11 May 2012

It's all been done

It seems North Carolinans and President Obama have raised quite the hullaballo about same-sex marriages again this week.

This is an issue I'm fairly opinionated about. So I've found myself talking and writing about it again this week. But ... there's just nothing new to say here, folks. It's all been done.

The President supports the right of gays to marry. You know what, that's actually kind of fantastic. But it doesn't change anything, especially not the minds of the people who oppose it.
And conservatives in North Carolina passed an all-but-redundant law declaring that only heterosexuals can marry in their state. Again, nothing much has changed.

It's deja vu all over again.

Here in California, we've been fighting against Prop. 8 - the ballot initiative to eliminate the right of same-sex couples to marry - since 2008. As someone in the apparent voting minority in my state, I feel for those 40 percent or so of compassionate minded North Carolina voters who opposed their state's amendment to institutionalize civil inequality.

But all these "new" headlines are really the same old story: People trying to impose their opinion on others to the point of stooping to create a second class of citizen.

Hell, when you get right down to it, North Carolina's new amendment and California's Prop 8 and other anti-gay marriage actions are all just eerily reminiscent of the same arguments that were put forward to argue against racial integration and inter-racial marriages - 50 years ago.

I'd have hoped we'd have evolved further than that by now.

Maybe I'm lazy or impatient or just plain tired of all the animosity, but, since the anti-gay marriage proponents don't seem to have any new arguments to put forth, I'm not going to waste time crafting new counter-points. Instead, I think I'll just recycle a bit ...

From Still Waiting, 28 October 2008

I still have yet to hear one - just ONE! - rational reason why Californians should pass Proposition 8 - which is an attempt to alter our State Constitution to define "marriage" as a "only between a man and woman".

The most basic premise of our State and Federal Constitutions - the very foundation of our whole Nation - is that ALL people are EQUAL under the law. How can anyone possibly reconcile that deeply held American value of equality with the intention and consequence of this Proposition?

Proposition 8 puts discrimination INTO our Constitution. It requires the government to treat it's citizens differently under the law. And that undermines the very foundation of equality and civil rights we ALL enjoy as Americans.

Whether you personally approve of homosexuality or not is irrelevant. The real question we are deciding is whether or not the Government can pick and chose which of its citizens may have certain civil rights and which may not.

Is that really a slope you want to start travelling down?

From Don't Divorce Us, 6 February, 2009 

I still don't understand why people want to control who other people love and marry. Or why they think they have the right to. I hope the courts will have the courage to correct this injustice. And I hope that more people will be able to grow their compassion and embrace equality.

From By Any Other Name 25 March 2009

Can we just give everybody in California a freakin' dictionary and move on? News Flash: The word "marriage" has more than one meaning. Let's make it simple:

Marriage: 1) A religious or spiritual union or rite, 2) A legal contract with set rights and responsibilities defined by law.

Religions of any kind are free and welcome to set any limits they see fit on Definition #1. But, in this country, no religion has any business trying to legislate Definition #2 to force others to live by their beliefs.

If you want to live in a theocracy, you might try Iran or Saudi Arabia. I'm sure those are lovely places to live. As long as you do and think and be exactly as the church/government believes you should.

From But I Don't Want To Go Among Mad People, 28 May 2009

Substitute "gays" for, say, "Catholics" or "women" or "blacks" or "left-handed". Now substitute "marriage" for "voting" or "driver's license" or "due process" or "free education".
Maybe then you will see how disturbing and wrong this precedent is.

Fundamental rights should not be up for popular vote. Ever. Equality means that everyone is treated equally under the law unless there is an overwhelming reason not to. As soon as we start carving out certain rights for some and not for others, we put all of our rights in danger.

One of the most basic premises of our legal system is that the rights of the minority are not subject to the whims of the majority.

How far down the rabbit hole do we need to fall before people realize that they are only hurting themselves by insisting on creating haves and have-nots?
Will you only realize the damage you have done when it is your rights on the chopping block?

"If everybody minded their own business,
the world would go around a great deal faster than it does."
~ The Duchess, Alice in Wonderland

From All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others, 11 January 2010

The rights set forth in our Constitution seem so simple; we sometimes take them for granted now. But, for our founding fathers, it was a paradigm-changing philosophy that set their fledgling constitutional republic apart as a nation of new ideals.

We have, as a nation, not always lived up to those ideals of equality. But we've been moving in the right direction - slowly but surely - throughout our history. Socially, each generation has learned to be just  a little more compassionate and tolerant than the last. Legally, the precedents over the last 200 years have been building a ladder toward that high-minded ideal set forth by our founding fathers so long ago.

And today, the Courts will hear a case that could throw us back down to the bottom rung.

If the "majority" of voters can decide that a whole class of people can be denied equal treatment under the law - in any form - then who or what will be next?


If you want a fresher opinion, you might check out Newark Mayor Cory Booker's excellent analysis of the subject:

You can also read Whit Honea's perspective over at Dadding. His is, as always, a compassionate and reasonable voice.

And then there's this sweet and simple sentiment from the very fun and funny Hannah Hart:

When news like North Carolina's new amendment drags my spirit down, people like these give me hope.