Vinson: Hiding in the closet

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As of this writing, "gay marriage" is being argued in the U.S. Supreme Court, in Washington, D.C., with many Tennesseans in attendance. Current Tennessee law upholds a marriage consisting of one woman and one man. However, Tennessee law does not recognize same-sex marriage.

According to reports, U.S. Supreme Court Justices have "sharply questioned" both sides of the case. Ultimately, the Supreme Court will consider and make a decision on two issues: whether states must license gay marriages and, also, whether states must recognize gay marriages licensed out of state.

As reported in the April 29 edition of "The Tennessean" (page 9A), here are a few of the questions U.S. Justices must ask and answer in reaching a decision:
*Why to change a definition of marriage that has been accepted for "millennia"?
*Whether the court or the voters should decide the issue of gay marriage?
*How, as some states had claimed, allowing gay marriage hurts heterosexual marriage?
*Whether banning gay marriage was discrimination based on sex?
*What other types of marriage could be allowed, such as polygamy, if the court redefines marriage?

Most will agree the above questions are relevant and appropriate. However, at the epicenter of this gay marriage debate--for advocates, adversaries, and lawmakers, alike--is "family dynamics," which translates to: Would children raised by a lesbian female couple or a gay male couple have as good a chance at becoming healthy, productive citizens as would children raised by a traditional heterosexual couple, a man and a woman?

One could argue a potentially athletic male would have a greater chance turning out feminine if raised by a lesbian couple. Still, a potentially feminine female might have a greater chance at turning out masculine if raised by a gay male couple...and the arguments are exponential.

All this hype about the pros and cons of gay marriage forces me to recall my days as an active duty soldier in the U.S. Army (many decades ago). Back in those days, if a male soldier, regardless his ability and potential, displayed even the least bit of femininity, he was immediately pounced on by superiors and, in most cases, run out of the Army. On the flipside, though, if a masculine lesbian soldier--"butch" being the derogatory term--could compete with the regular male soldiers, she was accepted as "one of the guys," to pun a bit. In all brutal honesty, I think a primary reason behind the lesbian soldiers being readily accepted was many of their male superiors "fantasized" about a having a tryst with the lesbian soldier and her female partner.

We all have heard the term "coming out of the closet." Decades ago, when our society was much more conservative, gays tended to hide their sexuality from the public--kept it in the "closet." Well, concerning the current gay marriage issue, I am convinced a majority of Tennesseans, both politicians and everyday citizens, are "hiding in the closet" in terms of publicly expressing their true thoughts on gay marriage in Tennessee.
For example, U.S. Representative Jim Cooper (D-TN) made this comment on same-sex marriage: "This is a historic day, and I'm confident that equality for all will prevail." Well, I would label that statement "sticking his head out of closet" long enough to be seen, then quickly retracting it back inside!

Here's my personal take on same-sex marriage: I am convinced same sex marriage is not the prescribed Order of Nature. How so? Two females cannot reproduce. Two males cannot reproduce. If same-sex-marriage were the norm, mankind would cease to exist.

On the other hand, if two healthy, responsible, well-intended people of the same sex truly love each other, and want to raise a child, have a family, who am I to impede their pursuit of happiness?

As I heard one man say, "There's lot of good gay people out there, and a bunch of sorry straight ones!"

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Mike Vinson
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