Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Hat tip to IT

While this issue has already been decided in Arkansas, and only a ruling from the Supreme Court will overturn it (hopefully), this is something to think about:

..... Limiting marriage to a man and a woman would not make families led by same-sex couples go away. It would just keep them in a legally inferior position that is inconsistent with Maine's tradition of equal protection under the law.

Gay men and women already live together, own property and have children, both biological and adopted. They hold responsible jobs, they volunteer in churches and schools -- they are full members of our communities. The only thing they cannot do is form the legal partnership that gives them the advantages and duties that other couples have when they start families. The same-sex couples are not the only losers. This also puts their children at a disadvantage.

I personally know at least three same sex couples that have children, some biological, some adopted. I've said it before, but I'll say it once more: their children are just as happy, healthy and well adjusted as any other kids I know. It's time to get with the program folks. Either we are a nation that believes in "liberty and justice for all" or we aren't. There can be no middle ground anymore on this.

One of my friends lives in the closet in fear because she is afraid she will lose her job and, more than likely, her 13 year old daughter if she were to "come out". The one and only place she feels safe and welcome is a radically inclusive little church that I also call home. This is beyond ridiculous, gang. This is a family we're talking about, not an abstract concept, not an "abomination", but a FAMILY.

A right wing blogger in this state equated being raised by same-sex parents with child abuse. My own parents voted to pass both the amendment that defined marriage between a man and a woman and shut the door on any possibility civil unions and Act 1 (that banned any single cohabiting couple from adopting or fostering children). The most recent e-mail conversation between my father and I left me in tears as I realized he wasn't the man I knew growing up.

I used to hope I could help change minds here in my part of the world, but I have felt as if I am shouting in a vacuum. As Bishop Spong supposedly said earlier, the battle should be over. But it isn't and people that have become my friends and brothers and sisters are paying the price.

I have seen a ray of hope in this state. Recently a 10 year old West Fork, AR boy was punished for refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance. His reason, according to the Arkansas Times Arkansas Blog:

Their son told them last weekend he had decided to no longer stand and recite the Pledge of Allegiance at school because he didn't believe there is liberty and justice for all, especially when it comes to gay rights. "To say them (words) and not mean them would be a lie," [his father] Jay said.

Out of the mouths of babes. Even a 10 year old boy can see that there is no justifiable reason outside of religious fueled bigotry to deny same sex couples the same rights many of us share. There is no secular reason why a committed, monogamous couple should not be allowed the full benefits and hardships that only a marriage can bestow.

Right now the battle in Maine is being waged at the polls. In California, it is about to be fought in the courtroom. Here in Arkansas, we do what we can while Right wing evangelicals whip people into a frenzy about the evils of "the gays", and the "queer conspiracy" while lining their pockets with gold bought with the blood and sweat and tears of a fearful populace.

I believe in the words of the Declaration of Independence "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal and endowed by the Creator with the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Until that day, when *Ginny* can introduce her mother and partner to her friends without being looked down on, until a President can be Muslim or Atheist, and until *Jim's* family can not exclude *John*, his partner of 10 or more years, from his deathbed because the do not agree with the "lifestyle" this will not be.

*Name has been changed to protect the innocent*


Lauralew said...

Outstanding. Especially the last paragraph.

(Now you understand why I want to leave SD? I, too, feel like I am shouting in a vacuum. People walk around with wads of cotton in their ears, afraid they will hear something that will change hearts and minds.)

Take care, Brother.

IT said...

Thank you AH.

It's hard enough to live in CA, I don't know how you stay in AR without going nuts!

Arkansas Hillbilly said...

There's an old saying here, "You move to AR for the scenery, not the conversation."