Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Turning of the Tide? or
The Calm Before the Storm?

In just the last two weeks, the number of states with legal same-sex marriage has doubled. (I'm still not sure if that's sad or amazing.) The first was Iowa which, just last week, ruled that denying marriage to same-sex couples was unconstitutional. I think I speak for most East Coasters when I say I almost fell off my chair... Iowa? Seriously? A mid-west state has just legalized same-sex marriage? Let's face it, the mid-west bread-basket portion of our country gets the short end of the stick when it comes to social policy. Not only has the so-called "Family Research Council" been in over-drive, slamming my in-box full of emails exhorting me to "speak up" for marriage since it's "in the cross hairs" (because everyone knows you ruin more marriages with gays than guns...). But even after I got up off the floor and back into my office chair, it seemed just moments later when the legislators of Vermont voted to override their governor's veto and pass a bill for same-sex marriage (I'm sure we all feel bad for Tony Perkin's not being able to use the "activist judges" phrase in this case...)

When I pried my head out from the ceiling tiles and dropped back down to the floor, it hit me fully: Two states in less than seven days! Then another email came in: Washington D.C. had voted to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states...

The nation's capitol city... Will recognize same-sex marriages...

I do believe I passed out...

There are now four states in which same sex marriage is currently legal (five states in which same-sex marriages have been performed--I think at this point California can suck it!): Connecticut, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Iowa. There are now four more states considering bills to legalize same-sex marriage: New Hampshire, Maine, New York and New Jersey. There are even more states (and districts [D.C.]) that will recognize those relationships even if they won't perform those marriages: Rhode Island, New York, and New Mexico!

I'm still flabbergasted that the East Coast is demolishing the West Coast in terms of equality--not to mention Iowa representing for the bread basket! (What is UP with THAT?!) And when you look at the world view? Sweden just became the fifth European nation to allow same-sex marriage, following the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium and Spain! And who could forget our neighbor to the north Canada! Add South Africa and Nepal--the tide does seem to be turning indeed!

But then I read Ryan's Blog where he talked about gays in Iraq. After some research I found the following map (clicking on map will open it in a larger window...):

Homosexuality legal

██ Same-sex marriage recognized

██ Other type of partnership (or unregistered cohabitation) recognized

██ No recognition of same-sex couples

██ Foreign same-sex marriages recognized

Homosexuality illegal

██ Minimal penalty

██ Large penalty

██ Life in prison

██ Death penalty

Does anyone notice anything disturbing? Places where religion have a stronghold on a nation's laws and policies have a very disturbing record when it comes to equal rights for same-sex couples... Conservative Christians in the United States, Fundamentalist Muslims in the Middle East, the combination of both in various parts of Africa, not to mention the socialist and communist areas of the map--more and more the "defenders" of "traditional marriage" are seen side-by-side with very strange bed fellows! Russia, China, Islamic countries, and the conservative Christians of the United States united together in preventing same-sex couples from entering into life-long, committed relationships so that they can care for one another in the same way heterosexual couples take for granted--truly a "godly plan" if I ever saw one... It's quite scary that the only difference between the fundies over here and the fundies over there is that I can no longer be put to death simply for existing... Sparse comfort, but comfort nonetheless I suppose...

But I remain hopeful (if only because the "depths of despair" isn't nearly as cozy as the highs of anticipation...). I can't help but to believe in my fellow human beings, for I truly believe that everyone, even when they make the greatest mistakes and commit the most awful atrocities, are almost always sincerely trying to do the right thing, no matter how misguided or mistaken.I can't help but think that the ignorant fear and misguided "defenders" will realize the error futility mistakes they are making with their current decision-making processes. As if what two consenting adults do with one another is more important than the millions starving around the world. As if two penis's in one bedroom were more important than thousands dying from inadequate health care.

I can't help but to believe that, in the end, before I breathe my last breath, before I leave this Earth for eternity, I will be able to declare my love in front of my friends and loved ones, to be able to care for him as he grows older, to not have to worry that our dying days will be filled with angst and worry over money instead of spending our last days sharing in one another's company, cherishing our time, sharing our love...

Dear America--dear world!--I have faith that eventually, you will all realize what a mistake you have made in fighting against equality. That you will come to terms with your irrational fears and conquer them with the reason you possess. That you will finally recognize your fellow man and woman for the individuals they are--just like you, with the same hopes and dreams you have, with the same expectations from life, family, and friends you have. To be loved, accepted, deserving of respect, and treated equally in the eyes of the law and in the depths of the heart.

I have faith in you, my fellow human being--can't you have the same in me?

Sources for this post:

1 comment:

fcsuper said...

It is great to finally see. BTW, about the midwest surprize, Illinois was the first state to decriminalize consensual sodomy.