses-working” effect, but would further erode what the minimum standard for marriage should be. We keep dropping the proverbial bar to accommodate the wants, greed, and evolving needs of society – and in the process, we make it tougher and less attractive to engage in the societal duty that heterosexual couples have, which is to populate society with healthy and moral people.
I love my three children and my wife. They truthfully take a lot of effort, but are worth it. Engaging in my natural ability and responsibility to produce and populate my share of the world with the kind of assistance and support that only a woman can provide was not the absolute first thought on my mind when I got married. I was busy thinking about compatibility, love, infatuation, physical attraction, and my responsibilities to my wife. I was 23 and had no clue about the depth of responsibility that I was entering. I knew that making and rearing children was somewhere in my future, but the gravity of it all came when my first baby poked her head out of the womb to say hello. It was sincerely a miracle to me – not just that a baby could fit through there, but that I was half responsible for her, and that she was made out of me and my wife.
Children naturally emerged from this relationship of love and dedication. It awakened new responsibility, purpose, and awareness in my marriage. I have come to know marriage’s greater purpose. It’s the reason that love, dedication, and compatibility mean so much – it’s the purpose that those qualities serve. It’s like my eyes were opened. This greater potential that marriage sanctions and facilitates is being forgotten and is being eroded and attacked through efforts like No on Prop 8.
This battle is not about the rights that gays need to secure for themselves and for their partners; it’s not about equality; it’s not about civil liberties; it’s about taking baby steps to ensure that a protected class (heterosexual marriage) stays protected and preserved in its core purpose and responsibility to society. I acknowledge that heterosexual couples, who can’t have children, who still desire to provide the optimal and fundamental nurturing environment for adopted children, should marry as well. I have seen abusive marriages and people who are married who have no intention of ever reaching their potential in marriage. I have seen couples who aren’t married, who are rearing children as well, and feel sorry for them that they don’t (and that their children don’t) have the full commitment and benefit that marriage was intended to provide – to make it bearable.
I feel that marriage needs to be restricted (rather than made broader) in definition and in acceptance to ensure that my marriage can easily provide the core environment necessary for my wife and children. If you would like to read my blog article about Prop 8, go to this link. I welcome your thoughts and opinion as well.
I can understand why homosexuals may be led to see these inconsistencies portrayed in society today and why they may feel that those inconsistencies make the restrictions unfair to them. This is the fault of other heterosexual couples, who don’t understand or don’t care what marriage is about, who have created this reputation and modern understanding of marriage. Many heterosexual people benefit from marriage when they shouldn’t. It’s not fair to me or my family either.
An alternate union that serves no pro-creational purpose seems counter-productive to me as well though. Combining of assets and seeking a contractual obligation that restricts behavior and that forces greater dedication to a loved one serves no real purpose. Even in a business marriage (a partnership or a conglomeration of sorts), the two different entities seek a greater purpose and a production that would not be possible without the union. Just like you can’t marry sauces of the same type, you can’t marry two people of the same sex. Instead of fighting against marriage with those millions of dollars, educating homosexuals about rights that they have, which they might not know about (such as assigning power of attorney to a loved one, hospital visitation rights, equal opportunity in the work place, etc., benefits of limited-liability partnerships, etc.) would be a better use of those funds.
If being called a couple is about monogamy and exclusivity, then isn’t that enough? Can’t that exist just as it is and have its value and purpose realized? So, call a relationship what it is and value it for what it stands for. A marriage serves little value or purpose to religion, to the government or to society if it neglects its ultimate and core purpose, which is to bring children into the world and into a family environment that is consistent with what children should do for society when they grow up.
Joey Delli Gatti
Update: the above article was posted as a stand-alone editorial on the West Hollywood News site.
In my communications with the chief editor, I had some tough questions posed about the seeming historical inconsistencies of marriage. To me, these issues are related to leaving the core purpose of marriage to focus on side issues, rather than issues with marriage itself. The editor seemed to express that he thought marriage was a constantly evolving and radically changing idea and that amending marriage to facilitate a valid, publicly recognized homosexual relationship. Below is my most recent response to him on the matter.
November 17, 2008
Hey, I read the article today. The ads and images seemed to clutter the content somewhat, but I appreciate the opportunity to discuss these things in an open-minded setting. I realize that there is a lot of irrational thought and feelings surrounding some of these issues. It’s easy to find hate and bigotry on both sides of the issue where little understanding can be found. I also appreciate some of the objective (and emotional as well) responses from homosexuals on this subject.
I went back and read some of our earlier communications in preparation for a paper that I’m writing for a school project. On the subject of preservation of marriage, I think we may have had a misunderstanding. My desires are not to restore marriage back to a specific time period in history. I think that marriage has had continual challenges throughout time. My idea of preserving marriage is about preserving the core principles that truly define marriage. I have stressed that it’s about preserving and promoting the specific paradigm called marriage – which provides a minimum requirement to secure a never-ending reproductive-relationship cycle that benefits the societies in which the marriage serves.
I don’t believe that homosexuals are specifically out to willfully “destroy” marriage. I know that love, dedication, and affection can exist as an end – rather than as a means that serves a successful reproductive relationship. People who have those elements in their lives tend to be better off for having them. When those elements exist as a means to create and rear children, it makes for a solid marriage.
Limiting marriage doesn’t seek to limit kindness, love, dedication, etc to [be available only for] heterosexuals – those qualities continue to be available to anybody who chooses to experience and provide them to others. Many relationships involving those elements exist in many different situations among many different people – without the title marriage attached to it.
Overall, I hope that my article is able to serve its readers with a rational approach and provide understanding on why someone might feel that preserving marriage for heterosexual relationships is important. I think that objective has been realized. I don’t expect unconditional love from the gay community over this, but I hope it eases some of the hate. I appreciate your questions and thoughtful comments as well. Take care.
Joey Delli Gatti