He was gay. He married me.
It was 1985. At the time it seemed the only choice he had for marriage and a family. We didn’t live happily ever after. He died and these are some thoughts about him, us, our marriage I wrote on the anniversary of his death earlier this year.
April 9th. The day David died. In 1987. AIDs. Images and ideas and thoughts about our 18 month marriage have passed through my brain of late as the “debate” about Gay Marriage swirls around me in this time when words, spoken, written and images surround us. Media stream.
Being Gay, Gay marriage – issues of today.
I wonder if sociologists or those who make such judgments will point to those years of my marriage, the mid to late 80’s as a turning point in the “discussion” of Gayness. In my memory it seems being Gay certainly got into the news, the conversation, or whatever they call it more during that time then it had before.
That attention then wasn’t about same sex marriage, or gay couple adoption. It was because they were dying. They were dying a horrible death hateful voices claimed this new terrifying deadly disease was taking out the Gay men as God’s judgement upon their “lifestyle”. Countless lives lost, millions suffering have shown the lie of those comments.
I hate this “debate”. I hate the politics of this “issue”. I hate that others who speak the name of Jesus Christ use the words of Scripture so hatefully to be so condemnatory, so cruel, so hateful. Hating the “sin” loving the sinner makes no sense to me and I have never seen anything like that from Jesus in my travels through the Gospels. And this stuff about homosexuality being a sin, I don’t get.
I don’t “get” the world at all now. My daughter writes about asexuality, has friends who prefer pronouns of them, they, their instead of the gender specific ones. All around me I see her generation refusing to recognize the divisions, the categories, the expressions of the world in which I grew up. Gay, Straight, Lesbian, Bisexual, transsexual, asexual, transgendered. These are the words they use to describe who they are. And it is so different then what I have known. I see in her face how much I don’t understand what she knows about her world and the people and their relationships within it.
Gay marriage was legislated against by the “defense of marriage” acts and I really do not understand how the marriage of men with women is threatened by that of men with men, women with women. I feel the fear in the air. The fear of change. The fear that if those who love another of their gender comes out of the closet where it has lived in secret from the beginning of humanity then it will become contagious. Indeed it is true there are more openly gay/lesbians everywhere but there is a whole lot of openly sexual relationships happening in general. My fear is that we who have been created for Love have turned the physical sensation of sex into something casual instead of that most intimate of connections between hearts. My daughter thinks I am an old crank when I go on about the sex scenes and language I see everywhere. And so I probably am.
But this day it is not about the debate, the issues, the talk, the labels. Today it is about one man and one woman. David Bernard Parker, Jr. husband of Linda Ann Tyler Parker died 28 years ago. David died of AIDS. Technically bisexual, David was probably really Gay but only he could answer that question. We married because we loved each other. I think. It is hard to understand. All I know is that we both wanted a cool wedding and a life with kids and we both worked for churches because we loved Jesus and wanted to serve Jesus to the best of our abilities.
So many other issues of course were at play in our marriage. But today is about his death. He died during “must see TV” on NBC in our apartment. I watched him die. He drifted off, quietly. A few days before with the help of the minister from his childhood he made his “peace” with family members, friends and Jesus. Those were moments of shining Love and no one can tell me that this man who was incredibly talented musically and loved Jesus was not embraced by the One who made him and knew him. The only Hell this man ever knew was trying to fit the mold he simply was not made for.
On April 9, 1987 David died. On April 9, 1987 the marriage he and I had undertaken with celebration and friends and hope on October 12, 1985 died. He was 29. I was 28 and a widow.
I don’t know the right answer in the midst of all this debate. I only know my life, and my marriage to one man. How different it would all have been if he could have been free to live and love as he knew he had been created. How different if his desire of family, marriage, love and serving his Creator, Redeemer, God could have been more open, honest, true to who he really was.