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In Support of Gay Marriage (By Elizabeth Burke) May 27, 2009

Posted by Suzanne Robinson in politics.
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To quote The Princess Bride, “Mawwage is what bwings us together today.”  Now if you have never seen this movie, drop everything and rent/download/steal and watch it. You will thank me. Or watch this part:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sbqv3MwwVd8. But, back to mawwage, or marriage, if you will.  

The majority of Americans claim that they have nothing against homosexuals, they just don’t want them to get married. See, according an unnamed source, that privilege is reserved for “one man and one woman.” The reasoning is that this most sacred of sacraments, this gift bestowed by God, is not something that should be shared with the gay population. The “Protectors of Marriage” claim that this has been ordained in the Bible… like slavery and the selling of daughters.

Now, if you ask these Marriage Protectors, they’ll all tell you that they are in favor of equal rights for homosexuals that extend to the same rights in housing and jobs. Gays should have equal access to government benefits. Gays are entitled to equal protection of the law – but only to an extent.  Because when you ask about the most personal right, the right to get married, their definition of “rights” gets a little inconsistent.

They reason that if we let homosexuals get married, well where does it end?  Next thing, we will have to allow Beastiality! Bigamy! Incest! Marrying Children! And, of course, adding Gay Marriage to the Grade School curriculum! 

In reality, gay marriage has been legal in Scandinavian countries for many years, and, yet, they have introduced no other type of marriage legalization outside one human marrying one human, nor has their been a clamor for it.

The argument that gay marriage will de-value straight marriage falls flat when one sees that the values gay couples exhibit in their daily lives are indistinguishable from those of their straight neighbors. They are devoted, monagomous partners. They value and participate in family life, are committed to making their neighborhoods safer and better places to live, and honor and abide by the law. Many make valuable contributions to their communities, serving on school boards, attending houses of worship, volunteering in charities, and trying to be good citizens.  In doing so, they take full advantage of their  familial relationships not only to make their own lives better, but those of their neighbors as well.

But it is the hypocrisy of the Marriage Minders that makes me the angriest. The incredibly irrational reasoning that granting gay couples the right to marry will somehow destroy marriage is so ridiculous that I find it difficult to accept these people really believe this nonsense.

Straight couples have had centuries to bring marriage to its knees.  We now have double-digit divorce rates, quickie, sometimes meaningless, sometimes multiple weddings in Reno and Las Vegas.  How is getting married in a drive-thru window or by an aging Elvis impersonator honoring this sacrament?  How is marriage as a hobby healthy?

I have a good friend “Mary,” and I really adore her, but she has now been married five times.  And she is 40 years old.  FIVE TIMES!  Explain to me how it’s absolutely acceptable for her to marry every few years while another couple I know, “Joe” and “Bill,” who have been together for over 20 years and who are raising three children, are told they will destroy the fabric of society if they dare to commit legally.

Now, the Marriage Wardens like to bring God into the equation.  But marriage is not a legal contract with with God.  It is a legal contract with the State.  You don’t go to the church when seeking a divorce.  You have to hire legal representation and petition the State to grant you a dissolution of the Marriage Contract.  Besides, God is subjective and does not exist for everyone.  Freedom of religion also means freedom from religion.  Are all the marriages by a Judge or Justice of the Peace any less valid because they were not conducted in a house of worship?  Religion is purely personal, and marriage is legal.  So let’s please leave your particular God out of this.

When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money. Exodus 21:20-21

According to the Bible, beat your slave, just don’t kill him.

Over the millenia the Bible has been used to defend bloody crusades and tragic inquisitions; to support slavery, apartheid, and segregation; to persecute Jews and other non-Christian people of faith; to support Hitler’s Third Reich and the Holocaust; to oppose medical science, and in some cases, science in general; to condemn interracial marriage; to execute women as witches; and to support the violent racial devisiveness of the Ku Klux Klan. Shakespeare said it this way: “Even the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.” When you pick and choose what verses you want to use to bolster your anti gay argument, you lose credibility.

The favored argument seems to be that Marriage is between one man and one woman. Who says what marriage is and by whom it is to be defined? Straight people?  Isn’t that kind of like allowing a banker to decide who is going to own the money stored in his vaults?

It is said that the majority of Americans are against Same Sex Marriage.  Since when can the “majority of Americans” be trusted to do the right thing?

Marriage between mixed races was illegal in the US until Loving v. Virginia, 1967, the landmark Civil Rights case in which the United States Supreme Court declared Virginia‘s anti-miscegenation statute, the “Racial Integrity Act of 1924“, unconstitutional, ending all race-based legal restrictions on marriage in the United States. This happened while the majority of Americans were still against mixed-race marriage.

This struggle for equality is the claasic struggle for all Americans, a Civil Rights struggle.

This struggle separates who can make medical decisions for loved ones, turning over life-and-death decisions estranged distant family members over lifetime partners.  Upon death, in many cases, even very carefully drawn wills and durable powers of attorney have proven to not be enough if a family wishes to challenge a will, overturn a custody decision, exclude the surviving partner from a funeral or deny them the right to visit a partner’s hospital bed or grave.

As survivors, estranged families can, in nearly all states, seize real estate property that a gay couple may have been buying together for many years, quickly sell it, and stick the surviving partner with all the remaining mortgage obligations on a property that partner no longer owns.

As for civil unions – beyond the comedy of asking the one you love “Will you civil union me?” they do not offer the legal protections of marriage. A civil union granted in Vermont carries no legal status outside of Vermont. A civil union does not extend outside the state where the Civil Union took place – with the limited exceptions of DC and New York.  Further, the federal government does not recognize civil unions – couples so joined are not be able to file joint-tax returns nor are eligible for tax breaks or protections the government affords to married couples.  A married United States citizen can sponsor his or her non-American spouse for immigration into this country.  Those with civil unions have no such privilege.  And company health benefits are not always available to the “civil unioned.”

Honoring civil unions creates a separate and unequal status for some of America’s citizens. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial court ruled that creating a separate class for gay and lesbian citizens is not permissible, and that is why they have voted that only marriage equals marriage.

The precedent set with Brown v. The Board of Education regarding segregation in public education arrived at its 50th anniversary when Massaachusetts passed its ruling honoring gay marriage, driving home the point that the United States Constitution guarantees equality for all.

This is the document we all can agree on. You can’t claim “partial” equality, it’s all or nothing.

A citizen’s fundamental rights should not be subject to referendums or popular approval.  If that were the case, President Obama would still be sitting in the back of the bus, unable to vote.

It is time for New York State to join Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont New Hampshire and Maine in standing up for the rights of all its citizens.

Last month, the New York State Assembly passed the Landmark Marriage Equality Bill.  In just a few weeks, it is up for a vote in the State Senate.  Please, look into your hearts, see how marriage for all will benefit the community and state as a whole.  See how creating happy families, secure children, and loving homes can only make society stronger, happier and richer in every way.

For more information on how to contact your New York State Senator, please go to http://www.broadwayimpact.com/ and make that call, send that email, and help get this Bill passed. Your gay child will thank you.

  

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Comments»

1. brookelliottbuettner - May 28, 2009

Nice, timely analysis– again! from Liz Burke.

2. Damian Corboy - May 30, 2009

The always insightful Liz Burke saying what so many others WISH they could say. And the ‘Princess Bride’ references are great too!

3. shatunovaddict - June 8, 2009

Love it. I couldn’t agree more with this. I’m 19 years old, and I’ve been an avid gay marriage/gay rights supporter since I was 13, much to the horror of my very religious grandmother!

4. cdean - July 1, 2009

I don’t even know you, so my thoughts probably aren’t worth much on this, buuuuut….

I’m a Christian and have spent years trying to figure out where I stand on homosexuality in general, and, more recently, gay marriage. I’m still not entirely sure, but for me at least, it’s come down to that as humans, we should love and care for each other.

As far as gay marriage goes, I do believe that ‘marriage’ is a union between a man, a woman and God. I believe that ‘marriage,’ in the sense of the ceremony, should perhaps be only (‘only’ used loosely) that – a religious celebration for those with Christian beliefs. But when it comes to two people, man and woman, man and man or woman and woman, who want to spend their lives together, sans the religious aspect, that should be done legally, through the government. To that end, benefits (legal rights, taxation, et cetera) should be the same for any couple, regardless of gender, and their union should be equally recognized throughout the US.

In my mind, the right way for marriage/union to be handled would have all couples, regardless of sex, having a civil union, with the option of a more traditional ‘marriage’ ceremony. I suppose we have that, to an end…it’s just that the ‘union’ part of it is generally called ‘marriage.’ In some ways, perhaps, it comes down to semantics. We need to do away with those, because if there were a more defined difference between a ‘union’ and a ‘marriage,’ I think our country would take a huge step in the direction of embracing the equality we claim to love but so often do not actually show with our laws and treatment of others.

I hope what I’ve been clear enough about what I’m trying to say (I’m still sort of figuring out my thoughts on this, plus I’m tired), and that you can see this as something worth considering. I am all about equality, and I [mostly] think there should be separation of the church and state, which is why I’ve taken this stance.

5. cdean - July 1, 2009

Oh, P.S. should you want to reply to me, you might try my personal blog at cdean.wordpress.com. While posting this, I forgot that the link that will be left with my name here takes you to a more specific site I kind of manage, but that isn’t as directly related to me as, well, my own blog. Thanks! 🙂

6. Elizabeth Burke - July 16, 2009

Thanks Cdean! I appreciate your thoughtful comments! I have so much respect for your ability to look beyond your personal beliefs to try and understand this very important issue.

Your comment: “…but for me at least, it’s come down to that as humans, we should love and care for each other.” really gets at the crux of this issue. It is essentially about love and families.

I think the word Marriage is not owned by any one group, but should be offered to anyone brave enough to want a lifelong commitment to each other. To be seen as equal to everyone else. I like your idea of the legal and contractual aspect of marriage be done legally, through the government. Because it is a legal contract above all else.

However, the church and God belong to everyone, not just “straight people.” Many in the gay community are very religious and attend church regularly. They sing in choirs, take part in the ecumenical aspects and when ready to marry, wish to express their love and commitment to God in their place of worship.

The irony is that I am straight, divorced and never attend church! 🙂 I struggle with my belief in God, yet got married in a Catholic church.

To many gay couples, a legal document and a civil ceremony in a government bureaucrat’s office just won’t mean as much. Anyone who has had to sit in an ugly office to fill out a marriage license can attest to the JP’s office less than ideal place for a wedding. They want to be given the right to have the same beautiful church/synagogue/etc. wedding I had. I want that for them.

I would love to see a day when the word ‘marriage’ is not segregated and is applied to all those who wish to chose a lifelong partner, raise a family, and create a loving environment for those in thier lives. That is what I truly don’t understand. It’s really no one’s business who marries who! Marriage isn’t a right, it’s a gift that too many times has been used to hammer those with whom we disagree.

When we have people like Gov Sanford, who is against gay marriage (and gays) cheat on his wife, well, that makes me sad. And it’s Dems, Republicans, Conservatives, they all don’t do much to prove how they are protecting marriage! 🙂

My gay friends – single, married, Civil Unioned, those with kids and those who plan on families – they all are hard working, tax paying, military serving, active parts of their communities, and I love them all. I just want for them the same ability to walk down the aisle with family, friends, kids, like I did. I only hope they do a better job than I did! 

So I am really happy to have a smart Christian actually open your heart to this makes me feel so much better about this country. Thank you so much!!

I’ll also go to your blog and re-post!


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