Growing up in Orange County, I remember my mom talking about other people. Mostly good, rarely directly to them, always vocally sharing her opinions to at least herself, but often to a select few. They were never meant to be harmful, just meant as vocal commentary.
I always wondered what some of these people had done to elicit such commentary. Did they cut her off in traffic? Were they rude to her in line at the grocery store? Had they somehow embarrassed her in a public setting? While I understand the above scenarios can generate an immediate opinion, they should never be intended as a permanent response to others like them.
This is not to say that I am placing a discriminatory label on my mom. Not even close. What I am saying is that when you get in a habit of treating select groups of people a certain way, it somehow becomes acceptable.
The core values that make up a person are related to how you treat others. But there can be diversions placed in between your true feelings and what you physically broadcast to the rest of society.
There are times when people react to situations and end up saying things that are similar to the opinions of others you associate with. Yet inside, they wonder why they said such a thing verbally to another person. True, some people really do translate exactly what they feel inside and express it outwardly – in sadness, happiness, hatred or disgust. But in general, those immediate peers can be influential when verbally expressing one’s thoughts, ignoring your true feelings.
It’s how we treat and deal with others that are different than us that is something I question.
Yesterday, a key decision was made in California by their Supreme Court on the validity of Proposition 8, last year’s ballot measure that placed a ban on same-sex marriage in that state, after being legal for over four months. By a vote of 6-1, the court decided that the passage of Prop 8 was valid and will be kept in place, barring any future ballot measures brought up for vote to the people.
Although devastating news to future same-sex couples of California who wish to marry, there was a positive outcome from the court’s other decisions. The 18,000 same-sex couples who were legally married from June 16th to November 3rd, 2008 remain legally married. A sound decision that continues to protect legally married same-sex couples.
Given this recent court decision, there is a outstanding question that needs to be answered: what protections do unmarried same-sex couples have in California? According to California Family Code 297.5, there are a lot, almost as much as a legally binding marriage. There are some exceptions, but for the most part, it’s pretty close to marriage. [NOTE: Click here for the Wiki page on Calif Domestic Partner benefits and rights.]
Close, But Not Complete
But close means not all of the legal benefits are there. Which is why there is a push to make sure all of the included legal benefits for married couples will be part of the California Domestic Partnership law. While this is commendable, it raises a bigger question: why create a completely separate set of laws and legal benefits just for same-sex couples? All of the separate paperwork, laws, forms, details… it seems redundant compared to allowing same-sex couples to legally marry like any heterosexual couple, not to mention being equal and fair.
Gay marriage is a heated and sensitive topic, very much like abortion and stem cell research. Those that follow me on Facebook and saw my response to yesterday’s Supreme Court decision already know this is a very divisive subject. There are arguments on both sides of the issue that are either very convincing or just outright childish. I’m very opened minded and listen to all sides of the debate, but when it comes down to the very heart of the matter, there should be only one question: Should everyone be treated equally when it comes to marriage rights? In this person’s honest opinion, the answer is yes.
Separate, Not Equal
Original photo link – from Flickr user anti_christa
Many have offered arguments on why they do not want gays to legally share the term ‘marriage’ with them – religious, traditional, financial or a concern over future laws that may go too far… the list is almost endless. Regardless of the reasons, it leaves me asking some serious and valid questions: Why the fear? Why the concern? Why is it ok to have something separate to contain rights? Is it the “ick factor”? If so, why are people that focused on what goes on in other people’s bedrooms?
People in general are resistant to change. There’s an unknown factor that they are not sure of. And I can understand that. But change has been part of society for centuries now. We evolve. People adjust. Things move forward. This isn’t the stone age where the males club the females over the head and drag them off by their hair. We treat people fairly, or at least we should. Everyone wants to know that they live in a country where they are not the outcast. They are included. Not everyone is against people having rights, just what they deem is acceptable. They don’t want gays sharing marriage with them, so they support something different to be created. That’s not about protecting the sanctity of marriage. That’s making sure someone different from them doesn’t have to share the same rights. If all of this is sounding very familiar, it’s because it’s history repeating itself.
Throughout time, people have been discriminated against for a variety of reasons, but mostly it’s been males in obtaining greed and power, while hiding behind their insecurities. The fight for gay equality is just another cog in the wheel of human treatment. Women and blacks have been through it and we’ve seen major strides for them over the last few decades. Gays and lesbians will see the same steps forward. Until then, we can accept nothing less than equal treatment under the laws, including marriage.
Discrimination, on any level, is just plain wrong. Some support it by hiding behind a barrier of belief or religion. Others use it as a source to validate their method of segregating others different from them. Sometimes it’s innocent, other times it’s intentional. Regardless of the reason, it’s unacceptable and needs to be stopped.
To Those Who Oppose Same-Sex Marriage
We only ask for one thing: Stop working to deny people their proper rights. Stop trying to create something separate. Marriage is nothing more than a legal contract. It should not be exclusive to any one group, religion or belief. It’s a civil act that should be available to committed and loving people that want the benefits and protections of being in a recognized relationship. It’s not going to get ruined or destroyed by allowing it to be open to others different than you.
A phrase that I’ve used in my life for many years is something I feel would be good to end this on:
“At the end of the day, we are all human.”
I don’t understand the fear either, gay marriage has been legal here for a while now and guess what? NOTHING bad happened!! ;o)
I think I love you. =) In all seriousness, this was a beautifully written piece, Marty. Thank you.
That was perfect. I just don’t understand why it would bother ANYONE to give everyone the same rights. It isn’t like anything is taken away so even if you don’t agree, what difference does it make in anyone elses life? Why should two people be denied their legal contract? I just don’t get it and it makes me sad that we still have to fight these kind of common sense (in my opinion) issues all the time.
So well written. I don’t understand the fear either. I’d love to know exactly what the anti gay marriage proponents think is going to happen if marriage is allowed. How exactly is their life going to change one bit? What possible difference does it make? Live and let live, don’t worry about what anyone else is doing, focus on your own life.
Great post Marty. : )
RE: “…But in general, those immediate peers can be influential when verbally expressing one’s thoughts, ignoring your true feelings.”
Even when intentions are good, most people are notoriously bad communicators. Very few people have the ability to express precisely what they mean, and even fewer can do it tactfully.
Very well done.
I mainly clicked on the comments to see if there were any idiot responses yet. 🙂
Excellent post, Sir!
I’m gonna buy you a Slurpee tomorrow 🙂
sybil law – Thank you.
penelope – Thanks. And of course nothing will happen. It’s just committed people living their lives like they did before they could get married.
nilsa – you are most welcome.
tori – Thank you. I think it boils down to a control issue. It bothers people that something they don’t want is happening. Answering the deep inside question of WHY they don’t want it, it’s as I said above… peers driving something that they really don’t feel the same way inside.
kevin Thanks. And yes, you are correct. Live and let live. If they are not doing anything to hurt or take anything away from you, then why is there a concern?
john – Thank you, John. I like you ending assessment. People in general are not great communicators. Being able to translate that to something intelligible is even more rare.
seals – Much appreciated. So far, I think most of the idiot responders are stuck over on Blogography.com
alex – Thank you, Alex. And how can I turn down a Slurpee.
Nicely done. And thanks for pointing out about the marriages that were upheld in California. I forgot to mention that one.
kapgar – Thank you. And yes, out of the bad came some good.
lesombre – Thank you.
It disgusts me that some people are so deeply tied to discrimination. It’s the only way they know to live their lives. I am hoping that with time, people will become more accepting. Now I am being discriminatory against age, but I hope you know what I mean. We just can’t seem to change people’s minds. These are the people I try to avoid.
kilax – I know what you mean, Kim. Very hard to see why some have a hard time with this. I know there’s some ingrained teachings and some of it may seem valid to them, but it’s another human being and until they see that, they may always go through life with blinders on.
I have tried for years to understand exactly why it is that people feel threatened by the idea of gay marriage. Exactly how does it affect straight marriage in any way? Some states already have gay marriage… many countries do… California even had it for a while… did anything change for married straights? Did they start exploding or something? What? WHAT?!?
Dave2 – I *think* that the logic is something like “codifying the sinful behavior is condoning it”. Note that there are plenty of people that think alcohol should be illegal (just look at how many “dry” counties we have here in Texas), abortion should be illegal, and I bet there are people that think pre-marital sex should be illegal, even between consenting, heterosexual adults.
It really isn’t much of a leap for many people to feel that their own beliefs are *true* and should be enforced by law. I’m almost certain that despite any public statements to the contrary, a large portion of the people that are against gay marriage would be perfectly happy if we still had anti-sodomy laws and the like. Heck, I think some states actually still do have those laws, though I seem to recall Texas’ being overthrown by the courts a few years back.
dave2 – Actually Ren just said what I wanted to. People believe that their beliefs are true and need to be enforced for everyone. They often use the logic (if you can call it that) that regardless if someone doesn’t believe something, it doesn’t make their belief invalid. For example, over on my Facebook status debate, someone left a comment with the following “Whether or not we believe it anymore doesn’t change the truth of it.” So using that mantra, they want laws enacted to support this “truth” regardless of who believes it to be true or not. It’s why any argument for equality falls on their deaf ears because they don’t see it any other way.
ren – Thanks for your comment and for saying what I would have.