|Connecticut, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, |
New York, Vermont, and Washington – 8 states down, 42 to go!
Women weren't allowed to vote until about 90 years ago. A lot of people thought slavery was OK until it was abolished nearly 150 years ago because it wasn't OK. Hitler thought it was OK to eliminate 10 million Jews and Gypsies until we decided it was actually genocide. After our nation's – and the world in general's – tumultuous history, it shouldn't still take decades to learn from our mistakes. Yet there are people out there who think 8 states allowing gay marriage is 8 states too many. The Republican party is even making the ban on gay marriage a key issue in the upcoming election. Apparently the economy, housing crisis and continued healthcare reform aren't really that big a deal.
Where I live, lawmakers just passed a bill for same-sex marriage. Not to sound overly naïve, but when I heard that I remember thinking, "They had to pass a law for people to get married? I thought they did that already."
Many of the proponents of the bill at the government level are gay, as are many across the country who have campaigned to have similar legislation made into law in their own home states. I'm not gay, and I don't think you have to be to recognize an individual's right to marry anyone they choose. Similarly, you don't have to be black or a woman to appreciate their right to equal civil liberties.
What I've never understood is why groups of people feel the need to curtail the rights and privileges of other groups of people for arbitrary reasons. And yes, they're arbitrary. A person's sexual preference has no bearing on their ability to be an effective firefighter, or teacher, or police officer, or ditchdigger. (There are plenty of straight people who suck at those jobs.)
I dated a woman who thought gays shouldn't be allowed in the military or in law enforcement. This was back during the early days of President Clinton's liberal gay rights policies which eventually morphed into "Don't Ask, Don't Tell". I asked her why she felt this way. Her response was that gays in the military would weaken the military's morale and, thus, their readiness because the straight members would be so uncomfortable sharing barracks or showers with the gays. And my response was that that's the straight guys' problem. The gays aren't uncomfortable, so why should they be penalized because a bunch of backward-thinking homophobes don't know how to man up? If G.I. Joe is weirded out by G.I. Joey, get G.I. Joe some sensitivity training. And hey, if you're worried about being hit on by a gay bunk mate, just say no. (Straight soldiers have a history of raping and abusing women in the military already. Sounds like a personal problem...)
I wish I was a trained social psychologist because maybe then I'd have some insight into why homosexuality makes so many people so uncomfortable, even afraid. And I don't say that so I'll look ultra-progressive and cool. I say that because I'd honestly like to know. I understand that homosexuality scares many straight people. I just don't understand why.
Being gay doesn't make you smarter or dumber, stronger or weaker, taller or shorter, fatter or skinnier. Gay people are old and young, black and white, yellow and brown. They're rich and poor, have great jobs and are unemployed. They're less likely to be rapists, serial killers and child molesters. Homosexuality isn't contagious, it doesn't smell funny, it doesn't look funny (most of the time), and it doesn't breed promiscuity. It doesn't affect anyone else in any way, save for an individual's chosen response to it. It's interesting that gays have never sought to compromise the rights and privileges of, or otherwise sanction, straight people. Maybe they would if they were the majority. Maybe if there were more of "them" than "us", I'd have to kiss Christy in private. And maybe I'd read more news stories about straight-bashing and "Herpes: The Straight Disease!" I'd hear more pundits twisting arcane bible scripture to justify their warped interpretation of God's word.
Bottom line, who among us has the right to say who should and shouldn't be allowed to marry? Common sense dictates that you can't marry your sibling or your dog. But short of the obvious, I don't see the problem. Until someone comes along and can prove they're an expert on love and marriage, I think we should all be allowed to make our own decision when it comes to a spouse. Love isn't gay or straight.