August 5, 2012

The Marriage Issue Is About More than a Sandwich.

This “issue” involving Chick-fil-A has certainly stirred up a debate. (I love understating the obvious.)

It has even stirred up a debate on whether or not we should be having a debate about the debate about the issue. Amazingly, we are not only fractured about the issue itself, but also on the importance of the very debate!

After getting caught up in the emotion of the issue (I favor equality for all people), I decided perhaps a few moments of contemplation and introspection were in order. The reaction I was having was about me, and my feelings, and not about the issue at all. In the mix of anger and hostility I was feeling towards those I have deemed as “oppressors,” it didn’t feel right that I continue with such a reaction. I can’t be so attached to any principle or opinion in a way that sacrifices the very mindfulness I have worked so hard to develop.

So, contemplation ongoing and mindfulness somewhat returning, here is what I have come to understand.

Denying marriage to any two consenting adults is discrimination.

There, I said it. In this society marriage isn’t just a religious ceremony but also a civil contract. Civil contracts fall under the auspices of the judicial branch of our government. Therefore, government has to be involved in the issue of marriage from a strictly legal standpoint. Anything from purchasing real estate, to investments, to decisions that affect the children of the marriage all fall under the civil contract that marriage provides.

Therefore, in my opinion, denying any two consenting adults the rights that marriage provides for under law is an act of discrimination. Doing so by law is oppression. Doing so by law under religious pretense is religious persecution.

Government must take the lead.

Why? Because that is why we have one. Part of the role of government is to protect the minority from the majority. Mob rule is not tolerated in this nation, and should not be tolerated under any circumstances even if you are a member of the mob.

Remember folks, one day you may find yourself on the other side of this mob rule mentality, and you will hope and pray that the insane majority does not get to oppress you. You will look for your knight in shining armor, and in this nation that knight comes to us in the form of legislation and judicial oversight.

One reason I love the ACLU (yes, that seems to make me a bleeding liberal, yet I see no evidence of blood anywhere) is because they take on the most unpopular causes in support of liberty. I don’t even agree with them often, but I see the value in what they do and love the fact that someone out there is willing to take on the mob in the arena our founders have designed for just such a purpose: the court system. Even when I am part of the mob, I love that there is someone out there who is willing to challenge me because frankly, I am not right all of the time (in fact, I am wrong most of the time) and need to be challenged.

I see denying anyone, homosexuals included, the ability to marry one another is like denying a person a seat at the counter I am at simply based on who they are. In our rather short but dark history, we Americans declare we’re about being the “shining light of freedom,” but rarely let this light shine first in our interactions with one another. We have invaded a land and uprooted an entire civilization often killing, raping, and creating great suffering in the process (yes, we invaded North America and got a lot of the continent for our efforts).  We have bought and sold other human beings, enslaving them under deplorable human conditions. We kept people from voting based on race and gender. We have killed one another for profit, and imprisoned record numbers of people in the name of an idea that suggests intoxicants are horrible. We have instituted death as a punishment without ever being able to prove with certainty that all those we kill are guilty. We’ve kept an entire race of people separate from the rights, power, and dignity afforded to those in the majority. Yes, those people we sought to segregate from our society were ancestors of the people we once kidnapped, bought, sold and enslaved as nothing more than property.

But the good news is…

We learned from our mistakes. The picture I paint above is factual even if it paints a very dark picture of the American experience. However, part of that American experience is in realizing the mistake and correcting it. We now honor (albeit not enough in my opinion) Native Americans in their remarkable way of life and in recognition of their place in this continent’s history. We passed laws giving women the right to vote. We ended Prohibition even if we haven’t learned the lesson fully yet. We emancipated the enslaved and fought to save a union in the process.

We even passed laws making discrimination illegal. Despite sitting at a counter not being any right provided for constitutionally, we protect human beings from the onslaught of stupidity that deems them less than another. Despite wage equality not being a right constitutionally, we protect human beings from the stupidity that suggests that who they were born makes them less valuable than who they are. Rosa Parks could end her life sitting anywhere she damned well pleased on a bus because we heard her loud and clear, and we debated, discussed, fought, died and did what was necessary to right a wrong.

It’s not about sexuality…

It’s about humanity, compassion, liberty, freedom, and ensuring all of those things for not only ourselves or our gay brothers and sisters, but also our posterity. Any one of my children could be gay. Or, my grandchildren to come way, way, way in the future. Would I want my children or grandchildren (or any one of my posterity to come) to face segregation, humiliation and religious persecution because of who they were born to be? My Creator created each and every one of them, and I simply refuse to allow what I see as idiotic ideas of man to interfere with the beauty my Creator as endowed to this Universe.

It’s time we end the idiocy.

So, to me, it’s not about the sexuality of the couple who wants to enjoy the full legal benefits of marriage without being separated from the rest of society (civil unions suck for that reason in my opinion).  A church does not have to marry anyone the religion itself discriminates against, but the governments of this nation should have no choice but to marry anyone who wants to marry. Period.

It becomes about fairness, equality, and the fact I never want to be an oppressor. Yes, I see anyone who gets in the way of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as an oppressor. I see anyone who supports those who gets in the way of someone enjoying life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as an oppressor even if all they do is make horrible food for people to eat (it may taste good, but so does rat poison to a rat). Eat it if you want, it’s a free nation and you should be free to do whatever you want to yourself (even smoke a joint if it helps you with the ailments eating MSG-laden chicken sandwiches gives you).

The debate is not only important, but necessary.

Yes, we need to debate this. It’s how we have evolved as a nation. We take a wrong, discuss it until everyone is in a good fervor, and then fight it out somewhere. Or, we wait until Snooky has her baby and forget the entire thing. Whichever. We need this debate though. We need a Rosa Parks to stand up and say “enough.” We need to a Susan B. Anthony to suggest that a woman owning her own property as only fair. We need an Abraham Lincoln to have the balls enough to not only address an idiotic idea, but defeat it wherever it may choose to fight. Dare I say that we even need an John F. Kennedy to stand up to the George Wallace’s of the world and say “not on my watch.”

I Love this woman

Yes, we do. It’s the American responsibility that comes with having the American dream. Discuss it, debate it, realize the error and then fix it. One day, and I hope I am alive to see it, we will look back on this discussion just as we look back at our segregationist history. Our grandchildren will review this era in our history and say “what on Earth were they thinking?” I also hope that they will look back favorably and honor those who stood up and changed the idea. The idea that somehow this society should discriminate, and that it was not the role of our government to end the insanity.

One can only hope. And pray. And, yes, work to get it done.






Editor: Brianna Bemel

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