I'M AGAINST GAY MARRIAGE
OR, AT LEAST, I WAS
Until Bush Started Scapegoating Gays
That's un-American. We don't have pogroms or purges, kristallnachts or concentration camps. We don't single people out for the way they were born. We don't pick on people. We don't attack smaller, weaker, less popular groups or individuals. We don't pass laws to isolate and discriminate against them. At least, we didn't. Before Bush.
OK, we're hardly pure. What I've said only applies to what we want to be, not what we have been. That's the real difference between the forces of good and evil in this country, going all the way back to colonial times. The bad guys like to pretend we've always been perfect, and blameless; that we've never done anything wrong, and couldn't.
The good guys admit we've made mistakes, and done some bad things; but that we must learn from them, and do better, in the future. The bad guys mouth our sacred words, like freedom and liberty, while desecrating them with their actions. The good guys try to act in a way that makes our sacred words real.
The only possible excuse, explanation or expiation for slavery and racism, for the long campaign of extermination against the American Indian, the second-class citizenship of Hispanics and Asians; for the way immigrants and minorities and poor, powerless people have been used and abused; for the historical inequities towards women; is that we have learned from our mistakes and we're trying to do better: That we want to incorporate all these people into our society, and fully empower them within the body politic, to make ourselves into the nation we have always wanted, and claimed to be.
So, to suddenly round on this committment, and begin openly persecuting a minority among us is a violation of everything this nation is supposed to stand for. It is a betrayal of all who have sacrificed for our freedom. And it is a return to our darkest hours, an affirmation of the evil they represented, and an abnegation of all the good we've done to make up for past injustices.
This isn't just about gays, or gay marriage, or marriage itself. This is about raising prejudice and inequity to the level of the Law of the Land. Amending the Constitution to specifically limit the rights or one group among us has NEVER been done before. It is worse than a step backwards: It is a change of direction, a movement away from what America stands for. It is a betrayal of our most basic principles.
I was against gay marriage on logical and linguistic grounds. It just seemed absurd to me for a man to refer to another man as his husband, or wife. Or, for a woman to refer to another woman as her wife or husband. I've always been opposed to efforts to warp reality by means of linguistics. It just doesn't work, and it ruins lots of good words.
Calling a fool an idiot, or a moron, or a retard, or mentally handicapped, or intellectually challenged, doesn't change the reality, nor people's attitudes. It's an obvious subterfuge, and people see right through it. They use the new, "nicer" terms to mean the same old nasty things. To a lot of people, "gay" is just as perjorative as "fag" or "dyke." And, we've lost the term gay, for which there is no other term.
So, that was my rationale for opposing gay marriage. Nobody ever really asked my opinion. My opinion wasn't going to have any effect on anybody else's reality. I thought that gays, like other up-and-coming minorities I'd seen trying to liberate themselves in the last fifty years, were making the same mistake: Rather than do the politically smart thing and try to gather support by finding common ground, they alienated people and narrowed their own base.
If the fight had been to get government out of the business of sanctifying a religious rite, and into the business of simply recording people's preferences on legal issues, it would have been roundly supported. Everyone can relate to next-of-kin issues, benefits and entitlements problems, property and inheritance rights. Let the county clerk simply record our preferences in these areas, and leave the rituals to the churches.
Replace the word "Spouse" with "designated next-of-kin," "duly recorded beneficiary," "co-tenant," or whatever, in law, and lots of serious issues are resolved. Make that designee the legal equivalent of a spouse in all legal situations, and everyone will be better off.
But that was an abstract issue. The real issue became gay marriage, thanks to a failure of State legislatures to do SOMETHING about these problems, which effect all of us. Gays had more of a leg to stand on in Court, due to the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, and Federal anti- sex- discrimination laws.
I'd have had less to go on in Court, trying to designate my next-door neighbour as a co-beneficiary on my employer's health insurance plan, or making my best friend the executor of my living will without any documentation, or having my lover made the legal guardian of my minor children in the event of my death, without any legal wrangling. So gays took point on this issue.
That made them highly visible. That made them targets. Suddenly, these same legislators who'd failed to deal with these issues at ALL were blaming the Courts for "making law." Making law is what Courts do, especially when legislators fail to do so. The judiciary is a co-equal branch of governmnent. In fact, it pre-dates all parliaments. It was the King's own Court to which we brought our grievances in the bad old days.
That's the ONLY place law was ever made, before the advent of parliaments, and Congresses. Now we can go to our President, or Governor, or Mayor for action, under executive orders and administrative policies. Or, we can go to our Senators and Congressmen and women, or our State legislators, or our county and municipal councilmen and women, for new laws. Or, we can go to Court, if all else fails. All they are equally legitimate, in our system, in the making of law.
It's only since the Civil Rights Era that we've had so much access to the Courts, for common people. In the bad old days, the higher courts concerned themselves mostly with the problems of the wealthy and powerful. It was only when the wealthy and powerful tried to shut us commoners out of the Executive and Legislative branches, that we were forced to seek relief in the Courts.
And it was only then that the rich and powerful, and their trained attack-dogs in the media, began to decry the Courts' "activist judges" for "making new law." Funny, they only object when it's the poor and powerless, the minority against the majority, accessing the Courts to affirm their rights as American citizens. They don't mind if it's just other rich and powerful people and institutions using the courts to make new laws that royally screw the rest of us.
Minorities are always at a disadvantage in this society. Our system is founded on the will of the majority. It is up to our Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches to protect the rights of all of our various minorities, religious, racial, sexual, or whatever. The Legislative has simply failed to do so in this case. The Judicial was forced to do something. Now, the Executive is trying to misuse our system of majority rule to deny one minority group the full rights of citizenship.
That's the long, complicated argument I made with myself on this. But I had already made up my mind. As soon as I heard that Bush was against gay marriage, I was for it, 100%. As soon as I saw him scapegoating gays for political purposes, like Hitler did, I was ready to fight. As soon as I saw the media, and even some Democrats abandoning a minority in the face of this kind of tyrrany. I'm out there, Baby.
Fuck logic and linguistics. This is about more important stuff: The rights of ANY minority, and we all belong to one or another, in the face of a hostile majority. It's about making America live up to its' promise, and be more American, for EVERYBODY.
So, even if it seems a little kooky to you, support gay marriage. Because you could be the next one to have his rights limited by the Constitution, instead of affirmed and expanded. And that's a VERY bad precedent. Write your legislators and tell them to back off on this, before it's too late. Boycott companies and States that support limiting ALL of our freedoms, by limiting anyone's freedom. It's about freedom, people. Remember freedom?
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