Chakra Discussions

Mundane marriage, gay marriage

by Gaurachandra dasi

Posted October 22, 2004

One would never guess my sister and I were both born from the same parents. My sister, younger than I, has all she desires in material life, but she lacks honor and integrity on all fronts. Materially have I practically nothing and feel the utmost duty, honor, and commitment towards spiritual life, as a devotee of Krsna.

I watched my non-devotee sister go through her divorce with her husband. I know men, and I will tell you, my ex-brother-in-law is a good man. What foolishness to cast aside such a precious jewel. My sister will never know what she lost due to her own selfishness. Even years after the divorce, my mind has not changed; Joe is still the most wonderful father to his girls and the most decent man I have yet to meet on this planet in terms of duty. My nieces have been blessed with such a good dad.

My values are different from my sister; what I desire most in this lifetime is bhakti. I do not know if Prabhupada would approve or disapprove of my lesbian relationship. What I do know is that Prabhupada is so much a part of our lives, a part of my family, that I could never just leave and neglect my duties. That was not, is not, and will never be an option.

I require no yajna before the Deities or devotees. The sacrifice is not in a ritual; the sacrifice comes years later in everyday life. I have made a vow to Sri Krsna in my heart that, by whatever means possible, I will try, to the ultimate sacrifice, to ensure the spiritual safety of both my partner and her son. I will not accept any entrance into Vaikuntha until they have entered before me.

This is marriage. Marriage is not a concession for sex life. Marriage is an obligation to ensure the journey Back Home to Godhead for all family members. For any husband, any wife, any parent or any child, this is purification -- to lay down one's own very life, even liberation, for the safety and well being of their dependants.

No man or woman should even consider marriage or sex life without fully understanding all the implications involved. Back in my asrama days they were trying to train us ladies in grhastha life. I paid close attention to that training and suggest that everybody else take this seriously. They were training me to marry a man, but I used that training for my lady partner.

As a devotee of Krsna, and having taken birth due to past karmic activities as a soul in a lesbian body, I am prepared to take up the challenge and willing to allow Yamaraja the final judgment of my sinfulness.

My partner is a good woman. I refuse to follow in my sister's heterosexual footsteps.

Think being gay is about sex life? enjoyment? Whoa. . . . you have not seen so-called enjoyment yet.

I believe there is a mistake in Pandu das's and Jyotirmaya das's perception. Although I personally require no approval from the community of devotees to undertake this huge devotional service, having legal or civil rights is materially also my duty.

My partner has a chronic illness; the likelihood of her leaving her body before me is great. If I cannot prepare her, who will? She would never survive a winter in New England; our jobs are here; we cannot leave. Her son is in a specialized school; we cannot uproot him either.

I ask any man in our Hare Krsna movement to hold your wife in severe pain and illness, her fever so high that you yourself cannot stand the heat, her limp lifeless body overcome by exhaustion. Hold that body and feel no responsibility -- what kind of man is that?

I can go and marry her for legal or civil purposes in either Massachusetts or Vermont. However, we do not live in those states. In our state, those legal documents mean nothing. I have a steady corporate job with lush medical insurance, yet I am forbidden to include her on my very costly plan. To give an example, my employer and I both put out each month more funds then I pay for our home mortgage in an upper-class suburb.

If we were to live anywhere else for our spiritual advancement it would be Florida, and I would certainly support a healthy, functional day gurukula for boys. I could maintain such a school, if the funds I must currently spend on healthcare for my family (since my health insurance will not cover it) could be used as a tax write-off. Yet with Republicans and relatives of President Bush in office both statewide and federally, there is little chance of any rights for our family.

If gay marriage were legal, I could include her and her son on my policy. That is all I ask of our government: ensure the health of my family. I will pay top dollar, any price; just please take care of my dependents.

I cannot take her to India for treatments -- INS issues. She is not yet a citizen of the USA and would likely be detained or deported upon re-entry -- another legal issue. If a civil union were allowed by law, she would be able to claim citizenship by marriage and we could go to India for treatments and re-enter without problems.

I am not allowed by law to pay cash for her medical treatments. I have all the cash in the world to ensure her physical comfort in order to make spiritual advancement possible. Yet no doctor will treat her; it's the law. I am forbidden to pay cash for one who is already receiving Medicaid.

Oh yeah, it's political now. . . . My family's welfare depends upon my political involvement. That is my duty. Anger? I have plenty of it. Not directed at devotees, but at the law and civil rights.

What cash has been accepted for my partner's medical treatments (before she was accepted onto the Medicaid program) has now reached tens of thousands of dollars. I remind Jyotirmaya das and Pandu das that I cannot claim these payments on my income tax returns. According to the law, they are not my dependents. According to my understanding of Krsna consciousness, however, they are most certainly my dependants, absolutely.

Being gay is not all about sex. Ever tried having sex with a person in physical pain? I have had to overcome my sex desire, minimize sex desire and struggle with all the same attachments every householder goes through. It is not about enjoyment any longer; it becomes about integrity.

My partner is a gift, a precious jewel given to me by our most merciful Lord. Sri Krsna used sex attraction originally, to bring about advancement and purification for me and a chance at spiritual life for her. What a magnificent lady she is.

It's one of those cute sankirtan stories: How I was agitated at temple management living as a brahmacarini; then I met her over a Sri Isopanishad on the street. She fell head over heels infatuated with my so-called spiritual knowledge of the Absolute Truth.

I came home from a gruesome day at work one day, so tired of this material family life, missing my days of renunciation. My partner had stayed home, sick in bed that day. I went in to check on her asleep; the television was just a blue screen. When I ejected the video tape inside, I found an Abhay Charan video. All glories To Srila Prabhupada. . . . While I was absent, she took shelter of Prabhupada. This is my devotional service.