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A day for equal rights

Wow, what a huge decision! This from the court that failed to protect the voting rights of of one minority group earlier this week just affirmed the rights of a different minority group by striking down Prop 8 in California and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The court giveth, and the court taketh away...

I hope this is the beginning of end of the silly notion of "defending marriage" by denying it to gay people. The lack of honesty behind this argument has always made my head ache. If marriage needs defending, its from the straight people who do it for convenience, or money, or citizenship, or any number of reasons that have nothing to do with long-term commitment, love or family. Marriage needs to be defended from a 50% divorce rate. But the last thing threatening my or anyone else's marriage is someone else getting married.

This Fall I'm going to attend my first same-sex wedding. The individuals getting married are some of my and Erin's dearest, closest friends. They've been together way longer than Erin and I have been married. Their devotion to each other is a model for us and couples everywhere. They are raising a wonderful little boy together, proving that they are not only a strong couple, but also excellent parents. Their state legalized gay marriage last year.

If they were straight, they could have been married in minutes, drunk out of their minds in Vegas if they chose to do so. They could have divorced the very next day, if they wanted. Only because they are gay did they have to wait first for California to say it was okay for them to marry. Then they watched as the state of California rescinded that right through Prop 8. Then they moved to another state that said that they couldn't participate in the same institution as their fellow citizens. Now, finally, the state says that it's okay for them to marry. During that time, millions of straight couples got married, for myriad reasons, and millions of their fellow citizens divorced one another.

Marriage doesn't need defending. It's an institution that is constantly changing to accomodate modern morals and practices. It will live on by adapting. But even the defenders know this if they give it even a moment's thought.

What needs defending are the rights of our fellow citizens. In our country, everyone is supposed to be born equal under the law. However, there will always be the temptation to grant majority groups rights and privileges, and to deny them to minority groups. The temptation exists because at our base, we're selfish. By excluding others, we secure more for ourselves. Fortunately, we live in a country that has mechanisms to prevent this. Mostly. Kind of. Sometimes.

Today, those mechanisms secured basic rights for one of our country's most oppressed minority groups. We should all celebrate. But even if you don't, I and millions of others will!

Comments

Jason said…
Julia and I attended our first same-sex wedding a few weeks ago. It was great. It was a little confusing when the MC referred to the "bridal party" (why not "wedding party"?), but otherwise it was remarkably normal (aside from being flawlessly choreographed and perfectly designed :). The only threat I saw to potential opposite-sex couples getting married was from the high standard they set!
mama mia said…
victories on one front...sad about the voting rights act, and then there's having to filibuster in Texas to keep a bill about reproductive rights from occurring...Monday will be another test from Gov. good hair

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