It’s a simple thing that most folks take for granted, but for folks like me, it’s something that we’ve had to fight for. The excuses are myriad—it’s not natural; it will destroy the institution; it’s defined as something between a man and a woman.
Yes, I’m talking about marriage.
The Internet was all lit up yesterday with the news that the Ninth Circuit Court upheld a federal judge’s decision that California’s Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. Everyone was crowing about how it was a landmark for gay rights. They’re right, but I’m not ready to celebrate yet.
The headlines yesterday have been fairly similar to what I saw when California first struck down anti-gay marriage laws via the California Supreme Court. Then came the odious Prop. 8, which passed by a narrow margin and made the constitutional definition of marriage between a man and a woman. That was followed by the lawsuit between two married gay couples which found against the state. Every time, it’s been an attention grabber.
The problem is that there is a lengthy process for court cases, and the Circuit Court is not the end-all, be-all of the system. The final hurdle is near with the U.S. Supreme Court, but until that court says I can marry a man that I love, I’m not going to break out the champagne.
There is already talk of an appeal from the supporters of Prop. 8. It’s not surprising, as most of the cases that make it to the U.S. Supreme Court are the result of neither side admitting they might actually be wrong. I have a feeling that if the previous court decisions had gone the other way, the California couples would be filing appeals, too. The only ones who should be celebrating right now are the attorneys, because they’ve gotten stinking rich off of all the billable hours on this case.
It’s a shame that we have to argue this matter, especially since six states and Washington D.C. have proclaimed gay marriage to be legal, with Washington state appearing to be the next to finally see the light, that having two men or two women who love each other make that lifetime vow binding does not impact anyone else’s marriage.
It’s amazing how people still believe that two people of the same gender cannot feel romantic love for one another. I have a friend who has been seeing a man for almost two years, and they’ve recently decided to move in together. For a man and a woman, that would be considered shacking up, which can be seen as distasteful. However, for a gay or lesbian couple, that’s the best they can hope for. Some might have a civil union ceremony, but those are not always binding by law.
For those who might ask what the big deal is, imagine not being allowed to see your spouse or partner in the hospital because you’re not married or related by blood. If that person is knocking on death’s door, the last thing you want is to be forbidden from sitting by the bed and saying good bye.
As for the folks who feel that gays being allowed to wed would destroy the institution of marriage, I’ve got news for you. The institution has been ravaged by fire, infested with termites and plowed into by a bulldozer. With the likes of Britney Spears, Larry King and the other folks responsible for the 50-53 percent divorce rate in this country, it’s amazing that the institution hasn’t collapsed like an imploding off-strip Vegas casino that is long past its prime.
I know of couples that have been together for years, even decades. They’ve raised children and owned homes and businesses. They do everything that straight couples do, so why deny them marriage? Why tell them—and me—that the only way I can get married is with a woman? It’s an unfair standard, and I’m hopeful that the top court of this country sees it that way.
I certainly hope the Supreme Court decision, when it comes, will open the floodgates for me and many of my friends to finally be able to say “I do” legally. Until then, I’m keeping the champagne on ice.