23 October 2012

Define Marriage

I've seen many a post on a many a social network discussing propositions that will soon be voted upon.

Given the diverse groups of people I mingle with on these social networks, I've seen the extremes of both sides and the smattering of those in the middle.

I've seen the "let them have their rights, just don't call it marriage" posts.

I've seen the "my relationship is just as valid as yours" posts.

I've seen the "how does one marriage demean or lessen another marriage if they have nothing to do with each other" posts.

And for the most part, I just keep quiet.  I recognize that some people like to get into discussions or debates or dramatic conversations, depending on who you ask.  I am not one of those people.  That doesn't mean that I don't feel strongly about this issue, and that I don't have the urge to jump right in and start throwing verbal punches like everyone else, defending myself and people I consider my friends.

But I've really been thinking about this "define / redefine" marriage idea.

For one, I don't think you can define marriage in the simple terms of who it consists of.  You can put a man and a woman together and have them get married.  That doesn't mean they have a marriage.  They have a contract between them to stay together.  And they have all the rights and privileges that come as part of that contract.

But a marriage...well, I would say that a marriage is something more.

There are many elements that define a marriage.  Love.  Trust.  Companionship.  Sacrifice.  Respect.  Laughter.  Compromise.  A not-to-be-taken-lightly sort of undertaking.

To name a few.

Would any of those qualities be lacking in a same-sex marriage?

Well, I know a few same-sex couples who are married.  They exemplify these qualities and more, and have stronger marriages than some straight couples that I know.  And why is that?

I would say that the components of a marriage are the same, whether it's John and Jane that get married, Jane and Mary that get married, or John and Joe that get married.  If a couple enters into a marriage with the belief that it is a sacred union, with the intent to give themselves to each other whole-heartedly, with the understanding that they are committing to a life together, then the qualities that make a marriage will be there.  No one is trying to redefine that.

There are just some of us that would like the opportunity to have that commitment recognized and upheld in the same way as some of you other people out there.

Redefining who gets to have a marriage doesn't necessarily mean that we redefine marriage.  When taken seriously, marriage would stay the same.

For those of us who come from an LDS background, marriage is the ultimate gauge of adult success.  It's the top prize.  And we are taught to prepare for it, to seek it, and to protect it when it finally becomes yours.

I'm not trying to take that away from you.  I congratulate you on your temple marriage and your commitment to your lives together.  And I'm glad that you are happy.

What I don't understand though is how Mitchell and Brayden's marriage in any way makes your commitment to your spouse less of a commitment.  How does Ella and Sarah's marriage make your marriage weaker?  How does Michael and Dustin's marriage lessen the trust you have in your spouse, the love you have for your spouse, or the sense of companionship between you and your spouse?

Because if it does, I would argue that you don't have a marriage to begin with.  You have a contractual arrangement that might need a little work.

Oh, and of course, you still have the rights that come with marriage.  You don't have to worry about not being able to see your spouse if they happen to be seriously injured in a car accident.  You get to make any needed medical decisions in the event that your spouse is incapacitated.  And if they die, you get to access to their social security and life insurance.  If it was an accident that was their fault, your conversations can be protected through spousal privilege should any legal action happen.  You don't have to worry about any of that, which might be nice, since you're so worried about how Ella and Sarah's marriage makes yours less special.

Kind of a nice contract, yes?

Just my two cents.

16 October 2012

Electoral Bookmark

This is not really a blogpost...yet.

This is me thinking "out loud," so to speak.

I was reading an article online about a woman in the Army who was killed in action.  She was legally married but her wife is not getting recognized as a legal spouse.

I was reading another article online about the upcoming election season and the four states that have marriage equality on the ballot.  The opponents of marriage equality are tossing around phrases like "you can be anti-marriage equality and not be anti-gay" and "everyone has the right to respect but no one has the right to redefine marriage."

And I've been thinking.

I don't live in a state that has marriage equality on the ballot.  If that day ever comes in my lifetime, I think I will probably expect the Second Coming of Jesus Christ to occur the very next day.

But I want to discuss marriage.  I want to discuss definitions.  I want to talk about why somebody had the right to define marriage in the first place, at least in terms of government, and why that definition is apparently set in stone.

See, up until recently, I've had a lot of people tell me who I am supposed to be and which path I'm supposed to follow and just what is politically good and right in this country and in this world.  And I think I'm pretty much over it.  So I know that nothing will come from what I think and what I write and what I put out there.  But I'm going to do it anyway...

...as soon as I formulate what I want to say.

Consider this a bookmark.  The rest of the chapter is still being written.

10 October 2012


Confidence is not one of my strengths.  I am the first person to doubt myself, the first to be surprised when things go well or I do a good job, and the first to underplay any sort of accomplishment I might actually acknowledge.  Ask anyone who knows me and they'll agree.

There are plenty of times when I almost talk myself out of doing something because I'm afraid, or because I think I'm not up to the task, not good enough for the task, or even because I'm afraid I might actually do well.  Is that crazy?  I get afraid that I'll succeed.

I've been noticing this a lot with school lately.  I am a double major in Accounting and Aviation Management.  I would love to fly, but it's not possible right now.  Have you ever looked into flying lessons?  That stuff is EXPENSIVE, not to mention that tuition is expensive enough.  But I love airplanes.  I love looking up in the sky and watching an airplane carve out a path, wondering where it's coming from and where it's going.  I love the sounds.  I love the sights.  I love being on a airplane.  And I really really really want to be a part of that industry, in whatever way I can.

So when I go to my aviation classes, they're really difficult.  And here's why: the flight operation majors outnumber the management majors.  From what I can tell, the majority of aviation students are flight ops majors.  Duh.  Flying is awesome.  But that also means that most of my aviation classes are geared towards the student with flight knowledge.  For those of us who have none of that flying experience stuff, it gets a little tricky.  And for me, I get discouraged.

I discovered that I enjoy and have a knack for accounting.  So I added that major last year.  I thought about changing my major to Accounting and making Aviation Management my minor, but I really want to take those classes and learn more, even though it's difficult.  Sometimes I think I'm crazy.  But then this little determined part of me speaks up and says, "no way is anyone going to tell me I can't do what I want to do."

No, I don't do well with the confidence, but when I find that determined part of me, I go with it.  Don't question it when it shows up.

I've also been trying to get more involved at campus.  I'm a senior this year but I've got just about two years left before I graduate (hurray for class of 2014!).  At my school, networking and perfecting your resume are things I hear about almost daily.  So I'm looking to build my resume and find opportunities to network with professionals (and if you are such a professional, wanna be part of my network?).

But again, I get scared.

So yesterday, when I was on campus and waiting for the time to head over to the Alumni House for a meeting, and planning to attend a meeting in the student union building right after that, I was trying to encourage myself rather than let my insecurities talk me out of doing things that will help me later.  And yes, as I'm sitting in my car, the thought came to me more than once that "maybe I won't go."

As part of me trying to psych myself up, I took to Twitter...because social networking can be surprisingly supportive.  And here's what I said:

"Sometimes I just want to stay in my own little world.  But I know there's a bigger world out there.  And if I keep myself from it, I could be stopping myself from doing something awesome.  So I make myself get out there and interact.  Not easy.  But I can make it happen."

Just as people make a difference in your life, you have the opportunity to go out there and make a difference to someone else.  If you hide from that, you might be hiding from someone who really needs you to be there for them in some form or another.  Where would I be without the people who got out of bed in the morning and put themselves out there, not knowing that they would make a difference in my life?  Well...I don't know, but I'd rather not think about it.

Sure, I have days where I feel like nothing I do matters, and that I can't make a mark on this big old world, and I don't have what it takes to do something amazing.  But every now and then, I have that determined moment, where I grit my teeth and believe that I can do something great, I can be someone great, and I can be more than I think I can.

I have greatness inside of me.  So do you.