It seems as though we have finally found the courage to stand up for our beliefs as Democrats. The Democratic National Convention has approved a platform that unequivocally supports the equal access to marriage for all of our citizens.
Why this took so long and how we managed to get hijacked by the far right is beyond me. Perhaps I’m the natural result of the post-Baby Boom generation and my indifference to the marital choices someone else makes has become so morally irrelevant within my peer group that I have missed the struggle others continue to have with what seems like such a non-issue to me.
Let me clarify. I can’t see the difference in gay or straight marriage. That isn’t to say that I don’t recognize the different dynamics of couples, but in my eyes (and I believe my peers’ eyes) those differences are more relative to hair color, body type, and height than any social statement. I don’t say this as a demonstration of my progressive nature. I say it plainly. Gay marriage is a nonissue to me.
Then reality kicks in and I realize that what has become socially acceptable to so many rational people is NOT protected by our state and federal laws. I know that intellectually and the Prop 8 loss still burns, but I fail to recognize this massive gap in social equity that exists for millions of good people every moment of every day. And they are reminded of their inequity in every mundane transaction of life that the rest of us proceed through without interest. I speak of the basics: insurance forms, loan docs, health club forms, anything that has a box that asks a person of their marital status.
It’s easy to forget that beyond my social network, this is something that affects my friends – the people I love – in a daily onslaught of mundane details. They are constantly reminded of their inability to have access to the most basic right: to love someone else and provide each other with the security of marriage. The worst thing about it is, they suffer largely in silence because at least on a daily level, it has become the accepted state of things. That two men or women can’t have what so many mixed gender couples take for granted. And that makes me frustrated; with society at large and myself for allowing this issue to fall by the wayside.
How many marriages between a man and a woman have ended in abuse, homicide, and a rash of societal maladies while strong same-sex relationships thrive for decades in the shadows of our constitution? How many “straight” Boy Scout leaders have been outed as pedophiles while perfectly kind and morally sound people have been denied their ability to mentor because of sexual orientation? How often must good people be subjected to second-tier citizenship just because they were born loving someone?
It’s only when I think about those questions that I realize that I am complacent; content within my rational peer group of people who don’t even think about the fact that a couple they spend time with are of the same gender. To be frank, we’ve been too busy struggling with “real issues” like schools for our kids and petty household grievances.
Then I realize that marriage inequality actually still is a “real issue” that millions of good people have to deal with every day. And I fell ashamed, because I take it for granted that gay couples are equal because that’s what they are to me. The fact is, the law STILL says they are not and that’s a travesty.
Let’s demand equal rights and put this civil rights issue to bed, for good. I’m proud to see that our elected leaders are making this part of this year’s platform, but sickened that we haven’t mobilized our anger enough to get past this 20th century fight. Even the military admitted that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” isn’t necessary anymore.
We can’t afford to wait any longer. Demand action on this issue.