Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Same-sex Equality

Credit: The White House
President Obama stated today that he favored same-sex marriages. And it was reported on widely. The president's position has been "evolving" for some time, so he says, but he was motivated to evolve faster than he thought after V.P. Biden announced their own acceptance of same-sex marriage inthe last several days.

So, the president has given high-level support to this controversial subject only months before an election. And while I worry that this may further weaken his re-election chances, I am glad that he has made this statement. Because if you're going to possibly go down, make it be because of clearly stated positions to issues that matter, that are meaningful. And that help determine the better definition of what our country stands for and should be about.

News reports I heard on the way home today said that the president's campaign team has calculated that the people who are against same-sex marriages aren't going to vote for him anyway. And so he won't be losing any potential voters. All the more reason, I guess to put his opinion out there and make it public and begin the debate and make the difference stand for something. Maybe this is a bit like Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln knew that his legalistic definition of who would be freed by this proclamation made no difference to the majority of slaves that lived inside and were held within the rebellious Confederacy. (By law and by fact of ongoing warfare, Lincoln's Proclamation had no reality over those individuals while the war was not yet won.) But it made the war mean MORE than simple rebellion or states rights. It made the debate widen to include the reality of enslavement in a more meaningful way.

So maybe Obama's and Biden's statements will make this important issue become something more than a political maneuver. Maybe it will become the beginning of a new chapter in the civil rights movement that tries to live up to the equal ideals that this country is supposed to uphold.

Because this IS a civil rights issue. Honest, loving people, who want to commit to each other have the right to the same sort of legal equality that I have with Lynda. And I don't get special treatment because I happen to be biologically and socially and culturally attracted to women. For me, that is no more in question than the fact that I walk with a hitch in my gait, that I have crooked teeth, or that I have double vision. It is simply who I am and who I have always been. The people that are attracted to their same gender aren't doing so out of rebellion, for why would so many people knowingly choose to live under the disadvantages and ridicule that our narrow-minded culture is placing upon them at this time? I believe they are simply built that way and so why must they be discriminated against?

I also don't think this is a religious issue. The Bible says many things that applied once upon a time but are less directly relevant to the culture that we live in today. I believe in a God that meets people where they are and wants them to live a better, more honest life in true community with others. God is not in the business of discriminating and I don't know the specifics of what God chooses to believe about each individual person.

As a matter of legislation, it is unfair to deny same-sex couples the rights that I have. They are not inherently worse than I am. They will NOT damage our society any more than the many "traditional" married couples that get divorces ever day. They are NOT significantly different than me.

Let them be.

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