As seems to be a sadly predictable pattern in these Joe Biden years, the U.S. House of Representatives once again has stepped up to do the right, honorable thing — with it all but certain that honor will face an uphill battle, and likely trouncing, when it comes up against the current U.S. Senate for a final vote there (”Pressure on Senate GOP after same-sex marriage passes House,” July 26).
Recently, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to protect same-sex marriage rights. Under this bill, federal protection is guaranteed for same-sex marriage, and denial of a marriage’s validity based upon a couple’s gender or race is prohibited. The bill passed by a 267-157 margin including 47 affirmative Republican votes. Thank you and kudos to the men and women who voted in support of equality and justice!
Wouldn’t it be great if the story could end right there, with federal protection solidly in place for the legality of same-sex unions that was made the law of the land by the landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges? But no, even as we celebrate the good work that was accomplished this week in the House, we — like millions of married LGBTQIA Americans — await this bill’s move to the Senate floor with well-founded anxiety.
A group of far-right Republicans, determined to foil any and all remotely progressive movement within the U.S. Senate, will do all in their power to block this protective measure from passing. Many will couch their homophobia in professions of deeply rooted religious conviction, to the delight of the legions of arch-conservative American citizens who bemoan the legalization of same-sex marriage as an evil act of end-times magnitude.
We are a married gay couple who recently celebrated 33 years together as a committed couple, and this coming December we will celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary — two milestones that mean the world to us. Like many couples, gay and straight alike, we met in the workplace, fell in love and formed a life together. And, like other gay and straight couples, our lifetime together has included such joys as shared faith expression, homeownership, the raising of treasured pets and the growing of rich friendships. And, like any longtime married couple, we have known our share of life’s challenges — financial, professional and relational in nature; we have comforted each other through the illness and death of parents; we have agreed, disagreed and agreed to disagree around issues great and small in stature; and, sadly, we have stood together on numerous occasions as recipients of public belittling and derision in response to our very existence as a couple. Through it all, it was love that brought and held us together; and it is still that same abiding love that defines us today.
Now in our 60s, we often marvel as we look back upon the years and experiences that have comprised this life we are blessed to share as lovers, companions, faith siblings and, always and forever, the very best of friends. As legally recognized spouses, we are afforded the dignity of shared health care benefits, decision-making privileges in life-or-death situations, and other rights and recognitions that accompany the blessing of our marriage certificate.
We are grateful beyond words to God for bringing us together and uniting us in love in 1989, and to the Supreme Court of 2015 that declared our marriage fully legal throughout the United States. It is our fervent hope and prayer that, against frightening odds, marriages and loves like ours will remain protected from those whose misguided bigotry threatens to invalidate them with the casting of one hate-fueled vote.
— Mark and Sheldon Gruber-Lebowitz, Timonium
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