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Marriage and family is not a special right.
Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
February 17, 2000
"After all, straight people shouldn't have a monopoly on Bloomingdales bridal registry. I'd love to have a few place settings of Fritz & Floyd china on my breakfront." — Craig G. Harris
The Declaration of Independence states;"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Can someone please tell me where in those 36 words does Thomas Jefferson exclude homosexual men and women from that equation. Last time I checked "all" means all, and "created equal" means just that. Regardless of what the homophobes might desperately wish for, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution of the United States contains no verbiage prohibiting gay men and women the same rights as enjoyed by their heterosexual brothers and sisters.
Recently more than a few people have asked me to weigh in on Prop 22, otherwise known as the "Knight Initiative" or the California Defense of Marriage Act, and with reluctancy I do so now. Do I believe Proposition 22 to be a needless law dreamt up by Sen. William "Pete" Knight (R-Palmdale), an anti-gay California law maker, who will not come to terms with the sexual orientation of two of his children? Yes, I do.
David Knight, a gulf war veteran, in a Los Angeles Times editorial said of his father, "I believe, based on my experience, that his is a blind, uncaring, uninformed, knee-jerk reaction to a subject about which he knows nothing and wants to know nothing, but which serves his political career." Pete Knight has sponsored three bills in the legislature since 1996- all unsuccessful - targeting gays and lesbians for discrimination on marriages in other states. It seems singling out homosexuals for discrimination is always a good fund-raising strategy among conservative politicians. Move over Anita Bryant, Pete is bucking for reelection.
I repeat, The Declaration of Independence states;"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
The question before us is what difference would it make if homosexual couples were recognized on par with heterosexual unions. The proponents of Prop 22 say same sex marriages would undermine the institution of holy matrimony. As if divorce and domestic violence aren't doing that already. Considering that divorce statistics are sky rocketing, perhaps the institution of marriage needs to be protected from heterosexuals.
Now that we have reached the 21st century, through no fault of our own, isn't it time we did away with the last bastion of acceptable discrimination. To deny anyone the right to marry and divorce is unconstitutional. Gay men and women are equally capable at being miserable if they so chose. As if alimony was a special right reserved only for heterosexuals. Let's be honest, denying homosexuals anything allowed for the rest of society is discrimination, plain and simple. No amount of Bible thumping will change that.
There was a time, when interracial marriages were similarly denied as unnatural and a threat to god fearing Christians. Hello? What ever happened to the separation of church and state? Not only should marriage be encouraged in the gay community, it should be embraced as a way of promoting monogamy in a time of AIDS. For those people who think growing up gay is easy, think again. Told from the beginning that what you are feeling is wrong and that you will never be able to achieve a lasting relationship, has a way of becoming a self fulfilling prophecy. Imagine being the sibling who has to attend countless weddings, always knowing that you will never be allowed to stand up in front of family and friends, to declare your love for the person you plan to spend the rest of your life with. Imagine the thought of growing old alone, not out of choice, but because a certain segment of society needs to deny you your choices, to validate their own.
As a taxpaying citizen, who has been in a committed relationship for the past 8 years, without the benefit of marriage, a small piece of paper acknowledging this bond is the last thing on my mind. Do I think that if allowed, gay men and women would flock to churches to say their I do's? I don't. I just believe that this being America, they should be free to do so.
On March 7th, please vote No on Proposition 22. Not as a way of encouraging homosexuality, but as a way of discouraging the legalization of discrimination.