I'm not an activist. Let's get that out of the way right now. I don't march in parades, there's no rainbow bumper sticker on my car, and I don't go to political rallies. Having said that, understand that I do believe in full and equal rights for everyone. But I'm going to lay aside my normal apathy toward the "gay agenda" and take a moment to voice my opinion on the whole gay marriage thing.
As a gay man living in America, I've grown up with the understanding that I am less than a fully protected citizen of this country. Until the US Supreme Court struck down the sodomy laws in Texas (along with every other state with similar laws), I lived in a state where my private sexual activity was illegal despite the fact that it harmed no one and took place between consenting adults. And that's only one example.
What about hospital visitation rights for a loved one who is ill? What about making health care decisions for a partner who was no longer able to make them? What about a whole list of rights denied me simply because I'm not heterosexual?
If we are all truly equal under the law, then we are all equal and this is a moot point. Alas, we are not all equal under the law — at least not yet.
I cannot expect white heterosexual males to understand what this is like. Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, homosexuals, Arabs, women, and other select groups will have a much easier time comprehending this point of view. We have, after all, been raised in a society where we were clearly never equal.
So I have been thrilled to see much court action of late specifically targeted at removing this discrimination from our law books.
Then President Bush opens his mouth and dispenses a most disheartening announcement: a constitutional amendment would be the only way to "prevent the meaning of marriage from changing forever."
He also said, "Unless action is taken, we can expect more arbitrary court decisions, more litigation, more defiance of the law by local officials — all of which adds to uncertainty."
How Pat Robertson of you, Dubya.
The right-wing conspiracy to create a perfect society is more than Nazi-esque. But the Democrats have nothing to say in this matter given their perpetual lies to gays just to get votes.
Look at Clinton and the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Gay men and women have been serving in the armed forces for as long as the armed forces have been in existence, and thus far it has not forced the downfall of our society. After all the promises of equality, the Democrats could only give us more inequality.
Both John Edwards and John Kerry, hoping to be the Democratic presidential candidate, seemed to waver on their support for gay rights as the issue of gay marriage became more heated.
With all the political pandering on this topic, I have yet to hear a valid, cogent and consistent argument against gay marriage that doesn't rely on either a religion that not all of us actually believe in or on sheer bigotry.
Bush's inference that gay marriage would mean the downfall of civilization as we know it is as offensive as it is laughable. Edwards' and Kerry's backpedaling from the topic is typical Democratic deceitfulness and spinelessness. Typically disingenuous politicians I say.
Why not simply extend the right to marriage to same sex couples? Then everyone has the same rights and nobody need feel excluded.
It's impossible for me to put into words what I truly think about the constitutional amendment idea. It would be the first time in history that we have added discrimination to the Constitution — a document that at its heart is designed to ensure equality under the law.
The chances of an amendment being fully ratified are slim to none. How can you modify the Constitution in such a way so as to spit in its face? It does promise equal protection under the law, so any such amendment would be a direct contradiction and violation of that guarantee.
And why is gay marriage such an issue in the first place? Does it interfere with heterosexual marriages? Does it cause harm to someone? Does it truly mean the downfall of civilization?
The honest truth is that anti-miscegenation laws were on the books until 1967 when the US Supreme Court struck them down. Those laws made it illegal for people of different races to marry.
As with all discriminatory laws, they are based on bigotry and ignorance. With the anti-miscegenation laws, we believed different races were separated by more than just color differences — we believed they were separate kinds of people who could not biologically mix genetic material without creating some kind of monstrous offspring. We also believed that mixing races would lead to the downfall of our society.
Despite the fact that there are still people in this country who believe that way, the majority of us have long since realized how truly ignorant and discriminatory those laws were.
Once they were struck down, society began to realize they were wrong, so the mindset behind them began to fade from popular culture. You can only find support for them now by looking in the most ass-backward places (usually with no electricity, running water, or educational facilities).
The same can be said about any attempt to legalize anti-gay marriage discrimination. This is truer with a constitutional amendment in that we are attempting to use the document which protects all of us to do harm to a very specific group of people.
What kind of society do we want for our children when we are trying to teach them to hate, to discriminate, to treat those who are different as unequal and unprotected?
We are telling them that those who are different are not even human as they do not deserve basic human rights or protections.
Hitler would be proud.