Friday, April 5, 2013

E is for Equality and The Children


I read a quote today (as posted by one of my friends on Facebook) by Martin Luther King Jr. that reminded me that I do not have to remain silent on any issue, regardless of what aspirations I have for becoming a published author of children's literature. "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

I do not believe in marriage the way that many Christians and Americans do. I place no emotional, religious, or personal value on marriage. However, at this time the issue of marriage is being analyzed, inspected, and dissected in every public forum around the nation. The Supreme Court is examining this issue with considerations for eventually making a national decision on how marriage should be treated or "defined" and whether or not there should be marriage equality.

What makes your love or your relationship more valid, important, or sacred than ours??

A few days ago I had the chance to listen to an oral argument addressing the topic of marriage. I am confused at how this issue is at all conflicting. Listening to these questions and points as though I were a judge in a high school debate event, I could easily make my decision to give all the winning points to the side of pro-marriage equality. The argument made in this discussion on the side against marriage equality is that marriage is an institution of "procreation," and that marriage should be for only those who are able to procreate together.

So, what about those over 55? Or those couples who are sterile? Or couples who are homosexual? Well, it seems that those who oppose marriage equality don't really want to oppose the marriage of two individuals who are unable to procreate; they want to oppose the marriage to two same-sex persons. No matter how you look at it, that is unjust discrimination.

What I thought was interesting was the idea presented that marriage is not about two people or their relationship or commitment to one another; rather it is about children. Another argument that doesn't stand against homosexuals--people who, like heterosexuals, also have children and are part of families.

When someone urges people to "think of the children" as a means to decide against marriage equality I must only ask, "What about the millions of gay children and the millions of children who have gay parents?" Or are they not considered children if they're gay? What about all the children who grew into adults and now want marriage equality? Shouldn't we consider them? I'm sick of people trying to use children as some kind of cop-out. "We must protect the children," seems to never actually protect children or humans, but rather to press some personal view or belief onto an entire society. Pro-life arguments seem to include the same sorts of things. I have no problem with people considering an unborn fetus only an hour or two after conception to be a "person," but if you are going to press for every baby to be born then I want to see more action in terms of taking care of those babies, and even further, in taking care of the children and the adults which they grow to be.

But getting back to the idea of what marriage is, and how people want to say that it is not about the love between two people, all I can think to say is bull shit. Marriage today in our society is seen as a commitment of love between two people. Nowhere in any ceremonies have I heard about children or potential children. It's between two individuals on the general basis of love and fidelity. Wedding ceremonies are not about celebrating procreation or children, but about celebrating the love of two people who have decided to make commitments to each other.

People like to claim that we have a government that is separate from religious institutions. I have a really hard time believing that when people continue to say that the issue of marriage is difficult or conflicting. There are no stable arguments for denying same-sex couples the right to marriage or the legal niceties that come with such a term.

When Jo and I were looking for apartments there were several places that required separate applications for any person over 18 who would be on the lease with the exception of married couples, who would only have to submit one application and subsequently only one application fee.

Another example of the small things that married people take for granted is how Jo lost her wallet along with her drivers license. In order to get a new license from Mississippi she has to have proof of her address in two separate forms. The list of qualifying form includes bills, lease, and other "important" documents with her name and address on them. Since my name is on the bills and the lease (remember the fees would cost double for us to have both our names on the lease), Jo is struggling to produce the necessary documents. There is a clause, however, stating that bills and such addressed to a spouse would also qualify as appropriate documentation. Since we are not and cannot be legally married at present, that's not a viable option in this situation.

That my relationship with Jo should be treated as anything different from any other romantic, committed, sexual relationship between two opposite sex persons is a concept that I have never been able to understand, even when I held what I would now consider the most anal of religious views.

Married couples have a lot of benefits that unmarried couples do not, and until those benefits become null for all, I will sound my voice in favor of complete marriage equality.


Dear United States Government Officials, 

Stop making simple things seem complicated. Make marriage equal. 

With love, 

Tiffany


Do you have a real argument for banning total marriage equality?
I'd love to hear it.


Write on!

3 comments:

  1. Dear Tiffany, What a beautiful well thought out post. I'm childless, so I guess that counts me out of the procreating crowd. I also don't want to get married, basically because I'm not religious and the government makes me get a licence to drive a car I don't see why it's any of there business who I choose to love. My partner and I have considered it though, because we could save some money on tax. insurance less hassle if you lose a wallet etc ... I have never understood why people can't just nominate a person - to be there significant other, whether it be a lover, family member, or friend. I get asked all the time why we are not married, and with more then 50% ending in divorce I can't even see what the value of it is. I can't help but roll my eyes or laugh when it's people on the 2nd or 3rd marriages questioning the strength of my relationship just because I am not and have never been and never intend to get married. I guess my only argument for banning total equality marriage is that the whole farce, that marriage has become for over 50% of (ex)married couples, proves that there really is no point for anyone to get married - why can't we all just get along - rant over -- I really enjoyed reading your perspective you put the whole argument it into words better than I ever could.

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  2. Well said! Well said indeed! I would love to share this post with my 4 daughters. You have so beautifully put into words, our thoughts.

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  3. If marriage is for the children, and we must protect the children, then it must be that we remove ALL children that are produced outside a marriage........ and give them to the wanton couples that are married, and want them, and are capable of caring for them. Is marriage really about children? Maybe they should have a separate license to produce children, they do that in China. I don't know if marriage is just a religious thing, I think all countries, and societies, religious or not have some form of marriage. I don't know how many deny same gender. Most of the world deny plural marriage, which seems would be a benefit to children rather than a hinderance. I also feel less valuable as an adult, children are protected, elderly are protected, well, what does that make the rest of us?

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