Thursday, December 3, 2009

Our So-Called Liberal Bastions

I've been a mix of furious and saddened since sometime yesterday afternoon, when I heard about the wrongheaded decision of the New York legislature to continue denying equal rights to homosexual couples and marriages.  I swore.  I left condolences-type comments on sites of blogger friends who are directly affected by this decision.  I found a list of the Democrats who voted against equal rights (at the end of this Gawker article here) that I hope every New Yorker studies and considers in their voting decisionmaking.  I finally got around to posting my white knot support of marriage equality on this website.

I thought about Thansgiving, and meeting J's wonderful gay cousin and partner, and how wrongheaded it is that their family can only attend our legal marriage when there are actually two joyful commitments to celebrate. All I want is for my family and friends to have equal acecss to the legal rights of marriage.  Anyone who religiously disagrees can keep their religious marriage ceremonies to themselves. I'm tired of explaining that one marriage doesn't impact another and that I'm fighting for legal (healthcare, hospital visitation, taxation, custody) rights that won't impact anyone else's private or religious rituals or definition of marriage. I may not agree with your religious practices, but I'll protect your right to keep the state out of your religious affairs and your church/synagogue/mosque's marriage ceremonies. Church and state are constitutionally separate in this country, and we're only fighting for the state rights here. 

I'm tired of being angry and I genuinely believe that, with time and exposure, society will come to realize that equality of opportunity is a basic civil right for all couples. My mother is a perfect example of the "with time" theory: she grew up Catholic and, while she never actively discriminated, I don't think she was entirely comfortable with homosexuality when I was younger.  I remember a knock-down drag-out fight when I was 15 years old and Hawaii was considering gay marriage. I could not understand her pigheaded* smallmindedness about gay marriage; she was okay with commitment, but not with the implications for "the children" (bah. arguments that reference "the children" always drive me batty.)  Within five years, it was a completely different story, and she was planning Lord of the Rings movie nights with her close gay friend and his partner (since my father had no interest in drooling over Aragorn.) All it took was time and exposure for her to become comfortable with equality and what it means.  I hold onto this story, and know that, slowly, society will follow her as we become more comfortable with gay artists, celebrities, teachers, neighbors, friends and family members.

And now, because I'm tired of being angry and want to move into hope, I want to leave you with an excerpt from Wifey Wiferson's great post this morning. Instead of talking only about gay marriage issues, she ended her post with a discussion what it means when lawmakers stand up for equality:
"This is a clip I found from a 1970 news broadcast covering the New York State Assembly vote that legalized abortion years before Roe vs. Wade.  It shows the moment that Assemblyman George Michaels, who came from a conservative district in Auburn, NY, realized that he cast the one vote that would tip the scales and keep abortion illegal in New York State.  He had discussed the vote with his family, who strongly encouraged him to vote yes, or to at least not be the deciding no vote.  He stood up just as the speaker was about to announce the result, and changed his no vote to yes, saving who knows how many women's lives.


It's true that Assemblyman Michaels didn't stand up until the very end, but it was because at that moment he realized it was only him standing between the women of his state and safe abortion.  He couldn't say, "well, I voted against it, but so did a lot of other people, so it didn't really matter".  But in reality, it wasn't only him.  Each individual lawmaker in that room had the power to vote the final yes." 
Go over to Wifey Wiferson's site to see the clip referenced above and to see the pro-equality speech from Senator Diane Savino from Staten Island. And go out and think about the power of yes and how each voice can change the world.

*I am proud to say I get my pigheaded stubborness and righteous indignation from my amazing mother, by the way.

PLEASE NOTE: any angry or discriminatory comments in reaction to this post will be summarily deleted. Like I've mentioned before, I respect civil disagreement.  I do not respect hateful speech and will respond accordingly.

8 comments:

  1. i have a similar story with my mom. she was against gay marriage but really couldn't articulate why, but eventually i convinced her to see the other side. i think people are more open minded than they think. they just don't want to question why certain rules or regulations are put in place. and as long as we don't back down from the fight for marriage equality, i know the haters will eventually come around and realize that gay marriage is a civi rights issue.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have a similar story with MY mom. Glad she got over that. I remember an early conversation I had with her when Melissa Etheridge's partner had a baby, and my mother saying she thought that was "inappropriate". You'd never guess she ever felt that way now. She's already buying gifts for my non-existant future kids.

    We actually had a very religious aunt struggle with the idea of coming to our wedding for months. She eventually made a complete turnaround after years of vocal disaproval and welcomed me to the family on our wedding day. I think the more out happy couples people know the more likely they are to change their minds.

    And thanks for the internet love, Los Angeles!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I loved that over on Wifey wifersons blog too. Added the ribbon to mine today. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow. This is hearthbreaking. I can't see how this sort of thing happens in this day and age. It's unconstitutional and anyone who opposses equal rights for all Americans just doesn't get it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for this post. I will add the white knot to my blog as soon as possible.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I am still fuming about California let alone NYC. I can't believe the supposed "liberal states" can't get their act together to DO THE RIGHT THING. This country wasn't founded on "Liberty and Justice for all we deem worthy".

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've had my white ribbon for a while and am dismayed every time I see another state deny equal rights to one and all. It makes me so sad.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I wish there were more ppl like u! Thanks so much for the support. It was a huge blow but after licking our wounds for about a day we're coming together stronger & more determined to make make equality a reality!

    ReplyDelete

I love active conversations, including (civil) disagreement. I don't love spam or people who use internet anonymity to be rude and disparaging. Spam and rudeness will be deleted.