”When I was first asked by the Denver Women’s Chorus to compose a piece about same-sex marriage, I was intending to create a relatively simple choral work. You know, your basic hold-hands-and-sway kind of piece: We wana be married, la… la… la… Please let us get married, la… la… la…
But as I began exploring the subject of marriage – its humanity, and its legal, social, and political aspects, I realized there was a much greater story to tell. This choral work would have to be so much more.
The arguments against same-sex marriage are shallow and don’t hold up to scrutiny. Many people forget that there are two kinds of marriage – religious and civil. When it comes to same-sex marriage, no one is attempting to tell any religion what to do. But – (memo to self): civil marriage is a legal matter decided by the state. During my research, I came across so many moving pictures of same-sex couples, ordinary people who have committed their lives to one another. And same-sex moms and same-sex dads with their beautiful children. It became clear to me that visuals would also have to be part of the story, because when you look into the faces of people who truly love one another, there can be no denial. Love is… and these families… are.
Opponents often portray the same-sex family as an abstract idea – a new and radical proposal that is being forced upon America! They act as if same-sex families don’t yet exist. But the 2000 census shows us there are nearly 3 million children presently being raised in same-sex households. And kids are pretty simple about the politics of marriage – they bond with the folks who love and care for them. That’s it! So when we object to same-sex marriage, we do these children a tremendous disservice. Their rights and legal protections are compromised because we’ve decided not to recognize their particular family.
A few months ago, I wrote a personal check to the United States Treasury for my 2005 taxes. As I signed the check, I realized that April 15th is the one day out of the whole year when I am treated the same as every other American. But after the check has cleared, what kind of American do I become? Like it or not, the Constitution extends its glorious promise to everyone. And as America approaches its 230th birthday, the meaning of this promise lies precariously in our hands. As we attempt to foster democracy in other nations, what example do we hold up for them to emulate?
It is my hope that We the People will encourage listeners to consider these questions. It is also my hope that it will open their eyes to the many faces that define a family, whether that be a family of two – or an entire nation bound by a singular promise.”