Friday, August 12, 2011

On Marriage (please forgive my rant)

*Editor's Note: This is being published long after it was written. Long after the Marriage Equality act passed in NY State. But I feel strongly this is worth publishing anyway :)

As I enter into the 2-month-countdown period before my wedding, I have begun to reflect on my relationship and what marriage means. We were recently asked by our officiant why we are getting married. I was kind of unsure what to respond, other than in our gut it just feels like the right thing to do. I suppose there is nothing necessarily different about our situation now vs. us being married: we have lived together for nearly 4 years, and maybe save for the joint finances thing, we do most things married people do. I consider us a very typical couple, and often take for granted our day-to-day existence, even in light of the fact that only 45 or so years ago, my fiance and I would not be allowed to marry because of the menacing anti-miscegenation laws on the books. But I was very recently given pause to think otherwise...

I was struck recently by a commercial I saw on ESPN that has since been airing during NBA playoff games. And it disgusts and saddens me. The commercial is a totally bogus attempt to persuade people not to support LGBTQ rights and marriage equality. Its premises are so totally bogus that it's even shocking to think this network can get away with airing it in this neck of the woods. And regardless of what the law says, let's face it: love is not a legal act and therefore people will love who they choose. Better said: In 1919, the federal government banned the production, sale, trafficking and consumption of alcohol. Did that stop people from drinking? Nope. And yet the LGBTQ community pays taxes to the federal government and to local governments, vote, fight in the armed forces, spend their incomes on commercial goods and services, collect garbage, travel and are tourists, volunteer and donate time to bettering the world. I could go on, but as much as any of the rest of us, the LGBTQ community are IMPORTANT contributing members of society that should not be denied such a basic right.

Stopping the LGBTQ sector of the population from marrying is not going change their orientation. Little Johnnies across the nation aren't going to suddenly decide that they prefer little Bobs overnight, simply because they heard that their math teacher is gay. Not. gonna. happen. If children, however, learn tolerance and acceptance from those who lead different lives than themselves as a result of exposure to the LGBTQ community, this is NOT a bad thing. I spent this past Wednesday evening at a fundraiser for community activism, where one of the groups involved was an organization dedicated to working for the rights of LGBTQ youth in NYC, for kids from low-income families or economically depressed neighborhoods that have been disowned by their families because of their orientation. And then I come home to watch what I think will be a benign basketball game and I am confronted with hate. Hate that EPSN has been paid who knows what amount to sell to its consumers. Rest assured, ESPN has been contacted and we have pleaded with them to remove the ads. Who knows if they will listen, but it felt good to stand up for what I believe in.

Anyone else seeing an increase in anti-marriage equality campaigning or activity recently?

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