Love Is A Many Gendered Thing

Dedicated To The Memory Of Matthew Shepard

As legislatures and church groups scramble to prevent same-sex marriages from becoming legal in states across our nation, I feel the need to offer a few relevant thoughts.

First off, politicians may be able to legislate marriage but they can never legislate love. As a popular song once said, love is a many splendored thing. No matter if it’s the love of a man for a woman, a woman for a woman or a man for a man. Love, like rain, is no less pure because it falls upon one gender or another. It’s not same-sex marriages that deny the essential nature of love, but those who would tell the rain where it can and cannot fall.

Who has the authority to sit in judgment of the human heart? Surely not a politician. Who among us stands so high they can look down and decide when love is right or when two lovers are wrong in their pursuit or expression of love? Certainly not a legislature or a church.

How solid is moral ground when it denies one group of consenting adults the rights so indifferently offered to the lowest life forms in our society? Are our political leaders concerned that convicted murderers, rapists and pedophiles have the right to marry? Or that foreigners can use marriage as a backdoor pass into our country? But in their rush to protect the sanctity of marriage they would lock out gays and lesbians as if an alternative sexual orientation were the ultimate threat to the fabric of society.

Of what are they so afraid they would rather protect the status quo than the rights of fellow citizens? Why do they isolate and negate those whose only crime is to ask that their love be sanctioned on an equal basis to everyone else’s? A civil right so overdue and wrongly denied, its advent must ultimately prove unstoppable.

And now these politicians use the very state constitutions that protect their rights to squelch the rights of a minority to marry and live among us as equals. If only these deluded moralists could see their actions are driven by the same fears and impulses that led to the brutal and tragic murder of 21 year old Matthew Shepard. No doubt, it is far less extreme to withhold rights from a minority than it is to take the life of a young man, but they are both links in the same chain of ignorance and blind prejudice.

So enough of this foolish and hurtful attempt to hold back the tide. It is time our political leaders stopped resisting change and began guiding us through it. Time that all citizens were afforded the right to marry—as well as love—whomever they wish. For love is a many splendored thing, no matter the age, religion, race or gender of those lucky enough to find it.

As Shakespeare might well have said, let us not to the marriage of two hearts admit impediments.

Or politicians.

From “How To Train A Rock”, a collection of Short Insights And Fiction Flights by Paul Steven Stone. “How To Train A Rock” is scheduled for publication April, 2009. Watch for its availability on and