Monday, March 29, 2010

Are Those My Civil Rights in Your Pocket...

This is a post I orginally wrote in May 2009. It was something that I felt needed to be said, and seeing as how this issue is still being fought in the courts right now, I wanted to repost.

Humor me for a moment, and let me paint a picture for you. Let’s imagine that we live in a world where everything is reversed, like Bizarro World. Superman is evil, women are the ones in power, and homosexual relationships are the norm. I know, crazy thoughts here! But, stay with me. Imagine that you are heterosexual and you’ve met the most wonderful person…of the opposite sex. The law and society tell you that your love is wrong, that it’s illegal. You have to hide your relationship for fear of being harassed or discriminated against. All around you, you see happy gay couples getting married, having kids, raising families, and living their lives freely. That’s what you want too, but you are continually told you can’t have it. It’s not legal. The church doesn’t recognize it because marriage should be between a man and a man or a woman and a woman. That doesn’t seem fair to you. You’re human. You feel you have the right to love whoever you want and have that love returned. Who are all these other people to tell you you can’t marry the person you love. Time passes and acceptance grows for heterosexual relationships. You are less likely to be harassed or discriminated against because of your sexuality, though you still have to be wary in some places. You are given some civil rights for your heterosexual relationship, but it's still treated differently, it’s still not seen as equal. And an extreme group of citizens is running around your state telling people that if we legalize heterosexual marriage, that civilization will come tumbling down around us! So, tell me, just how would you feel?

This is what I have to live with daily.

As happy as I am that Vermont and Iowa have legalized gay marriage, I’m still apprehensive about what will happen in California. Momentum seems to be swinging in the direction of making it legal for ALL people to marry, which is the way it should be. But I know there will always be opposition to gay marriage because there will always be people who don’t feel we are all indeed equal. I’ve heard the various religious arguments and I don’t agree with any of them. In fact, I tend to find them bigoted and irrational. Nevermind that before you can get married in a church, you have to obtain a CIVIL marriage license. Yes, marriage is first and foremost a civil act. You can get married without a church but you can’t legally get married, at least in California, without a civil license. So, cherrypick your bible passages all you want. I can find passages in the bible that support things we would find horrendous now. Like stoning your wife in public if she cheats on you. Or how about having multiple wives? Let’s just take religion out of this issue for a moment. Remember when it was illegal to have interracial marriages? How many of you think that would hold up in court today? But by saying that it’s not legal for gay people to marry, you are saying that we are not equal under the law. You are saying that we do not deserve the same rights as every other citizen in this country. Gee, that makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside.

You can disagree with the idea all you want, but don’t tell me, or any other gay person that wants to marry the person they love, that we can’t do it. The laws that were set forth by the men that founded this country were meant to be a guide for its citizens. As times change, as people change, the laws must also change. And don’t forget that as human beings, we are inherently flawed and shortsighted. If we don’t change with the times, if we don’t evolve, we die, as a society, as a species. I can hear some people out there shouting “But gay people can’t have kids together! If we let all the gays get married, people will stop reproducing!” I actually did hear that as an argument during the Prop 8 campaign. The people who believe that should not reproduce because they are clearly too ignorant to be here.

On the way to work this morning, I heard an interview with Marie Osmond. The host asked her what she thought about gay marriage and I was pleasantly surprised by her answer. She said that people should be able to marry whoever they want. Share a house, a life, kids, finances, with the person they love. We should not spread hatred and that God created all kinds of people for a reason and that we are all equally loved in his eyes. She said that we are all equal and everyone should have the same rights. Thank you, Marie, for being a compassionate and reasonable human being. I wish more people could see this issue as you do. I’ve heard arguments that in California, domestic partnership is “just as good” as marriage. Yes, it does allow many of the same rights as a heterosexual marriage, but it is not “just as good.” The medical benefits I get from my company for my partner are taxed as income. If we were a heterosexual couple, that would not be the case. So don’t stand there and tell me I should be “happy” with what the state so “considerately” offers me and my partner. I’ll be happy when we are afforded the same rights as every other person in this state. I’ll be happy when the country sees fit to make gay marriage legal, and those rights are not limited to just a few states. I’ll be satisfied when we can all come together as a country, as a society, and see that we are all equal and we all deserve the same rights.

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