Writing for Rights  

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I’m actually not a huge proponent of marriage in general. Partner benefits, family health benefits and legal recognition -- Yes. Marriage as a normative cultural institution with the white dress and bells -- No. I feel strongly that marriage has become more of a religious and/or commercial institution than a civil one, which makes me extremely uncomfortable. Also, I personally do not feel that I need a ceremony to prove (and prove to whom?) that I am in love with someone. That said, I am not wholesale against marriage nor should my personal feelings reflect on what other people choose to do with their lives and in their relationships. I may not be keen on marriage myself, but I would never presume to impose my views on other people.

What I fail to understand is how anyone can make an argument against same-sex marriage on any grounds, religious or otherwise. I think the moralizing "traditional marriage" argument is ridiculous and wrong wrong wrong, but at least I've grown accustomed to the fact that when it comes to some religious institutions people don't seem to have any qualms about saying they're better or more worthy than other people. If you don't have the false judgmental security of "God on your side" (whatever that means), what is your excuse? Everyone should be outraged by this blatant discrimination, because that is what it is. And it scares me that so many people don't see it that way. It may seem like not that big a deal. It is just marriage, who cares? But if you claim you're against same-sex marriage for any reason, no matter how you rationalize it, you're really just saying that you think LGBTQ people are less than, that they don't deserve the same rights as everyone else. And we all know where that line of thinking leads.

First they came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me.

~Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945

Unless you think, as some people do, that equality is a Un-American , I find it hard to even wrap my mind around the outright discrimination implicit in denying same-sex couples the right to marry. Even more mind-boggling? The lying and coercion perpetrated by those opposed to gay marriage. You can bet your hat that if the "liberal elite" were trying to deny, I don't know, say, right-wing conservatives the right to marry each other, there would be an outcry of discrimination to beat the band. And rightfully so. Nevertheless, apparently, in the eyes of some, only certain (straight) people are equal in the eyes of the law.

California's a Proposition 8 (which would make same-sex marriage illegal) and Florida's Amendment 2(which would not only legally define marriage as between a man and woman, but also disenfranchise unmarried couples whether homosexual or heterosexual) are discriminatory and hateful. Why are these votes in California and Florida so important when we don't even live there? Because every statewide opposition to same-sex marriage is another blow to LGBTQ freedoms and rights across the country.

It does not matter if you're straight, gay, bisexual, or asexual. It does not matter if you never plan to get married, if you are hoping to get married one day in a big church with all the frills or if you married years ago at City Hall. We should all cry out in outrage against laws that seek to discriminate against a group of people, regardless of if they affect us personally or not.

"Your silence will not protect you." ~ Audre Lorde

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