Thursday, September 30, 2004

Rights for all, not just the right.

I am making a concerted attempt to write about something topical and relevant today. I had started a rant on the banning of same-sex marriages in Missouri and the recent court ruling nullifying California’s same-sex marriages of last year. So perhaps I will pick that back up again.

I am seriously concerned with the rising tide in this country (and this state especially) of anti-same-sex marriage. I’ve had several discussions about this with my Republican parents and it’s been interesting to hear the argument against same-sex marriage. I am starting to believe that it is a purely generational position. Since my friends and I have grown up with gay friends and the gay community is anything but silent, I feel that I have the benefit of growing up believing that homosexuals should enjoy every right that I have. Fortunately, my parents do believe that being gay is just like being born female, or Caucasian, or left-handed—you just are. It’s not a choice.

I get so frustrated with the constant ballot measures that are attempting to strip rights away from a group of people. In this state, the religious right (and those who aren’t so religious, but love to believe they are right) loves to go after the gay community and I really don’t understand it. People argue that marriage is strictly between a man and a woman because the purpose of marriage is to procreate. Well, what about straight couples who don’t choose to have kids? What about straight couples who can’t have kids? Does the government tell them that they have to have a civil union because what they have doesn’t qualify as a marriage? One of my college friends told me a funny story about a conversation she had with her boyfriend a few months back since they were having this discussion. Apparently, he insisted that he believed that gay people have every right that straight people do, but he thinks they should have civil unions rather than marriages. My friend responded, “OK, well then I think we should unionize rather than getting married. What do you think?” Apparently he started backtracking pretty quickly.

Interestingly, my father’s position, if I understand it correctly (and this might get edited in case he corrects me) is that he does not appreciate the extreme side of the argument, which in this case is the County Commissioners who began issuing marriage licenses and Basic Rights Oregon, taking the initiative and defying anyone who told them that they shouldn’t do that. I understand that the sudden issuance of marriage licenses to same sex couples is a bit of a shock to some people, but I don’t think that it’s quite the slap in the face others view it as. I think that there should be a discussion, but I don’t think that this measure is the way to do it. In fact, I think this measure is the worst way to do it, since it punishes people who didn’t have anything to do with the licenses. I think this measure makes an already difficult lifestyle that much harder.

I know this isn’t anything new, and I’m not breaking any ground here, but one of my favorite points to make on this is that sexual orientation strikes me as the new civil rights. It’s the same thing, but with sex instead of skin color. I mean, I guess I fail to see the difference. Maybe that makes me extreme, but I don’t understand why my friends can’t get married and I can. It doesn’t make any logical sense to me and the arguments against gay marriage start to sound circular after a little while.

I read an article a few weeks ago, God knows where, about a man who needed medical treatment and since he happened to be married, his husband could step up and authorize the necessary treatment and effectively saved the man’s life. Now, I understand that they theory behind civil unions would authorize that same sort of thing, but we aren’t there yet, and the ability to say, “He’s my husband” or “she’s my wife” seems to make things so much simpler.

One of my friends emailed me this website, which is the most appalling piece of propaganda I think I have ever seen. Please be sure to check the FAQ and read the answer to “What happens if Measure 36 doesn’t pass? Then what?” It’s unbelievable.

Well, that’s my anti-Measure 36 rant for the day. I suppose that I am trying to use my Political Science degree in some meaningful way and this is the best I can do this week.

Quote of the Day: “I am truly sorry about all this/I envy you your ignorance/I hear that it's bliss.” Adam and Eve, Ani DiFranco

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