by "Bud" E. Lewis Evans
So often I hear the same old tiresome argument, as if it were some sort of egalitarian compromise, that "...the issue (same-sex marriage equality) should be left up to the states to decide". Yes, what a noble idea. And we all know how many states currently get to decide other such heady issues regarding racial segregation and interracial marriage and gender discrimination. Don't we?
Uh, sorry, that boat has already sailed.
Tragically, we do currently have an apartheid system for gay couples though (called Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships, etc) which basically serves the same purpose as segregation did for Blacks. But, thankfully, that degrading distinction is on its way out! President Obama seems to have forgotten his own people's struggle with segregation when he suggested that millions of GLBT Americans should joyfully embrace that odious concept as a viable alternative to marriage. Shame on him.
Nevertheless, you mustn't forget, there are tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are already legally married in the United States. Which begs the question: How can tens of thousands of adult, non-related, human beings be married in seven states (which includes the eighteen thousand still legally married in California) and yet not be married when they cross state boundaries into other states? To not see the legal parallels to Loving -vs- Virginia is shortsighted to say the least.
The heterosexual chauvinistic conceit that "marriage is only between a man and a woman" is no longer a valid legal argument, nor is it reality in America. Neither is it the absolute, unabridged definition of marriage in many other, more socially evolved, nations in the Western World.
I repeat, tens of thousands of same-sex couples are ALREADY legally married in America. I have no doubt that millions in the GLBT community will likewise be enjoying full conjugal rights in the near future. Efforts to suppress civil rights have always failed in the past. The civil rights struggles of the GLBT community will be no different.
The past is prologue, some say. Others claim that History is on our side. But, unfortunately, there are always flat-Earthers to contend with who wish nothing more than to drag us kicking and screaming back into the unenlightened past. They resist change because it destabilized their concept of an unchanging world which places their position in society higher on the food chain. The notion of a non-predatory, socially level playing field without legally preferred "haves" and legally disenfranchised "have-nots" forming a societal pyramid with the "haves", naturally, at the top is frightening to these self-appointed guardians of the status quo.
But times are changing, albeit slowly -- dishearteningly slow at times. Social change and political progress is still in the process of shaping that transformation which will blossom as more of the dead wood is burnt off from society. It is inevitable.
For example: Gallop polls taken in the 1950s had the public opposed to interracial marriage by over 90% -- including most Black people opposed to it. Do many people even think about that as an issue nowadays -- except for perhaps a few racists and some old timers?
Today, the public is nearly evenly split on same-sex marriage equality. Some say that is progress. Even so, human rights should not be determined by "polls" nor should they be subject to a popularity contest. Truly, it is an affront to our Bill of Rights and to the very concept of "unalienable" rights. Any high school Social Studies student should be able to understand that a referendum on the civil rights of others is an ill-conceived modus operandi under the precepts of our Constitutional Republic.
Likewise, any manifestation of segregation will not past the smell test. The "Heterosexuals Only" sign belongs in the same dust bin of history as the "Whites Only Sign". Times are changing. The demise of organized religion as a willing tool of oppression and as a parasitical collaborator to divisive politics cannot come fast enough.
Anyone who cannot see an historical correlation in the struggles for freedom of all minorities (as well as women and the GLBT community) in America is just simply blinded by bigotry --including homophobes in the African-American community who disparage the comparison -- as if the GLBT community being the only minority left in American without full civil rights and protections is not enough of an injustice.
No, not every civil rights battle has had the exact kind of issues nor have they had the same number of physical casualties, but the denigration of the spirit and the affront to human dignity of any oppressed human being is exactly the same -- no matter who they are or in relation to any social, ethnic, racial, gender, religion, group affiliation, or sexual orientation identification. Under the law, there should never be a distinction in the application of justice nor should there be an exemption to any individual's birthright of full equality in all things
More is the pity that America has taken so very long to live up to her own over-vaulted principles of freedom, and yet even now she has not quite grasped the true concept of equality. But, there may be hope. It lies in tomorrow's children who will not be so poisoned by the social pathologies and petty group hatreds of their predecessors.
Still, I grow tired of being angry, but I fear I would become less vigilant against those who would harm my brothers and sisters if I ceased to rage against injustice.
Yet, I feel confident in placing my faith in tomorrow, because of the determination of people of good-will today who express their love of humanity -- in all of it's wonderful variations. If I had a religion, it would be my enduring faith in the better angels of humankind. More often than not, in the fullness of time, I believe we may prove to be better than the "gods" we have created to serve our distempered passions and too assuage our fears.
If, someday, we can truly find that spark of divinity in ourselves, and in each other, then what more would we need? Perhaps then we might finally realize we should have loved each other a little more. It's not too late to get to work on that - is it? But then only you can answer that for yourself.
There's never a downside in treating others as you would wish to be treated. I think in our hearts we all know that is true.
© "Bud" E. Lewis Evans, 2009