Sunday, March 31, 2013

Did You Think I wasn't paying Attention?

Warning: I am hopping up on my soapbox. No comments from trolls will be permitted, so don't waste your time.

Or maybe you thought I was living under a rock last week.

How else to explain my lack of posts on the topic you know is most dear to me. The topic that has made me, a life-long independent, into a single issue voter.

Same-sex marriage.

Or as I like to call it, marriage. Or marriage equality. Because my marriage license from Massachusetts looks like every other marriage license from Massachusetts.

So you can bet I was keenly aware that the U.S. Supreme Court was hearing two marriage equality cases this past week, one on Prop 8 and one on the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (seriously, is your marriage so fragile that my getting legally married destroyed it?).

The truth is, I am terrified.

I know rationally that they would be hard pressed to make things WORSE than they are. But I want them to be made better. I want to be certain my wife can inherit OUR home without paying inheritance taxes. That I can visit her in the hospital and make medical decisions if needed regardless of what state we are in. I want her to be able to bury me in the plots we have purchased without having to petition anyone to release my remains to her. I want my friends who have fallen in love with non-Americans to be able to petition for their spouse to become a citizen, just like my straight friends can now. I want all of the more than 1,100 rights and responsibilities that come with a federally recognized marriage so I can adequately protect my family.

And I want it now.

And frankly, I am tired of listening to the nay-sayers. "Think of the children." Yes, let's do. Forty five separate studies have found that children in loving two parent homes, regardless of the gender of those parents, do best. Not one has found anything detrimental from being raised by same-sex parents. And yes, some of these studies are recent, but some went on for decades. And let's think about the children in same-sex homes why don't we? Those same studies find that marriage provides a stability that is in the best interests of the children. Some 40,000 kids are being raised in same-sex homes in California alone. Don't those kids matter?

"But marriage is for procreation." Really? Do we do fertility tests before marriage? Are the infertile denied the right to marry?

"But marriage is a Judeo-Christian institution." Yes, and a Buddist, Muslim, American Indian, agnostic, and atheist one. Marriage is far older than any of our religions and we don't limit it to just Christians.

"My church will be forced to perform same-sex marriages." Wrong again. When I got married IN MY CHURCH (which recognizes my marriage...what about my freedom of religion?), there was a heterosexual couple who wanted to be married in the church. Except, they only wanted the trappings of a church wedding. They didn't actually want pre-marital counseling and such. And so my pastor refused to marry them. Because she wasn't required to marry them is they didn't meet the requirements of our faith. Just like synagogues are not required to marry Christians or Muslims and vice versa. So no, marriage equality won't mean you have to violate your precious bigotry.

"The country isn't ready for it." Since when is the country's readiness related to the constitutionality of an issue? When Loving v Virginia was decided, more than 76% of the country was opposed to interracial marriage (for the very same religious reasons that they now use to oppose marriage equality, by the way) and the court DID THE RIGHT THING ANYWAY. Because the Constitution protects the rights of the minority even when the majority doesn't like it. And for the record, the latest polls show that more than half the country supports marriage equality. The country is more "ready" for marriage equality than it was for interracial marriage.

"It will destroy traditional marriage." What tradition? Like being able to buy a wife for a goat and three cows? Being able to have a multiple wives and concubines? Like women being property (and being unalbe to own property)? Or husbands being able to legally rape their wives? Or maybe you didn't mean Biblical marriage. maybe you meant our more modern concepts of marriage. Like the races not being allowed to intermarry. Or like Brittany being able to get married and divorced in the space of a day. In fact, the danger to traditional marriage is not marriage equality  but divorce. And in states with marriage equality, divorce rates have GONE DOWN.

"I just think it is icky." Honestly, I think that is the bottom line. Some straight people don't get it. They think gays and lesbians have chosen something unnatural. But you know what? Homosexuality may be unnatural TO YOU, but heterosexuality is unnatural TO ME. You don't get to deny rights to people just because you don't like them. That is why we have a Constituion. We are not a theocracy. We are a republic. One where we are all entitled to be treated equally. One where our courts have already ruled that marriage is a fundamental right.

So no, I didn't miss it. I am certain my stomach will be in knots until June. When I hope that the Court will do the right thing. And even if they don't extend marriage equality to all 50 states, I pray they will extend the federal protections of marriage to all who are legally married. Like us.

Because that is the true defense of marriage.

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