Thursday, May 15, 2008


William Blackstone, at the time of the American Revolution, summarized the law as to marriage as follows: "Our laws consider marriage in no other light than as a civil contract. The holiness of the matrimonial state is left entirely to ecclesiastical law; the temporal courts do not have jurisdiction to consider unlawful marriages as a sin, but merely as a civil inconvenience. ... And, taking it in this civil light, the law treats it as it does all other contracts." 1 William Blackstone, Commentaries 421*

Based on the above, everyone who wants to say where in the constitution does it say gays can marry, I say "where in the constitution did the people relinquish to the government the traditional role of the church over marriage? The government is simply not empowered to regulate marriage beyond issues such as the capacity to consent, and age, within limits. In terms of original intent the Founding Fathers clearly knew of Blackstone’s then contemporary summaries of the common law of England.

So what is this entire debate about marriage? The funny thing is, I had already intended to speak to intimacy today anyway, and then this decision from California made it all that much easier to discuss the issue. I am learning in the last few weeks how much it hurts to have a friend who does not know how to give back intimacy.

I recently discovered that a good friend of mine cannot be intimate at any level. I am not talking sex. The idea of asking about my health or the health of anyone is something he cannot do. He cannot even inquire about the health of his parents. He is not a bad person. In fact he is one of the most remarkable men I know. But he never observed intimacy in his family and he does not now know how to demonstrate it.

The other day I heard 1 of 3 women cheat on their marriages. Every man I know in Brownsville under 70 is cheating on either their wife, or girl friend, save this one friend of mine. He knows he cannot feel intimacy, but he also knows sleeping around does not solve the problem. Most people just sleep around in hopes of filling that void which exists in their marriage. After years of trying , I can assure you sex with half the planet will not fill the void. The void is intimacy.

Marriage in its simplest form is a word which describes a relationship. I find it saddening when people say marriage is between a man and a women, because effectively they are saying marriage requires a penis and a vagina. For me only someone who has never been happy in a marriage can define marriage by a penis and a vagina. These body parts are the least interesting and relevant parts of the marriage.

I know of four long term marriages wherein the couples lived separate lives for years while still married and living in the same house. In the end the marriages lasted and overcame the hardship because they had intimacy and friendship. Friendship is more important than love. Love gets in the way of rational emotions. Friendship means letting them go long enough to come back on their own. I think that is what I am going to do with my friend. I’ve decided that if I cannot tell him the truth about his lack of intimacy in our friendship or with his girlfriend or anyone else, I am not much of a friend.

Intimacy occurs at many levels. In a marriage, yes, it includes sexual relations. But it also includes going camping or fishing or to a show and laughing together. It means holding hands and feeling like you have gone to heaven. For me the ultimate act of intimacy would be a man spooning with me and squeezing me and telling me he will keep me safe - and there is no penis involved. I would rather abstain from sex for the rest of my life than be in a relationship with a man or women who considers sex or my penis to be a key variable. I want that special feeling which comes from holding hands in public. It is so much better then empty sex.

It drives me nuts when I hear conservatives argue why the government should supplant the traditional role of the church and regulate marriage. If you are not going to arrest me for saying I am married to another man, then what is the point in banning gay marriage. If you are not going to arrest me for saying it, in very short order people hearing it is going to become so routine, no one will care anymore. It will become a norm.

A true conservative would argue the government should not sanction any marriage - period. I agree with that. The government does have an interest in protecting minors and the mentally infirm by regulating what constitutes consent. I will give you that. It is my position anyone who can find a church to marry them should be considered married. They should then file their church marriage certificate with the state if they want the benefits which come from marriage. If you choose not to be married in a church, then I would say you simply complete a partnership statement with the county at which point for purposes of benefits incident to marriage, you are married, and subject to the laws of the state for divorce.

So I am curious, who else finds using genitalia as the first criteria for defining marriage a perversion? Should marriage not be defined by some higher form of intimacy which does not focus on sex and genitalia? I will make you a deal - do not define my sense of marriage by your genitalia, and I will not judge you for defining marriage by genitalia instead of true intimacy.


Anonymous said...


You are so right.

Melissa Zamora said...


This is one of my favorite posts.


BobbyWC said...

Every time I read it I get something new out of it. I made the decision to let my friend go for now - it is not a complete break but we will probably go weeks without seeing each other or speaking with each other.

I can tell you, although this friend is straight and is in a good relationship with a woman, our non-sexual intimacy apparently was quite intense, although he could not express it - in a traditional sense.

After nearly 4 years of abstenence I can tell you I would rather live the rest of my life without sex, than without the intimacy I have with this friend.

I find it so sad so many people are married and have no knowledge of this non-sexual intimacy.

I hope we can overcome whatever has us needing to be apart for now - it is a pain I would not wish on anyone. Conversely, I wish I could confer on everyone the joy which comes from such an intense non-sexual intimacy.

What I love most about the relationship is it is 100% non-sexual - in the end what will save our friendship is we are friends first and foremost and our emotions are not clouded by some fairy tale sense of love.