This one is personal ... We were devastated to see that California's "Proposition 8" passed last week, thanks in large part to millions that the LDS (Mormon) Church funneled into advocating denying same sex couples the right to marry in California, even though it was decreed into law this past summer. This is just an expression of profound ignorance or downright hate, pure and simple. It's tantamount to supporting the hateful miscengenation laws on the books until the late 1960's, which forbade interracial marriages. According to these laws, our newly elected President Obama's parents had an invalid marriage (he was born in 1961). See Loving vs. Virginia.
For all the right wing blather about "protecting the sanctity of marriage," who are the true victims here? Not those heterosexual couples who have a 50/50 chance of their marriages surviving a potential divorce. This is about civil rights, pure and simple. Why should same sex couples be denied the rights (tax breaks, Social Security benefits, visitation or adoption rights, etc.) that heterosexual couples take for granted? There is no conceivable rationalization for this mindset, because there is no palpable effect on "traditional marriages" of legalizing and recognizing same sex marriages for such couples. Everybody would be a winner here if same sex marriages were recognized and afforded comparable benefits: gay people would most certainly want to divorce at times (hooray for the lawyers!), and just think about how much the churches and city halls would make in charging for marriages? This is hate. Pure and simple. First it was the Jews. Then it was Black folks, and now, since the 80's onward, we gay folk are the targets of hate. Once the extremist theocrats are done with us, who will be the next victims? This is bigotry and idiocy, pure and simple.
Here are the arguments I've used when discussing this issue with people over the years...
Fernymoss and I met and fell in love in 1997 and we've been together ever since. According to most statistics I've seen, the divorce rate among heterosexual couples outpaces the chances we should have had at staying together these past 11 years. Why can't we file our taxes as a married couple and get that benefit? Because we're not "legal" according to state and federal law. That's not Equal Rights, that's no rights.
If either of us decided to enter into a sham marriage with a woman, and then died three weeks later, that woman would be entitled to collect Social Security benefits that we have paid all our working lives. Where's the equality in that?
We can't share equally in health care benefits either. Neither of us is recognized legally by the other's insurance. We're considered "single" workers and cannot benefit from the other's coverage. And I won't even go into the legal complications about whether either of us could legally make life or death decisions about the other (e.g. "pulling the plug on extraordinary measures" even if that were perfectly clear between the two of us). The only option I see as us having is granting power of attorney for such rights to the other, and even that has been challenged in certain state courts. But it's the best we have in the current state of things legally.
And then there's the whole issue of general respect. As gay tax payers who have dutifully paid into funds all our lives that protect others over many years, why should we be denied the same benefits? I guess that, according to current laws, it's OK for us to subsidize benefits for divorced, married or common law marriages, but when it concerns responsible, tax paying gay "singles," we're out in the cold. And we should, I guess, just be happy about not being herded into prisons or concentration camps for the privilege of subsidizing those who are more "pure" than we are?
It's no wonder that spontaneous protests against Proposition H8 have sprung up over the country since last week. I suspect there will be many more before this all ends up in the courts. Good on them I say....
Please click on Keith Olbermann's Special Comment from Monday (above), because he makes a much better general case than I can against this idiocy. For us, its just too personal, and we're not going to get over it any time soon, no matter how the mainstream media covers this.
I'll back down from my soapbox now. But this is an important issue to us, and I hope readers will understand where I'm coming from on this issue. And thanks for reading, as always!