Same sex marriage: It’s about tolerance and equality [Archives:2004/754/Opinion]

July 12 2004

By Christoph Lombardo
[email protected]
For the Yemen Times

As a gay man living in Yemen, I read with come concern Paul Kokoski's commentary printed on 24 June entitled “The Fallacy of Same Sex Unions.”
Mr. Kokoski wrote a lot in his commentary about morality and the nature of sexual orientation, most of which seems to reflect his own personal feelings and a rationalization of what appears to be his personal prejudice on the subject. But what Mr. Kokoski does not mention is that gay people do not chose to be gay any more than heterosexuals choose to be heterosexual. I think by now we all agree that one is born straight, gay or bisexual, and that one does not choose one's sexual orientation anymore than one chooses one's gender or race. Assuming we are all creatures of God, is it not therefore God that made us the way we are – be it heterosexual or homosexual?
Apart from tolerance and equality (something sorely lacking in most countries including the United States), same sex unions ) or same sex marriage if you wish to call it that ) is also about equal rights under the law, including the right to inherit property, to make communal decisions, spousal benefits, family reunification and the right to other legal privileges (and responsibilities) married couples have and take for granted. These are the things gay people are struggling for through marriage or civil union, and one day, like other minorities before us I am certain we shall attain it.
Mr. Kokoski shows his true colors when he states that “sexual orientation does not constitute a quality comparable to race, ethnicity, gender or age in respect to non-discrimination.” Given the fact that we are all creatures of God with attributes given to us by Him, on what basis does Mr. Kokoski therefore make such a statement ) his religion, sense or personal propriety, self-righteousness or just plain bigotry?
I thank the Yemen Times for printing this rebuttal, especially given the cultural norms of some of its readers that may run contrary to my comments above.