It's been blabbered about all over the news these past few days, and it became official yesterday afternoon at 5:00 when Gavin Newsom presided over the nuptials of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon. (The oldsters amongst us know them of Lesbian/Woman fame, a ground-breaking text in the 1970s.) These two women have been together for over 50 years; they actually got married four years ago when Gavin declared gay marriage legal in the city of San Francisco. But then their marriage was annulled by the State due to the court's ruling that Newsom had overstepped his authority. After more lawsuits and legal haranguing that has dragged on for several years, it came down to this question before the court: should gay marriage be illegal because Californians had several years earlier passed a proposition defining marriage as being only between a man and a woman? Or is discrimination against gay people just plain unconstitutional?
A month ago, the California State Supreme Court declared that discriminating against same-sex partners by denying them the right to marry is unconstitutional. One of the judges remarked that the arguments against gay marriage were eerily reminiscent of arguments he'd heard years and years ago against interracial marriage. Well, halle-flippin-lujah!
Bigotry is bigotry. Honestly, I have yet to hear a cogent, rational argument against gay marriage--the arguments against are either (1) religious based or (2) based on the assertion that marriage is for procreative purposes. Well, excuse me, but it's not exactly fair for certain religious groups to foist their beliefs on the rest of the population. Let's not forget that slave owners used to quote the Bible to justify slavery, too. And secondly, if you're going to argue that marriage exists solely for the purpose of procreation, then I suppose you'd better tell men and women who are infertile for whatever reason that sorry, they can't get married either. Besides all that, plenty of gay couples are having children, thanks to alternative insemination, adoption, and other options. And guess what? Studies prove that the children of gay parents are just as healthy, if not healthier psychologically, than the children of straight parents (and no more likely to be gay--and even if they were, I'd still ask so what).
So, what am I driving at? Well, you'd think, in California of all places, this issue would finally be put to rest, but it's not. Once again, gay marriage is going to be used as a wedge issue in an election year. (But did I really think the wingnuts were going to take this one sitting down? Of course not.) Enough signatures have been collected, so come November, Californians get to vote again on a second proposition, this time a more heinous one, if I understand it clearly, that will not only disallow gay marriages but may even retract domestic partnerships. A step back, in other words. And who knows what will happen in the rest of the country? I recall the last major election when I was living in Spokane, Washington, and how one Republican Party candidate's advertising snarked at "the San Francisco values of Gavin Newsom and Nancy Pelosi." Of course, these are just fear tactics, playing to our baser natures ... but watch out, here come the ridiculous assertions that "once gay marriage is legalized, what's to stop 'em from wanting to legalize bestiality?" and alarmist nonsense such as this.
Yesterday Fred Phelps (you know, the "minister" who pickets funerals of Iraq War veterans) showed up with his herd at City Hall to protest gay marriage. There they were on TV with their "God hates fags" signs, and I just want to ask them if they can imagine Jesus standing out there with a sign insulting two people who love each other and who wish to make an official contract and commitment to that love. Personally, I can't imagine it. It's as if these folks have never read the Gospel, which preached love over the letter of the law. It's as if they've forgotten how it was Jesus came to be crucified ... the Pharisees didn't like him threatening their status; the "Powers That Be" didn't like him consorting with Roman tax collectors, prostitutes, and sinners, and for speaking well of those evil, evil Samaritans.
But Jesus also said, quite clearly, "Judge not." To say gay people don't have the right to marry each other is to judge us. Maybe it's just as simple as that.
(more to come later ... )