I got teary-eyed twice yesterday.
The first time was from sadness. It breaks my heart to see North Carolina, a state I called home for years, the state where my wife and I were married in our church ten years ago, and a place which was on my short list of places to retire to, enshrined discrimination against me into the state constitution.
The second time was from joy. Joy at finally seeing the President of the United States say he supports my right to be married. To say that he believes I should be treated equally, be able to visit my wife in the hospital, make medical decisions for her should she not be able, claim her body should she die before me so I can bury her as she wanted, or leave our house and my pension and social security to her should I die before her. Joy at seeing him say, without equivocation, “I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”
We still disagree on one point. He still thinks this is an issue for the states, and I do not. The states no longer get to decide whether or not to recognize interracial marriages. The Supreme Court in Loving v Virginia ruled that marriage is a civil right that cannot be denied just because some people find it is distasteful. Because if you don’t believe in interracial marriage, don’t marry someone of another race. And if you don’t believe in gay marriage, don’t marry someone of the same sex. (and don’t hand me that line about churches being forced to marry gay people because it isn’t true…I witnessed my own church refuse to marry a straight couple because that couple did not want to meet the church’s requirement of pre-marital counseling. And while I know it is a religious issue for some, it is for me as well. My church recognizes my marriage.)
What I find really stunning, and telling, is that the arguments used against gay marriage (or as I like to call it, marriage) are the same arguments used against interracial marriage, the first of which is that Americans “aren’t ready.” And yet, when Loving v Virginia declared laws against interracial marriage unconstitutional, more than 70% of the population opposed interracial marriage (in fact, when I voted in the late 80s to remove this unconstitutional provision from the SC constitution, nearly 30% were still opposed to it…we did what was right anyway). The latest polls show that 52% of Americans support the right of gays and lesbians to marry. So it is time to do what is right.
Let’s play a little game. I am going see if you can guess whether the argument was used against interracial marriage or same-sex marriage. I will put the answers below…no cheating!
1. These marriages run counter to God’s plan.
2. These marriages are “unnatural.”
3. The people entering into these marriages are from “the dregs of society.”
4. Allowing these marriages will open the door to incestuous marriages or polygamy.
5. These people already have a right to marry.
6. These marriages would be disastrous for society.
7. These marriages cannot produce children.
8. These marriages would degrade traditional marriage.
9. These marriages would cause a higher incidence of disease.
10. These marriages would harm the children.
So what do you think? Can you tell which arguments were used against same-sex marriage and which were used against interracial marriage? I’ll put the answers in the comments. Don’t cheat!