August 27th 2009 will mark the one year anniversary of the death of Dorothy Martin. Mrs Martin was a pioneer for lesbian rights, and the decriminalisation of homosexuality throughout the 1960s and 1970s across America. Dorothy Martin died two months after fulfilling the dream of her fifty year relationship with girlfriend Phyllis Lyon, by marrying in June 2008, in California. They should be commended for their work. Anti-discrimination laws, the right for a gay lady or gentleman to visit a loved one in hospital, work place regulations in support of gay rights, society as a whole owes both Lyon and Martin a great debt for their courage and their relentless fighting.
I cannot think of a more pro-marriage fight, than that put up by Dorothy Martin and Phyllis Lyon.
Currently, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa all allow same sex marriage. Vermont is soon to follow on September 1st 2009, and Maine will join that list of States on September 14th 2009. And whilst I welcome the right of the State to provide it’s own definition of marriage ahead of the Federal Government, I’d suggest further that it is the individual’s right to decide what is and isn’t acceptable. It is not the State’s legislature who decide the arrangement of love. If you do not think homosexual couples should be allowed to be married, then simply don’t attend a gay wedding. Legally consenting couples, whether straight or gay have a right to express their love for each other via a ceremony of vows and commitment. It has the business of no one else. It does not impact your daily life. It does not undermine “traditional marriage” (a subject I shall come on to later).
The Defence Of Marriage Act is quite clearly anti-homosexual. I’m not entirely sure what Marriage needs defending from? It’s a thriving business as far as i’m aware. The Defence of Marriage Act, is simply a bigoted few, denying the rights of a section of society, that simply doesn’t conform to the narrow minded Republican view of what is decent and correct. It is indefensible that Congress simply assumes it has the moral authority to decide who should and shouldn’t be recognised as “married”. I’m unsure why same sex marriage is even a question any more, why it’s even debated. It is surely for the two people in any relationship, to decide if they want to take a vow of devotion or not? It is the jurisdiction of politicians on any side of the political divide to decide. As “rights” and as “freedom” goes, the freedom to fall in love and to commit to whomever you so wish, is one of the most basic rights any of us is entitled to, without being punished or alienated.
A rather vicious little group, ironically named “Alliance for Marriage” in 2001 announced it’s intention to create an Amendment to the Constitution that would have ultimately destroyed the right of homosexual couples to be married, whilst alienating them further, as they were sub human. The Amendment was referred to as “The Federal Marriage Amendment“. It would have meant that every State would be forced to recognise, the description of the FMA, which happened to be “SECTION 1. Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.” A nasty little piece of discriminatory legislation.
In short, the Amendment would have been a step backward, for diversity, tolerance, acceptance and difference. The homosexual community is not an alien race hell bent on destroying America. The homosexual community is no different to the heterosexual community, other than possessing a different preference when it comes to love. They are the Police officials who keep you safe, doctors who keep you alive, fire fighters who save you from burning to death, teachers who prepare your children for the future, they are the Oscar Wilde’s, and the Leonardo Da Vinci’s. It is simply a case of personal preference when it comes to love. Banning same sex marriage is as ridiculous a notion to me, as banning marriage between those with different coloured eyes or hair. It makes no sense. The Federal Marriage Act was a disgusting piece of legislation. The Federal Bigotry Act would have certainly been a more apt name. The Constitution is not a tool for discrimination.
Shockingly, Gallup reports that 40% of people asked, believe Homosexuality itself (not gay marriage) should not be legal. 40% of people asked would like to criminalise people, purely for being gay.
In order to pass into law, and become a Constitutional Amendment, the proposal had to attract the votes of two thirds of each House, and ratification by three fourths of the States. On July 18th 2006, a vote took place in the U.S House of Representatives, and failed by 236 yea to 187 nay votes. It needed 290 votes to pass the House. Whilst I welcome it’s failure, 236 yeas is slightly worrying, for perhaps the World’s most powerful and apparently “free” nation. The deeply held bigoted attitudes still in force.
The Constitution of the United States thankfully possesses the clause, Article IV, Section 1, which states quite unequivocally “Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State.” States are required, by the Constitution, to recognise the marriage rights of those who were married in other States. George Bush, said at the time “A constitutional amendment will put a decision that is critical to American families and American society in the hands of the American people“. A statement that is quite frankly regressive, and a product of the eight years of the Presidency of Bush – fear. Why is it “critical to American families and American society” that same sex marriage be banned? Given the past eight years, i’d suggest that letting Texans run for President is critical not just to American society, but Global society as a whole. George Bush would have decided that because he doesn’t approve of the relationship between Dorothy Martin and Phyllis Lyon, that it is therefore “un-American” by the standards of the Constitutional Amendment, he shamefully backed. For the 21st Century, I cannot believe an Amendment was even discussed.
Ex Republican Congressman, Richard Curtis voted against banning discrimination against Homosexuals, he also voted against domestic partnerships for Homosexual couples. In 2007, Curtis (who is married and has two daughters, and is very very anti-gay rights) was forced to resign his position, because he was found to have dressed in women’s clothes, and had sex with a male gay porn model named Cody Castagna, in a hotel room, in Washington. A smile was brought to my face when I read this story.
It seems the American Right is unwilling to move forward. Although, that’s nothing new.
In 1924, the Virginia Legislature passed a law entitled “The Racial Integrity Act” which made interracial marriage illegal. The idea, was to kill off any It was not until 1967, in the case of Loving V Virginia, that the United States Supreme Court overturned the ruling, when interracial couple Mildred and Richard Loving were sentenced to a year in Jail, simply for marrying. They worked tirelessly to overturn the Racial Integrity Act and were successful in 1967. To us here in 2009, the entire idea of blocking interracial marriage, is abhorrent. The Judge presiding over the case of the Loving’s, which sentenced them to a year in Prison, is quoted as saying:
“Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, Malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”
Religion. Of course it’s Religion. Whenever someone feels the need to discriminate, or impose bigoted judgements on others, they tend to use the Bible to help justify the unjustifiable. As with the Lovings case, the fundamental argument against same-sex marriage, comes from the frankly ridiculous religious notion that traditional marriage is between a man and a woman, and nothing more. It sounds as if the Bible is strict and straight forward in it’s proposals on marriage. It simply isn’t. It is therefore perplexing as to why those with such deeply held Christian principles of the Religious Right, are wasting their time focusing on same sex marriage, when they should also be focusing on Biblical insistances they otherwise tend to pretend don’t exist?
1 Corinthians 11:8-9, which states “For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9neither was man created for woman, but woman for man” is pretty straight forward in suggesting that women should exist simple to serve men. Can I expect a “Role Of Women in Society Act“?
David is admired, by Christendom, and so perhaps those with such strong opinions against Gay marriage from a Religious stand point, could help introduce legislation to allow polygamy, because as 2 Samuel 5:13 quite clearly states, the role model that is David “…took him more concubines and wives out of Jerusalem, after he was come from Hebron: and there were yet sons and daughters born to David.“
I’m guessing it’s only a matter of time before those guardians of all that is moral and decent in the World, over at “Alliance for Marriage” really do themselves proud by truly sticking to what the Bible says of family life, especially in relation to Genesis 19:31-32, which says:
“One day the older daughter said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is no man around here to lie with us, as is the custom all over the earth. 32 Let’s get our father to drink wine and then lie with him and preserve our family line through our father.”
Only recently has marriage started to become more about love, than strengthening family ties. Nobles throughout 16th Century Europe would almost invoke Exodus 21:7, by “selling” their daughters into prominent Catholic families, to strengthen relations. A great example of this, would be of Catherine of Aragon, the daughter of Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, who was set aside to marry Arthur Tudor, the son of Henry VII of England, purely to strengthen the claim of the Tudor’s to the throne of England due to Isabella’s Royal English ancestry. This wasn’t a match made out of love. Neither was Catherine’s subsequent marriage to Arthur’s brother Henry, who of course became the tyrant, Henry VIII. Love and marriage (whilst a fantastic Sinatra song) did not go together like “a horse and carriage“, until very very recently. “Tradition” is irrelevant.
Opponents of same-sex marriage suggest that homosexuality is unnatural and damaging to society. No it isn’t. Religious intolerance though, now that’s damaging to society. Wars, death, torture, inability to accept the diversity of humanity, is so disastrously detrimental to the future of society, to blame homosexuality is pathetic at best and shockingly ignorant at worst. And surely it is not unnatural to disagree in principle with Aquinas’ teachings on the theory of Natural Law. It is surely unnatural though, to repress your desires and your very human needs, just to suit the narrow minded, homophobic views of a few bigoted individuals and their pretty damn evil God. Religion, is far more unnatural.
I’m not entirely sure that dogmatic Religious nonsense is to blame though. I’d suggest that homophobia comes is simply an illogical prejudice, and that the Bible is purely used to apply justification for such ridiculous prejudices. The Bible is nothing more than a tool to advance individual bigotry.
If the opponents of same-sex marriage could give me legitimate reasons why homosexual couples, in loving relationships, should not be allowed to marry, i’m more than willing to debate this with you.