Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Did I go to sleep in 2009 and wake up in 1960?!

I wasn't alive for the Civil Rights Movement back in the late 1950's and early 60's, but Question 1 was our version here in Maine. Yesterday, Maine voted to repeal a law that would have made the state one of a handful that allow same-sex couples to marry. This isn't to say that this is the same thing as forcing African Americans to the back of the bus, but it as close to the same thing that my generation will ever see. Much like the fight to allow minorities the same rights as white people, question 1 was offering same sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples. We aren't talking special rights, or preferential treatment here folks, the issue here is equal rights.

Now I have heard both sides of the story, and understand that marriage is defined as : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law. I have heard people argue that it is a religious issue and that marriage equals one man and one woman as defined by the bible. I have also heard people state that children will be hurt by this, particularly as the public schools begin the process of indoctrinating them on the subject of homosexual marriage.

REALLY?! Come on people. This is all such a load of garbage. I would like to point out that Merriam Webster actually defines the word marriage as the following as well : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage . Huh, how about that. As for the religious argument, what about people, much like myself, that have had children out of wedlock, or have lived with someone they are not married to? Does that eliminate me from the train to heaven and put me on the highway to hell? What about the Britney Spears of the world that marry for 15 minutes in a drunken haze in Las Vegas only to wake up and immediately get an annulment? Is that "supporting and enhancing marriage"? And what about the divorce rates? Currently half of all marriages end in divorce. How exactly does that "strengthen society, encourage monogamous and loving marriages and provide an environment to nurture the well being of children"?

Then there is the whole issue with teaching children about same sex marriage in schools. I have a 7 year old, and she is in second grade. A Yes on 1 commercial came on the radio the other day and she asked me what it was all about. I was honest with her and asked her if they ever talk about marriage in school. She said, and I quote, "we aren't allowed to talk about religious things in school". So, despite what the Stand For Marriage Maine crew was telling you, this is directly from the mouth of a second grader. Even if they don't talk about it in school, it is going to come up at some point either way. She will come home some day and ask why Susie has two moms. I'm alright with her having a grasp of the concept, even if she doesn't fully understand it yet.

Now, I'm extremely happily married to a beautiful woman, and have no vested interest in this debate. That being said, I still feel as though something was taken away from me today. I have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I have been so proud to say that I am from Maine. That is, up until today. I feel that 53% of my state can't see past scare tactics, religion or an old school way of thinking to realize that this issue is about one thing, equality. We all have a friend, a family member or a co-worker that is affected by this. Do they not deserve the same basic rights as you or I? The answer is simple. They deserve exactly the same rights. Though, I guess we shouldn't be surprised by this, in Maine, you can marry your cousin! I'm just saying...