If this doesn’t enrage you, I don’t know what will. Turns out that not only does the United States government not NEED to ask, they don’t NEED us to tell. They’ve had LGBT groups that oppose the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy of the US armed forces under surveilance, collecting information and adding it to their database. How does it make you feel to know that by exercising your right to free speech, and demonstrating against something you find unfair, your name has ended up in a database supposedly reserved for threats to national security. Check out this link to learn more.
Religion must not be the definition of morality.
What happens when you take the most powerful nation in the world, and put it in the hands of a man who believes that God wants him to be president, and that he is doing God’s work? Unfortunately, we are already finding out the answer to that question. President Bush, by his own words, believes that God wanted him to be the president of the United States of America. If you walked in to any emergency room in this country, and said that God wanted you to be the president, you would be given a diagnosis of some kind of neurosis or psychosis, and on your way to a nice little behavioral health center somewhere. If he said that God wanted him to be a teacher, or a preacher, or a healer of some kind, it wouldn’t be so scary. But no, this man believes that God wanted him to be the leader of the greatest democracy in the world, and the commander and chief of the most dangerous military arsenal in the world.
Now, only he could tell the world why he believes that God so favors him, and frankly that explanation would be even more frightening than the assertion itself to me. That one simple assertion that God placed him there for some self perceived purpose is to me the single most upsetting, and potentially dangerous situation that this country has faced since the end of the cold war. What a sense of power it must be to sit in an office such as the Presidency of the United and States and believe in your own mind that you sit their by God’s desire. Surely if you believed that, you to would believe that you had the right to force your religious convictions on others as President Bush seems to believe.
The Pilgrims first came to this continent trying to escape King James, who blurred the lines of church and state, and made religious doctrine a matter of law rather than choice. The founders of our nation, while being mindful of their own beliefs, were aware of the need to prevent the church from having control of the laws that would govern us. The first sentence of the first amendment to our constitution tells us that even then they realized that it was important that laws not be made to favor one church or religion, nor to persecute it.
It isn’t easy to respect the views of other people, especially when they don’t agree with your own. What makes this country so great is that not only do we respect the right of every individual to their own beliefs, and opinions, but that we have fought and died for their rights to express them Now, we have a president who would take us back over two hundred years, and not only assert his own religious beliefs on others, but write them into the very constitution that was meant to protect us from such tyranny. I don’t need religion to tell me what is right, and what is wrong. My Mother and Father did that for me, and I do it for myself every day of my life. I certainly don’t need President Bush to do it for me either. I respect his right to believe that my being a lesbian is somehow immoral, or a sin, or perverse, or whatever it is he believes. I disagree with him, but I know he has a right to that belief. I would not want to see a law that denied him the right to express his opinion, nor denied him any rights based on his belief. I just wish he had that kind of respect for me, and for my right to be who God made me.
Disguising Bigotry Behind Morality
If you have been listening to the hype being churned out by the right wing extremists these days about gay rights and same sex marriage, then you know that the reason they believe we must be denied the right to marriage is because we would somehow diminish the concept of marriage itself.
Apparently they believe that allowing two people who love one another, and want the ability to protect their partners in the future both physically and financially, will make the vows of a heterosexual couple somehow mean less. They base their arguments on moral grounds, point at us and call us sinners, as if that were all the explanation that was required to deny us the same rights that they enjoy in their own families. But their arguments lose merit when you shed a little light on them.
What relationship diminishes marriage more: a same-sex couple in a committed and loving relationship who somehow manage to keep their union together without the ties of a legal or moral contract, or a legally married heterosexual couple who have stood in their communities church amongst their friends and family and made vows of commitment, and then broken them? According to these so called “conservatives” definitions of an acceptable candidate for marriage, the only absolute necessity appears to be that you be heterosexual. You can be a murderer, an adulterer, a child molester, a drug dealer, or a thief and still pass their litmus test for being morally adequate to stand in their church and receive blessings on your union to anyone you like, unless they are of the same sex.
They say they are not trying to deny us our civil rights out of hate or religious bias, and they may even believe that. However, until they no longer allow thieves, murderers, adulterers, liars, drug dealers, and divorcees the right to marry it simply will not be a believable argument.
If their opposition were based on anything other than their own personal dislike for our way of life, then these other lifestyles that would be considered even by them to be morally objectionable would be left out in the cold as well.
What makes this even more difficult, is that it is impossible to argue a point with someone who can’t even admit what the point is they are trying to make. How do you confront an issue and work for change when your opponent won’t even admit what they are really fighting you for?
They are making us expend time, money, and energy to prove that same-sex marriage won’t diminish “traditional” marriage, when that’s not the point at all. They know that. They know very well that the couple across from the street from them has no impact on their own marriage vows. If your neighbor cheats on his or her spouse, does that obligate you to do the same? It’s been going on for centuries, and somehow marriage has survived.
The reality is that they choose not accept us for personal reasons, and that is just plain discrimination. It’s not moral high ground.
I recently had to travel to California. It was a 3 month assignment, and while I was there I did your standard tourist stuff. I went to San Fransico, drove up to Tahoe, played golf at some beautiful courses. I made some great friends who I will miss, and I saw some things that made me realize just how far we have to go here in Texas just to catch up to the rest of the country when it comes to acceptance for Lesbians and Gays.
Here in East Texas, when i go out with my partner, whom I have been with for years, we look like two friends out together for a meal or a movie. We never touch, would never dream of holding hands in public, and are careful of any pet names we might call each other. Not only would it not be “accepted”, but it wouldn’t be safe here.
While I was in California, I was astonished when I went out to eat at local restaurants and saw gay and lesbian couples out on dates, openly affectionate to one another. There was nothing over the top. Just a few hands touching across the table, or sitting on the same side in a booth rather than across from each other. What was even more incredible to me was that NO ONE was staring at them (except me, of course).
The other Lesbians at work couldn’t believe that here in Texas you could still be fired just for being gay. That it wasn’t against the law to discriminate based on sexual preference. They all had one simple comment to make to me…… “MOVE”
I have to admit that the idea of moving away from the harshness of life as a gay person where I live was tempting. But, if all we do is pack up and leave, what will change here? Nothing. We shouldn’t have to move away from our families and friends and our jobs, just to have the same rights as others. I love my partner, as much if not more than any heterosexual person that I know loves their spouse. I want so much to be able to provide for her in the same way that my married friends can do for their families. Someday, I will be able to do that, right here in Texas!
It goes without saying that I am an advocate for the rights of Gay and Lesbian people. Being a part of a group that is being discriminated against doesn’t leave you much choice. Of course I want the same rights that everyone else walking down the street has. But, I understand the process we have to go through to get there, and we as a community have started trying to run, before we can even crawl.
Instead of focusing on protecting our jobs, protecting our relationships legally, and gaining the same financial benefits for our relationships as others recieve, we focused on the one aspect of our relationships that many people in this country are most afraid of. We let them take this opportunity to put us in their arena, the religious one. They have turned this question of civil rights, into one that appears to be, at first glance, about religious beliefs. The far right is trying to keep the conservative religious groups in this country enraged, saying that we are trying to force them to “accept” that gay relationships have a place in their church at the alter.
These fundamentalist leaders know that if they can keep the focus on religious beliefs, and off the civil rights issues, they can control their congregations vote. We have to take this fight back out of their arena, and make it about gaining our BASIC civil rights. Protecting our jobs, our right to be with each other in the hospital, our right not to pay mor taxes than they do, our right to provide for each other in retirement.
The religious right has so enraged people against us in Texas, that the proposed amendment that will be voted on here in November not only precludes gay marriage, but would prevent ANY CONTRACTS between same sex couples. They’re not just attacking our right to marry, but trying to close any options for civil unions for us in the future. The wording is so harsh in this amendment, that it could undermine even the legal contracts that we use now to protect our partners.