Friday, September 09, 2005

No Exceptions To Equality

Liz Figueroa, California state senator, wrote a good opinion piece in the Advocate yesterday. She argues the gay marriage issue from an equality standpoint rather than the "re-definition" limelight in which the radical conservatives prefer to frame the debate. This excerpt really drives home the foundation of the same-sex marriage movement:

The question we should be asking is whether we are redefining another word, a far more fundamental one: equality. That’s what all this is really about. Every court that has weighed in on the question of same-sex marriage has been interpreting a constitutional provision that says all citizens are entitled to equal treatment under the law. And whatever can be said about the definition of marriage throughout history, the definition of equality hasn’t changed very much. It means exactly what it has always meant, and just what it says—unless you subscribe to some rather extreme doctrines.

Before the discussion about marriage became so prominent, lesbians and gay men were frequently accused of asking for “special rights” when they fought for antidiscrimination laws that would protect them from being fired from their jobs or denied housing. But you don’t hear much about “special rights” anymore.

That’s because if ever there was a set of special rights, it’s the set that comes with marriage. Right now those special rights are reserved by heterosexuals only for themselves.
There’s nothing even remotely fair about that, or equal. This is exactly why we have raised equality to a constitutional position. A constitution enshrines principles that are the most important to us, and says that, no matter what, they cannot be violated, even by a majority vote. Especially by a majority vote.

Some of my colleagues in the California legislature have argued that gays and lesbians have the same right to marry as heterosexuals do; they say that everyone in California, gay or straight, has the equal right to marry someone of the opposite sex. With all due respect, I have no idea how anyone can think that argument makes any sense at all. Why would a lesbian or gay man want to marry someone of the opposite sex? What sort of a right is that, and what does it say about the person making such an argument?

And particularly for those of us who are heterosexual, why would we want to subject ourselves—or our children—to such a bizarre prospect? “Don’t ask, don’t tell” works badly enough in the military; it’s an even worse idea in a relationship as intimate and personal as marriage.

Lesbians and gay men need the same right that heterosexuals take for granted: to have the state recognize their relationships with someone they love. And the only way that equality will happen is if their relationships can be legally recognized by the state as marriages, with all the attendant rights and responsibilities that the rest of us have. The law should not discourage them from forming loving, complicated, and wonderful families.
That is the crux of the issue, isn't it? Many conservatives would prefer homosexuality remain in sin and corruption, rather than assert itself prominently in the family domain. It is one thing to claim that all homosexuals are promiscuous and immoral, and quite another to allow them to embrace life-long partnerships. The hypocrisy is rich.

Justification of the homosexual sin has never been enough on its own merits; the environmental factors must be applied. Once the environmental factors are removed and gay partners are allowed to form a family, the cornerstone of society according to conservatives, homosexuality is seen as another facet of normalcy and stability. The importance of the family unit to the conservative mind overrides the difference in sexual orientation. The snake swallows its own tail.

Hopefully, with state senators like this one, the recent gay marriage legislation won't be the last time Californians push the governor between a rock and a hard place.


At 3:30 PM GMT-5, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Senator Liz Figueroa. She's going to be the first latina Lt. Gov in california. Yeah!


At 5:28 PM GMT-5, Anonymous Anonymous said...

heh cool blog you have here!

I noticed you have a nice blog, read all of your links kept me interested for a good time! well done :)

Thanks for a good read instead of some of the other stuff people post here!


Post a Comment

<< Home