Marriage: More in Common than Different

Guest writer and straight ally Kate Kerkering of Madrona, WA, shares why marriage matters to her.

I’ve been married to my husband, Alex, for ten years. We have an eight year old son and a five year old daughter. For me, marriage became important when we thought about having kids and creating a family. I wanted to be married and to care for and protect my family. Being married also changed my relationship with my husband.

After we were married, I did feel different. Marriage felt more secure, permanent, recognized and respected. I remember a grocery store incident early in our marriage. I was looking for my husband and when a clerk asked if I needed help finding something, I said I was looking for my husband. It felt good to be able to use a well-defined term for our relationship that people understand.

I started thinking about marriage for same-sex couples about the time I was thinking about getting married. I have a good friend who is a lesbian and has been with her partner longer than me and my husband. I am friends with a lesbian couple, Jill and Karen, who have twins that go to school with my daughter. I’ve known Jill and Karen since the twins were babies. I look at them and what I see are wonderful parents who love each other. Why would anyone want to tell people like Jill and Karen that their relationship is not valid, when it works? Sexuality is just one aspect of a relationship and it doesn’t make sense to me that relationships are defined by it. The biggest difference between Jill and Karen and Alex and I is that their kids are the same age and ours are different ages!

We have way more in common than we have different.

One of the greatest things we have in common is concern for how our kids will learn as they grow up. I am not concerned about the day when my son asks me questions about homosexuality (a conversation that is going to happen regardless of whether marriage is legal for same-sex couples). Today we already have families with two dads or two moms. I am not concerned about how my children might respond to some of these moms or dads getting married. What I don’t want to have to explain to my kids is why two people who love each other can’t get married. This is where I falter, because I don’t actually have a great explanation. The rest of it, I can explain.

I don’t want my kids to be in a world where not everybody has the freedom to marry. I want them to be in a world where you love who you love. And your love is recognized and honored.

Visit Why Marriage Matters Washington’s website to learn more about how to start a conversation about the freedom to marry. To share you story, email Laurie Carlsson, Family Outreach Specialist.

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