Monday, June 1, 2009

C'mon New York - be better than California

I couldn't decide whether to write about the gay marriage storm that's brewing in New York at the moment, or the tragic death of Dr. George Tiller, a brave man who provided professional medical services to women in need. As you may have guessed by the title of this post, I'll take a stab at the gay marriage issue in New York first, and maybe later post about Dr. Tiller's untimely death.

Both subjects, however, show the need for us, as humans, to divorce ourselves from these cave dwelling superstitions we call religion. If not for the primitive "need" of so many people to believe in physics defying feats, whether they be burning bushes that produce no heat, or people walking on top of water, then Dr. George Tiller would likely still be alive today, and the gay marriage opposition would have died long ago.

The more the issue is discussed in the media, the more we are shown the faces of opposition like that of New York's Maggie Gallagher and her "National Organization for Marriage." Like all innocent sounding political action groups, this is not a pro-marriage organization since it seeks to limit marriage and does nothing to protect marriages that exist today. While it would be easy to rest of the fact that she is an objectively ugly person who holds ugly ideas, what needs to be focused on are those ugly ideas.

In their most recent television ad NOM once again employs the tried and trusted tactic of trying to scare heterosexual couples, particularly parents, about what their kids might learn in school. This is a truly repulsive message disguised as protecting a parent's rights with regards to their children's education. The notion that it is wrong to teach children to accept homosexuals or same-sex marriage is no better than complaining if they are taught racial tolerance in school. If a teacher takes the time to show students that there are people of many different races and cultures, it doesn't mean that they are advocating their students to change their race or culture. So why do these people think that if their children are taught to tolerate homosexuals it's going to magically make them all run out and become gay?

The most obvious answer might lie in the types of people who are most adamantly opposed to same-sex marriage or homosexuality to begin with. Since so many prominent opponents to the rights of gays have themselves been shown to be closeted homosexuals, like Senator Larry Craig, perhaps the anger towards same-sex marriage, and fear of its toleration stem from those "family values" organizations' members uncertainty with regards to their own orientation. It seems to me that whenever you see the spokespeople for these groups on CNN or FoxNews, they're always speaking about same-sex marriage or homosexuality as if the only thing keeping them from running off to an airport bathroom stall or taking up permanent residence in San Francisco is their devotion to Christianity.

I really hope that the New York State legislature, aided by Governor Patterson's realization that he's not getting another term, will allow this initiative to succeed and New York can be the 6th state to legalize same-sex marriage and the 2nd to do so through the legislature and not just the courts. What the opponents of same-sex marriage legislation don't seem to understand, or don't care to think about, is that the same arguments they are using today to oppose the marriage between two men or two women, is so similar to the language used to prevent blacks from entering certain restaurants, or bi-racial couples to marry. The fact that they cannot see the line of history they are on is sad, not only for them, but I would imagine it will be a point of shame for their descendants since being the children or grandchildren of bigots cannot be a pleasant experience.

Finally, I am grossly dissappointed with President Obama for maintaining his view that he is ok with civil unions but not same-sex marriage. As a lawyer, he should know that the two terms carry a different status with regards to federal and state benefits for couples. While a same-sex domestic partnership may grant you the same benefits as married people in one particular state, that may not carry over to another state, nor will federal benefits be awarded to couples with civil unions.

The answer seems obvious. Make all state and federal unions between two people, whether they be same or opposite sex, into civil unions, and allow the churches, synagogues, mosques or house of superstition safeguard the word "marriage." Until we can all get past this attachment to believing in things no more ridiculous than a spaghetti monster, these archaic teachings will continue to divide us based on the ridiculous principles dreamed up over 2000 years ago.

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