Well, I know nobody is surprised, but Senator McCain has finally actually said the words:
"I support the efforts of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution between a man and a woman, just as we did in my home state of Arizona. I do not believe judges should be making these decisions."
Having just spent the better part of the week basking in the glow of the happiness of Ellen and Shelly, who fought for 34 years for the right to be treated, legally, like everyone else, this was like being hit with a bucket of cold water, though, as I said, not surprising.
I hope everyone who has NOT seen Ellen and Shelly's wedding reception video will now watch it with the idea in mind that there are people who want to prevent people in love from having equal rights as their straight neighbors. "There is something very powerful about knowing that the government of the state where you live considers your union as legitimate as anyone else's," said one couple.
Who, looking at the happy faces -- no. JOYOUS faces -- of these newly married couples celebrating with Shelly and Ellen, would deny them this right?
Well...John McCain, for one.
The problem with marriage is that so many people see it in some sort of religious context, despite the fact that gay people have said time and time again that this is not at all about religion, this is about civil rights. Still, people can't see beyond "marriage" as being some sort of God-invented institution that should not be tampered with or it will bring about the fall of civilization as we know it.
But marriage, while it may come with all the blessings of God and a church or synagog or mosque, is at its core, a legal contract between two people. You can be married by a person with a justice-of-the-peace-for-a-day license (as Jeri and Phil will be) and still be married. It doesn't have to involve God or religion at all.
I can't believe that three Republican judges who voted to allow gay marriage in California are in any way actually in favor of marriage between same sex couples, but thank goodness someone still values civil rights in this country of ours.
The court's ruling was about EQUALITY, not about gay marriage. Marriage is contract law, and as such, is governed by those rules. You cannot have a contract that two people can enter into and then say two other people can’t enter into the same contract because of some reason like race, religion or sexual orientation. It’s discrimination under the Equal Protection clause. The Supreme Court that legalized same sex marriage in California boiled it down to logic. Logically, under the law, either gays must be allowed to marry, or no one should be allowed to marry. Equal treatment for everyone.
This is no waltz down the garden path for same sex couples, either. Think of the complication of filling out tax forms, for starters. They can file as a married couple in California, but since your federal tax is partially based on your state tax that means the newly married couples also need to calculate their taxes as single people too, in order to fill out the federal forms.
Conservatives are always talking about this lifestyle that gay people "choose." They talk about indoctrination and fear that someone is going to "recruit."
Let's be honest here. Who, in their right mind, would CHOOSE to be gay? Gay children are often ridiculed, often beaten up. The suicide rate for gay kids is higher than for straight kids. Gay kids are often rejected by their families, turned out onto the streets. Gay people are often passed over for jobs, denied housing, condemned by their churches. They cannot serve their country unless they lie about their sexual orientation. They cannot marry the person they love (except in Massachusetts and, for the moment, California). They hesitate to put photos of their "family" on their desk at work for fear someone will guess their secret. Who looks at the prospects for the rest of their lives and says "Oh goodie! I want to live like that!" ?
Read Leslie Jordan's autobiography, "My Trip Down the Pink Carpet." He knew long before puberty that he was "different." He just didn't have a word for it, and he certainly never acted upon it at age 11. You hear that over and over again from people who "knew" as very young children. My friend David traces his "knowing he was different" back to age 5.
Do all gay people want to marry? Of course not, no more than all straight people do. But gay people must have the same rights as straight people to form that legal contract with their partner of choice. If some clergyperson wants to marry then, fine. But at the very least, let them stand up in front of an officer of the court, as Shelly and Ellen did, and make that legal commitment to each other.
If the people trying to change the Constitution to ban gay marriage have their way, they will be saying that some people deserve certain rights, and some other people don't deserve those same rights. If the same sex marriages going on right now will be nullified by the Constitutional amendment, that involves taking away rights that gay people now enjoy. That's like saying to a slave, "Yes, I know you were once emancipated, but it's now time for you to return to the plantation." or to a woman "Yes, you once had the right to vote, but now we've changed our minds." or telling Heidi Klum, "Yes, I know you and Seal have a happy marriage, but I'm sorry--white people can't be married to black people any more."
It's not fair, it's not right. It's all or nothing. ALL people get certain rights, or NONE of the people get those rights. The freedoms we have held dear until the idiot in the White House started ignoring them, include that all people are created equal and if all people are created equal, they all deserve nothing less than the same rights, even if current presidential candidates would work to ensure that they don't get them.(And yes, I will say the same thing if Obama comes out with a statement like McCain's)