Kathleen Parker

Following the gay marriage debate - and now the Massachusetts court ruling legalizing gay marriage - feels like being lost in a house of mirrors. Everywhere you turn, there's a dead end, a wall, a shattering of logic, a splintering of instinct.

On the one hand, it seems obvious that marriage is between a man and a woman - the basic biological unit, society's foundation, civilization's keystone. On the other, what's wrong with allowing people of the same sex to live together under the same civil protections permitted heterosexual couples?

The questions are further complicated by the fact that most of us know and/or love someone who is gay. We have gay children, gay friends, gay uncles and cousins. Some have gay fathers and lesbian mothers. Who wants to deny them respect and happiness?

And so we sit back quietly and watch the reordering of society for fear of hurting a loved one's feelings or offending a co-worker or losing the affection of entire blocks of people.

I figure I'm a fairly typical middle-of-the-road heterosexual married woman when I say: I love gays and, well, the whole gay thing. I love all my gay friends and relatives, not to mention my hairdresser; I love what gays do to urban neighborhoods; I love gay humor, gay style and whatshisname in "My Best Friend's Wedding."

I was what we used to call a "fag hag" when you could still use the term affectionately without fear of offending - before most of today's gays were out of diapers (changed most likely by a mom or a dad, not by Heather's two mommies or Douggie's two daddies). Thanks to my very best friendship with my gay first cousin, I've had many a gay time as a token belle in the heart of San Francisco's Castro district.

In other words, no one who knows me would call me a homophobe.

Nevertheless, I do not worship gayness, and I'm certain that society needn't be restructured in order to accommodate even my loveliest gay friends.

Leaving God out of the equation, it is irrefutable that Nature had a well-ordered design. Male plus female equals offspring. It is a certainty that male/male and female/female unions don't meet Nature's standard. They may occur "naturally" in that one does not consciously elect to Be Gay, but such unions fall short of any design that matches Nature's intentions. It also seems clear that our moral codes and institutions were created primarily to protect that design in the interest of the species and civilization.

Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker is a syndicated columnist with the Washington Post Writers Group.
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