Why Marriage Equality is Important to Gay People and Should be Important to Straight People
Marriage equality is a hot button issue for many people and today it means equality for gay men and lesbians to marry their partners. 30 years ago, it also meant the fight for freedom for one person of one race to marry a person of a different race. And the living participant of one of the historic cases against miscegenation laws (Loving v. Virginia) recognizes the importance of marriage equality in all aspects, especially LGBT equality.
In this hub, I hope to explain very clearly why marriage equality is very important to the LGBT rights movement, straight people, the institution of marriage in general and our society.
Point 1: The Religious Reasons Are Wrong
To put it point blank the religious reasons for barring marriage equality are completely and utterly wrong. Not to get into the religious debate about it but we live in the United States of America which theoretically grants the constitutional right to freedom of religion and the implicit right of freedom from religion. There should also be a wall of separation between church and state. Remember the word I said, ideally. However, it is unfortunate that people of faith instead of people of ethics or people of justice get into office because this is how many of the anti-equality laws are formed.
For the religious people that would whine that their church would have to perform gay weddings, this is a laughable statement. Not just because of the prejudice behind it but the consideration that your organization does not have to anything that it does not want to aside from abiding by the law. The law that would grant marriage equality would not in any way force churches or any other religious institution from performing gay marriages. You can be as bigoted as you wish to be in this regard. Hell, you don't have to perform any marriage you do not wish to since you are not a commercial provider. Many of the accomodations laws exempt churches and other religious institutions with the exception of religious organizations that serve the homeless or provide human services that are equal to what the government already provides.
There are many churches and faiths that are perfectly fine with homosexuality and gay marriage like many Buddhist sects, Wiccan covens, branches of the Metropolitan Community Churches, the Unitarian Universalists, the United Methodists and even a few other religions that are more than happy to serve these people. And even still, non-religious officiants such as myself are usually more than happy to perform gay marriages. To hold everyone else to your religious beliefs and expect us to adhere to them in a country which espouses a belief in freedom of religion is deplorable at best.
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Point 2: The Inherent Sexism of Banning Gay Marriage
It is an odd debate and certainly not well used when debating the constitutionality of anti-marriage equality amendments but one thing that these amendments and prohibitions certainly are is sexist. To deny a woman the right to marry another woman is sexist simply because a man can do it, but a woman can't. Why can't she? There is no logical reason why a woman cannot marry another woman or a man cannot marry another man.
It is essentially a sexist practice to deny a woman from doing whatever a man could do in employment, public accommodation or housing so why is it that this is allowed in a completely civil situation such as the granting of a marriage license? They are denying someone a service based on sexist reasons.
Point 3: Anti-Marriage Equality Laws Are Essentially Stupid
The anti-marriage equality laws are essentially stupid because many times they catch innocent people who even abide by these laws in the crossfire. A situation would be when a woman by the name of Christine Littleton was denied the right to sue a doctor for malpractice because she was a transsexual woman and the State of Texas would refuse to even recognize her as a woman.
Ironically, the anti-marriage equality amendment made to the Texas laws effectively made all marriages illegal so you can see how stupid anti-marriage equality laws can be. It is like cutting off the feet to save the toe.
Point 4: It's Good For the Economy
Do you know what weddings are all about? Well, for some people they are a way in which they make their living. Yes, that is right, believe it or not people make their living providing services to people at a wedding. Photographers, florists, videographers, the clergy, venues, caterers, printers, the postal service (hey, someone's gotta deliver those invitations), singers and DJs and a number of other people make really good money from weddings. And when you buy from local businesses, it is 40% more likely that your money will stay within the local economy.
When you legalize gay marriage, you help these people to make their living and you help industries expand and flourish. One of the wedding industry's wet dreams is for gay marriage to be legalized and you would be pretty hard pressed to find one of these vendors that, when they truly learn what gay marriage means to them and their business, would not be in favour of gay marriage. When more spending goes up, money gets better circulated, jobs are created and the economy becomes healthier as a result. Therefore, legalizing gay marriage can help the economy! So think about that the next time you decide to complain about the economy! ^_^
Point 5: It Provides Security that Currently, Only Straight People Have
Imagine if you will that your spouse becomes ill or injured. They are rushed to the hospital and when you get there, no one will tell you anything about your spouse. You are not allowed to see them or discuss their care with the doctor. You are anxious, your kids (if you have them) are worried about their parent. And the unthinkable happens, your spouse dies and you are left alone. You are not told and hours, perhaps days pass before someone at the hospital lets you in on this information. Your spouse did not have a will and instead of you receiving their house and bank account as you would normally, their family swipes it out from under you and half, if not all, of your bank account is gone. You do not get survivors benefits and you could even be barred from the funeral. Even worse, your custody of your children comes into question and they are taken from you either into the hands of a hostile relative or the adoption/foster care system.
Do you think that is surreal? These are the realities that plague gay men and lesbians in committed relationships. Due to certain laws in our country, many times your marriage if it is legal in your state, may not commute to another state. The law that enables this egregious violation of the Full Faith and Credit Act (which makes your driver's license and birth certificate valid in pretty much every state) is called the Defence of Marriage Act, which is a very Orwellian name for it. In fact, it reminds me of the Ministry of Love in George Orwell's book, 1984. These things have happened and to this day still happen to gay men and lesbians in committed relationships.
This is not right. This is not proper. Would you stand for it if it were your marriage under question?
Links & References
- Marriage Equality USA
A national organization dedicated to the cause of equality in marriage.
- The Conundrum of Same-Sex Transgender Marriage by Kristine W. Holt
Books About Marriage Equality
For when you get to have your gay wedding. ^_^
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