Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Thoughts on Minnesota Marriage

The "impressive clergyman" in the movie "The Princess Bride" put it best when he said "Marwiage is what bwings us togewer ... today!" The irony is, that now more than a decade into the twenty-first century, marriage and all the issues that surround it, are exactly what some folks feel is tearing America apart.

But first… let’s recap.

In the past 9 years there have been dizzying advances in Marriage equality, It started with Massachusetts back in 2004, then San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsome opened the floodgates on this issue when he began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples in February that same year.
More than 18,000 couples got married between February 12 and March 11, 2004, before the courts stepped in an put a halt to it. 

This eventually led to the passage of and fight against, California Proposition 8. Leading up to the  Perry Case to have it tossed out as Unconstitutional . 

Fast forward to 2013.
Yesterday Minnesota became the 12th state to legalize marriage equality. Joining 11 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing same-sex marriage, meaning that about 18 percent of the population of the United States has the option to marry regardless of gender.    So let’s see... none of those 11 states have slid into the sea, burst in hell fire and brimstone, it hasn't rained frogs or locusts and as far as I can tell not one heterosexual marriage has been “destroyed” by any same sex couple getting married.

Kind of makes you wonder what all the fuss is about?

Like many people, when I hear the pundits of talk radio and cable news say that same sex marriage is a “redefinition of marriage." I have to laugh. By that standard interracial marriages was a redefinition. Doing away with polygamy was a redefinition. Not treating women as property was a redefinition. None of these self-proclaimed defenders of marriage would ever tolerate what is the true definition of “traditional marriage

Saying that letting two people of the same gender get married would in any way "redefine" the marriages of heterosexuals, is the same thing as saying that equal rights for racial minorities would "redefine" being white. That argument is a smoke screen and a scare tactic, and not even the real issue, so spare me the stale talking point. It doesn't hold up to even basic fact checking. 

And spare me the tired fear mongering rhetoric that allowing same sex marriage will lead to polygamy, bestiality, pedophile marriages, sunspots and tooth decay. The has ONLY ever been about two and ONLY two consenting adults of no direct family relation. Find me the person who truly wants to marry their dog, and find me the dog who is over 18 years old, and can sign a marriage application and clearly say the words “I do”. 

 If Shaggy and Scooby show up in a Las Vegas chapel, I might take this argument seriously, but otherwise it just makes you look desperate and stupid.

Next we have the idea that opposing Marriage Equality is "defending the very fabric of society." How is the fact that two legal adults of no direct family relation being allowed to live in a stable, monogamous legally protected and, I might add, legally binding relationship in ANY way a threat to society? How is anyone's marriage harmed or even threatened by this? It isn't. You know that, I know that, everyone knows that 

Opponents of Marriage Equality had their day in court where they were asked to prove that marriages of heterosexuals would change if same sex couples were allowed to marry, and they couldn't produce even one shred of evidence to support the claim. So they fall back on “Its about Children!” The insane notion that allowing same sex couples to marry is “denying children a Mother and a Father”. Again, where that truly the case older and infertile couples should also be denied the right to Marry, and divorce should be illegal.

Funny you don’t see Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh banging on that drum….

Then we have the argument that we have to let people vote on whether or not a minority gets equal rights. Well by that logic we would still have slavery. If in 1860 you had put emancipation to a popular vote, it would have failed. If in 1960 you had but integration to a popular vote it would have failed. For that matter if in 1776 you had put independence to a popular vote it would have failed. We are a democratic republic, we elect our government officials to enact laws on our behalf. The idea that the majority gets to vote on the rights of a minority is the most Un-American concept ever. 

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So what is the real issue here? It's the truth. Or the lack of it, in this debate over marriage. First we need to say to those who claim we need to "defend marriage." Fine, let's talk about divorce then. Let's talk about adultery, let's talk about illegitimacy. If opponents to gay marriage are serious about defending this sacred institution, then divorce, a far greater threat to marriage, needs to be much harder to get. Adultery, a far greater threat to marriage needs to punishable by criminal prosecution. Fines and perhaps even jail time. Anyone who makes a child out of wedlock should then by law be forced to marry the other parent. Or if they are already married legally adopt the child.

Strom Thurmond has never been so lucky to be dead.

Any one who says they  want to "defend marriage" and does not support the provisions I just listed, are not interested in marriage. They just don’t like Gays and Lesbians, and want to deny them equal treatment under the law. Nothing more. Now let’s be clear, as an American you have the RIGHT to dislike anyone you want. You don’t have approve of same sex marriage. If you don’t want gay marriage, it's pretty simple,   don’t get gay-married. 

Yet the same United States Constitution that protects the right to hate who you want to hate, also protects MY right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And the courts have ruled that my rights do not in any way infringe on yours, that means you don’t get to infringe on mine. Yet many on the cultural and political Right in the United States can’t seem to grasp this basic truth of our democracy, and continue to put forward the idea that equal rights for all Americans is somehow an attack on them.

It is time that we call these self-proclaimed defenders of marriage what they are. There is no difference between those who say marriage is sacred and must be defended against "gay attack", and those who said racial integration was a threat to America. Wearing a cross necklace and going on TV to say Gays and Lesbians are unfit to raise children is no different from wearing a white hood, and standing in front of a burning cross and saying "the darkies are coming for your daughters."

Saying America must be defended against a radical gay agenda, saying books like “Heather has Two Mommies” are dangerous, saying the media is controlled by a gay Mafia. This is no different from those who 70 years ago posted signs saying "Germans wake up! Don't buy from Jews!”.

Government saying an entire group of people are a threat to families, government saying who can and cannot get married or raise children, is no different from a Senator waving around a list of names of people who he wanted to government to say couldn't teach, make movies, write books, or work in science, medicine or law.

Attempts to legally create second class citizens are not new. We have seem them before. They had different names though. The inquisition, Jim Crow, “States Rights”, Reich Racial Purity Laws, the blacklist. It is time we call the people who are trying to do  this again, but to gays and lesbians what they really are. They are the inquisitors, they are the brown shirts of Krystalnacht, they are the Klansmen of Mississippi burning, they are the dogs on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they are Joe McArthy's committee. They are an affront to everything our nation has ever stood for.

They are the American Taliban. A small group of even smaller minds, who would seek to take religious beliefs and codify them into civil law, then force them on everyone else. They are completely un-American, and yesterday the great state of Minnesota joined the growing number of places in the United States that have soundly rejected them. 

To people of Minnesota, I say congratulations. To the Dobson’s, Fisher’s, Bachman’s and Brown’s of the world, I say welcome to the 21rst Century, how sad it must be to see your particular brand of snake oil isn’t selling anymore.

1 comment:

Gill "Biki" Honko said...

BRAVO!!! Your words reflect what I've been thinking for years about bigotry and hate the right has been spewing about LBGT folks.

The bigots are entering their twilight years I do believe. I sure hope that the supreme court does a better job of writing their brief, or we will be fighting this in the courts for the next 40 years as the abortion rights people have been forced to do.