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IT'S QUEER-HUNTING SEASON
5 June 2006
God, I hate elections.
Was there ever a time when campaigns revolved around looking at the candidates' credentials, listening to what your candidate was going to do if elected and not having to sit through commercials about all the rotten things your opponent has done?
I'm sitting here on the horns of a dilemma, trying to decide which democrat I want to send up against The Terminator in the fall. When campaigning first started, each candidate had a positive message to convey, now I'm torn between which is running the least offensive attack ads...and, in truth, it's a toss-up. According to each opponents' ads, the other guy is a sleazeball who is going to take the state into ruin. Arnold is starting to look better to me these days--and believe me, I never in my wildest dreams thought I'd ever say that.
It's a wonder that anything ever gets done in politics (if it ever does), since every single candidate seems to be in the pocket of some nasty corporation, at least according to his/her opponent. If the night watchman at Enron handed you $1 on your way out the door, suddenly you are on Enron's payroll. Who has the time to wade through all the accusations to filter out truth from exaggeration? I wish they'd hand out white hats and black hats so we could tell the good guys from the bad guys like we used to in the good old days. It would make life so much easier.
And if this is Election Season, it must be time to drag out the old marriage debate. When the poll numbers drop, rev up your base, trot out a picture of a couple of bearded guys kissing one another, and talk about how allowing two people in a committed same-gender relationship to marry is going to bring an end to civilization as we know it..
I do wish that people who find the whole concept of gay relationships abhorrent could turn off their yuck meters long enough to watch a video called "I Can't Marry You," narrated by Betty Degeneres. It's a video that presents in a very "straightforward" (pun only partly intended) fashion, the legal issues involved in the same gender marriage.
Turn off "Entertainment Tonight"'s report on which Hollywood celebrity is sleeping with whom, and whose marriage has broken up and who is having a child out of wedlock, turn off your TIVO'd interview between Elizabeth Taylor and Larry King, comparing her 8 marriages and his 7 marriages, and look at the couples followed in this video.
Twenty couples are profiled, none of whom has been together less than ten years (that's 9 years and 364 days longer than the heterosexual Britney Spears, by the way). The oldest couple had been together more than fifty years.
Wow--now there's a real threat to the stability of Larry King's marriages, isn't it?
Which of Larry King's 7 marriages are we trying to protect? Which of Rush Limbaugh's 3 marriages? Which of Newt Gingrich's 3 marriages -- the wife he left while she was battling cancer, or the one he's cheating on now?
For anybody already familiar with the legal problems presented when you love someone of the same gender and want to spend your life with that person, there is nothing new in this video, But those willing to look at the subject objectively and who are not aware of all of the legal rights that come with "marriage" may find themselves moved a little...and may learn a few things.
Let's say that society has changed and that for some reason you are not permitted to legally marry the person with whom you have shared a life for the past 30 years. You've done all you can to protect yourselves legally. You've spent thousands of dollars in legal fees which people who can marry legally don't have to spend. But one day you're out for a ride in the country and you just forget to bring the voluminous file with all of your legal papers with you. Your partner has a heart attack. They bring an ambulance and you try to get in with your partner, but are shut out because there is no proof that you have any status in this person's life.
You get to the hospital and your beloved is unconscious. Decisions have to be made, but you are not permitted to have a voice in those decisions, and perhaps you aren't even permitted in the room to hold the hand of your love.
Sadly, your loved one dies. The body is removed and you don't know where it is taken because you aren't allowed to state where you both had planned for your final preparations to be made and your beloved's relative, who hates you and who hasn't seen your beloved in decades, is now the one legally able to make all decisions.
You return to the home you two have shared for 30 years. At least you bought the place jointly, but now you discover that it can't just pass to you, as it would to the surviving partner of someone who is legally married. Now the property must be reassessed and the government will consider that you have purchased the property from your dearly departed partner. Taxes will be raised. Maybe you won't be able to pay the new inflated taxes and you will have to sell the home you shared together.
Maybe you two have raised children together, but the law of your state won't let you be named as a parent to the children and so your partner is the only legal "parent." You have raised these children from birth to whatever age they are now--say teenagers. But the law can remove them from you because you are not the legal "parent" and that relative who hates you and who has never seen the children until now can be given custody of those children, even if the kids hate him and beg to stay with you.
Stories like this happen every. single. day. to gay couples. I have tried and tried and tried, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how allowing two people in love who want to make a lifelong commitment to each other is so abhorent, when allowing Britney Spears to get drunk and marry and then divorce 50 hours later, or allowing Darva Conger to marry a total stranger for entertainment on a television program supports the "sanctity of marriage." (Did you know that more than half of the 435 Congresspersons and 100 Senators have been married at least twice? Statistics say that more than 50% of marriages in this country end in divorce -- and that's without any same sex marriages to threaten the sanctity of marriage!)
I also fail to see how, when there are so many truly serious, life-threatening things in our world today, politicians are spending so much time fighting the uniting of two people in love with one another.
About 12% of our population is unemployed, some 40 million, give or take a few million Americans have no health insurance, the cost for the war in Iraq is over $300 billion and mounting every day (as is the body count of the dead and irreparably damaged), we have spent $100 billion on homeland security, which even Tom Ridge admits won't prevent "something big" from happening. Pharmaceutical costs are rising to astronomical levels. Why in God's name are we spending so much time (and money) trying to deny equal protection under the law to tax-paying American citizens?
Because it is one of the issues which does not reflect badly on the current administration and which is guaranteed to stir up the religious right into a frenzy of apoplexy and support for the man in the White House. And maybe he can win a point or two in his already almost non-existent approval level.
Steve has a good entry on the Defense of Marriage Act and on ex-gay ministries, which I encourage people to read.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Good Christians in San Francisco,
What would Jesus think?