“I do, I do, I do believe in gay marriage” by Marie Cartier

I do believe in gay marriage. I mean fairies, I mean gay marriage. I’m a lesbian. I’m approaching my legal fourth year anniversary on October 29, 2012 with my wife. I’m voting for Obama for many reasons, and one of the strongest for me is that he is the only president who has “come out” in support of gay marriage.

An acquaintance recently said to me, “I don’t believe in gay marriage.” There is not a counter narrative to this in my vocabulary. I cannot say “I don’t believe in heterosexual marriage.” I can say I don’t support it—but even that is not true because my taxes do support a system which privileges partnering legally over not partnering. The metanarrative of religious discourse privileges belief statements. So when someone says “I don’t believe in gay marriage”—they are encasing my life in the world of theology where we cast our lot with belief or non-belief.  I’m Catholic—I believe in the Virgin Mary. I believe in the canon of saints. I don’t believe in Hell, however, or Purgatory. I’m not sure of my belief system regarding Heaven. As a New Age practitioner– among these practices are Wicca, yoga, martial arts, Western inspired meditation practice, psychic readings, etcetera– I feel empowered to question the belief systems of the Church, and even more so as a feminist.

picture by: Angela Brinskele

I don’t believe in gay marriage—I live it. Like the ad slogan regarding gay life, “For the last time, it’s not a life style, it’s a life.”  The discourse of belief belongs to the world of maybe or maybe not. Gay marriage, gay people, gay families and gay lives are here. We are not maybe/maybe not. This language of belief has been used by the hegemonic culture to enforce its position as the dominant paradigm. If I can not counter with an equally compelling statement of “belief” I am forced into the sub-narrative always subservient to the metanarrative. What would be strategically most effective is counter-narrative—I don’t support heterosexuals who use statements such as “I don’t believe in gay marriage.” Forcing the “belief” adherents to use non-support statements such as, “I don’t want to support gay marriage with tax dollars. I don’t support gay families having the same ability to create family through the ability to have tax breaks, legal adoptive ability, marriage rights across international borders, hospital privileges, etcetera,”  reveals the prejudice that the belief narrative cloaks.

For instance I was hospitalized for heat stroke. I had a horrible 45 minutes before the ambulance arrived. My wife, however, had a horrible day. Although we are legally married in California (right now gay people can still not marry in our state; we are part of the 18,000 couples married in the brief 2008 window) it is not usual or unusual that I had caring attendants who literally brought me back to life that day, being close to cardiac arrest, and that my wife was denied entrance to the emergency room for hours and had no idea of what was happening. In fact the last thing she heard was “She’s gone flat,” as I passed out in the arms of the EMTs. She was told she was a visitor. She kept trying to get the guy at the desk to clarify his position– which he would not do. Finally I was awake enough to sit up and I saw her outside and yelled for her.

Inside the emergency room they knew I was looking for my wife and didn’t think she was there, so when they realized that she was there, my nurse went and brought her in. The guy at the front desk apparently didn’t believe in gay marriage (even though it exists) and so didn’t see my wife in the person who was trying to explain to him, “I’m not a visitor. That’s my wife in there,” but he repeatedly said, “I told you; No visitors.”

picture by: Karen Renee

The purview of religious discourse is not in civil rights – especially for many of us who are on the receiving end of this hermeneutic of belief. This system rarely privileges those outside the metanarrative of hegemonic culture. I exist. I am gay. Women exist. Some do get abortions. Children exist. They often are in abusive families. Belief systems should be reserved for those ideas we question as factual. It is no accident gay people are called fairies and are then cast into the land of fiction. Exposing this metanarrative of belief exposes factual actual lived lives—as opposed to fairy lives in Neverland.

You don’t believe in gay marriage? I ask an acquaintance. So you don’t support my wife getting into the emergency room…and if I had died in the ER without holding her hand because we are not married in the country of the United States…you support that? Well, I didn’t say that, she says. Oh, yes you did. Belief narratives must be challenged for what they contain – a dialogue that shores up legal arguments and creates lives that actual people must live in, no matter what they believe, or more importantly –who they are.

Next time you hear or say, “I don’t believe in…” dialogue– challenge this discourse to a language of support or non-support–  for what exists must be believed.

If you don’t believe me–ask Peter and Wendy. They will tell you that if you didn’t believe in the fairies in Neverland – Tinker Bell would have died.

Marie Cartier is a teacher, poet, writer, healer, artist, and scholar. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of New Hampshire; an MA in English/Poetry from Colorado State University; an MFA in Theatre Arts (Playwriting) from UCLA; an MFA in Film and TV (Screenwriting) from UCLA; and an MFA in Visual Art (Painting/Sculpture) from Claremont Graduate University. She is also a first degree black belt in karate, Shorin-Ryu Shi-Do-Kan Kobayashi style. Ms. Cartier has a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University.

14 thoughts on ““I do, I do, I do believe in gay marriage” by Marie Cartier”

  1. Gay rights are human rights. Your narrative is so powerful. Now for the unasked question in the marriage debate. Why should any married couple who is not supporting minor children have a tax advantage over single people? Couples have an automatic financial advantage, They have someone to share the rent, mortgage, and other costs of living. I would love to have a lifelong partner. I do not. Why should my taxes be higher than those of married couples, straight or gay, who are not supporting minor children?


    1. Thank you for your comments Carol. I completely agree that question is unasked… And the system privileges heterosexual legal partnering. I’m also disturbed that when gay marriage is passed in states like Massachusetts it has wiped out domestic partner benefits which makes it harder for single people to create a family that has governmental benefits.


  2. I once met a college president who didn’t believe in psychology. There’s a big difference between believing in the existence of something and supporting or not supporting it. Almost any expression of love, including gay marriage, brings that much more love to the planet, and that’s a good thing.

    One tiny correction: Wicca is not a New Age practice. it’s an old religion. If you call Wiccans New Agers, they’re likely to yell at you. But both Wicca and the New Age are great borrowers, and it’s true, they often borrow ideas and practices from each other.


    1. Completely agreed Barbara with your comment on wicca. I came into wiccan practice in the late seventies as part of coming into the second wave of feminism. So I tend to think of my practice in feminist spirituality as also part of the new age. But you are absolutely right, wicca is and always will be the world’s oldest religion.


  3. Thank you for this beautifully written and straight-for-the-jugular post! I so often feel when engaging in conversation with people who do not “believe” in marriage equality that i’m grappling with a paradigm – and the shift from “believing” or “not believing” in marriage equality is perceived as a belief/lack of belief in G-d. As though by supporting marriage equality, i’m truly dishonoring a key tenant to (their definition of) Christianity. Ultimately, i feel like the rhetoric around same-sex marriage has to first delineate between civic and religious ideas of marriage. You spouse having access to you in the emergency room should not be denied by a “religious belief” but instead should be protected under the law. I, of course, support a faith-based movement for same-sex marriage but i worry that tying the two causes – civic and religious equality – together in the legislative rhetoric blurs the line between separation of religious institutions and state.


    1. Agreed. But I feel the language of religious discourse is too powerful to leave with the comment that we should separate church and state. Because it has not happened. In California the only reason prop.8 was able to pass was because of the mass funding received from the Mormon and Catholic Church …so I do believe in gay marriage. And it’s problematic that right now marriage is defined as the only way to create family. Thank you so much for your comments… I so appreciate the dialogue.


  4. Thank you Marie for sharing truth. One of the sayings I hear is: hate the sin but love the sinner.Growing up the tolerated hate (sins) were alcoholism, drugs, fornication and adultery. Later that (sin) hated list expanded to include abortion and adultery. However when it come to lesbian/gay/transgenered it went from (tolerated) sin to straight out condemnation. My response, either you love me or you don’t!


    1. great comments…thank you for joining the discussion!..btw, there is a great book you might be interested in: *love the sin: sexual regulation and the limits of religious tolerance* by ann pellegrini and janet jakobsen


Please familiarize yourself with our Comment Policy before posting.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: