I volunteer at Casa de los Nieos. When I arrived last week, I found a few kids playing with board games in the television area. After an exciting round of Don't Spill the Beans (which I quickly did spill), one boy moved on to another childhood favorite, C onnect Four.
This particular game showed a cheesy 1980s picture of a boy and girl in the heat of battle. The two seemed overjoyed at the opportunity to compete, as evidenced by their goofy smiles.
The boy was fascinated by the pair on the cover and expounded upon his profound, five-year-old interpretation of the photograph. He told us that only one boy and one girl could play the game because the cover had to be followed exactly. When asked whether he could play with another boy or if two girls could play, he scoffed at our stupidity. Obviously, there had to be one male and one female.
While this was only one little boy and one minor game of Connect Four, the thoughts expressed by that boy hit hard. One boy, one girl, no more.
His words sent a shiver down my spine. It made me recall a national controversy that had recently been discussed in the Wildcat.
The Senate passed the Defense of Marriage Act on Sept. 10, and President Clinton has stated that he will sign it into law. Under this act, states are not forced to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Individual states may still legaliz e gay marriage, but the federal government is under no responsibility to acknowledge those marriages. I do not know that I have ever been more disappointed with the President or the Senate.
In my attempt to understand the logic of this bill, I tried to remain impartial. I re-examined my thoughts on marriage, tried to define what it is that marriage entails in our society. No matter how much I tried to be impartial, I could not escape the fa ct that this bill is wrong.
How do I define marriage? I would say that marriage is a spiritual union between two people, a cosmic connection which draws two individuals together for love. If this is the case, homosexual marriage cannot be wrong or immoral. If two individuals love ea ch other, they should be together, no matter their gender.
This Defense of Marriage Act is a legal obstacle to homosexual marriage, however, not a spiritual one. This act does not say that God will strike vengeance upon gays for their heinous crimes; rather it states that our country will not recognize a legal co ntract between two homosexuals. It tells these couples that they cannot receive tax breaks from the federal government by claiming their spouses as dependents, not that they are going to hell for the sin of sodomy. With this in mind, I need to re-evaluat e my definition of marriage.
Marriage now seems to be a legal institution which should not be dealt with as a spiritual bond but as a corporation. This corporation needs to file its paperwork with the federal government in order to claim business expenses. Under this definition of ma rriage, there exists nothing more than a contract. None of us could be satisfied by this definition, as it ignores the driving force behind marriage.
With this dissatisfaction in mind, I am again trying to see the logic in not allowing homosexuals to love each other officially and legally. Maybe hospitals need an excuse to not allow homosexual partners as visitors, since they do not constitute part of the family. Maybe apartment landlords need an excuse to keep gay couples out of their buildings. Maybe the federal government needs a legal excuse to deny gay rights. Or maybe we are dancing around the issue.
The true debate is one of morality. Our insidiously Puritanical society is trying to dictate morality, to tell us that gay marriages are wrong and should not be recognized as important. Well, homosexuals are real people with real feelings. We cannot trivi alize their emotions because our society wants to stand at the pulpit and preach.
Jamie Kanter is a Spanish and psychology junior. His column, 'On the Flip Side,' appears Wednesday.