I was reading a Reuter’s article that called the Proposition 8 controversy “a cultural battle that has divided the United States.” A cultural battle. An issue that is up to society to decide.
But this just isn’t any issue: This is about people. Every LGBTQ person’s life is affected by the status of the laws in this country. We face the opportunity for open discrimination everyday of our lives and we are denied the rights of our heterosexual fellow citizens every single day.
I was recently engaged in a dialogue about same-sex marriage (and to be honest, at this point, I am about ready to shoot myself the next time I hear about the topic), and in the exchange were people from all walks of life, race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender and religious affiliation. A few people said what we (as in queers) were doing was wrong because their religion said it was, and that was what they had always been taught.
This person was talking about denying my rights, to my face, so nonchalantly as if it were no big deal.
I am horrified by this. Today, if I were in the same group and suggested to a black person that they shouldn’t marry someone who is not black, people would look at me like I was the craziest person in the room. I would be ostracized and not allowed to speak in the group. The conversation would turn to how I was bigoted and racist, and all of my arguments would be totally discredited. But this person’s arguments were being accepted as a legitimate counter argument.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not calling racism and heterosexism the same thing, but they are not mutually exclusive.
To be honest, I don’t exactly understand why my rights are up for debate and can be voted on by the people. It’s actually quite upsetting to finally see that the America I was promised as a child is not at all what it was promised to be.
Eventually, the people who said they think same-sex marriage was wrong quit the group because they felt that they could not voice their opinion and be heard. They felt disrespected and silenced because most of us disagreed. Welcome to my world.
This isn’t an issue open for debate or discussion. We shouldn’t have to agree or negotiate. When one group is denied their freedoms, it is their right and our nation’s duty to rectify that injustice. And if these injustices aren’t rectified, then everyone should be on high alert: When a popular vote is all it takes to constitutionally protect the stripping away of a group’s rights, then everyone is vulnerable. Who will it be next?
Today the California Supreme Court heard arguments about to overturn the voter-approved, same-sex marriage ban. The court will then have 90 days to report a decision. I hope for everyone’s sake that it is the right one.