If you are in a state that has marriage equality on the ballot this year, I would like you to read and think about the following:
I’m no longer wearing my wedding ring. It’s my own personal protest. I’ll wear my ring again when it’s legal for two adults regardless of sexual orientation to marry and have the same rights I enjoy anywhere in United States.
On the ballot in several states are referendums to either outlaw or legalize same sex marriage. It’s not as insidious a discrimination as some, but it is still a separation from the rights that some enjoy because some think that ‘one penis, one vagina’ is the right marital ratio.
Is this a new view I enjoy? No. I haven’t worn my wedding band for about two months now. But I do think it’s worth telling you about, because it’s up to each one of us to take a stand against discrimination in all of its various forms.
I realized I needed to do something when I had a conversation this past Mother’s Day with my mom. Somehow we got on the topic of what I thought about marriage.
“I like mine,” I said. “I think it’s great.”
“Not that one,” my mother replied. I not so secretly knew what she was fishing for.
“Well, if you’re talking about homosexual marriage I’m all for it,” I told her.
As you can probably imagine, the conversation went downhill from there. After about 3 minutes of explaining how (a) I don’t see any other marriage threatening mine and that (b) the book she would refer to was written 6,000 years ago and some things have changed, my mother said that I must be busy. She advised me that I must have some things to tend to, and that she would talk to me later. I let her off the hook by telling her that there were always more things to be done. I can only presume we both continued our Mother’s Day wondering where the other had gone wrong.
There are those who argue that they don’t want marriage “redefined”. That’s bunk. Marriage has been redefined several times. The trivia hound in me would like you to take a look. Here are just a few instances for people to get married that have been acceptable throughout history:
- Financial: Two families coming together, usually one of which brings money
- Procreation: A Jewish marriage commandment is to have children (which might have been a good idea 6,000 years ago – but unnecessary now with 7 billion on the planet)
- Conquering: some of the spoils of war have been taking the womenfolk and making them wives, although it was closer to slavery
- Power: The joining of two families as a means of changing the social status of at least one of the participants
- and then there’s Love: This hasn’t always been the most popular reason for marriage, in fact aristocrats used to think that marrying for love would doom a coupling to a downfall due to adultery. Cynics.
Some people would have you believe that there is another category that can be created that would be “just as equal” as marriage for these couples. “Just as equal” is not equal. If heterosexual couples are willing to give up their rights (rights to hospital visitation, rights to marital property, etc.) and no one is married anymore, I would be more willing to listen to their side of the conversation. Until then, everyone deserves the right to be just as unhappy as all the combatants on ‘The Jerry Springer Show’ – or as happy as my wife and me.
Speaking of my better half, she’s Asian. If you’ve met me you’ll notice that I’m so white, I’m probably half albino. In the early part of the last century our interracial marriage would have been met with outrage, and in some parts of the country would have been illegal. Braver people than me saw fit to change the cultural landscape to allow my wife and me to have the life together that we want. I believe it is our time to change that landscape once again, and in some small way pay it forward.
If these views make you like me a little less, so be it. I think this is the time to take a stand against all kinds of discrimination. If these views make you like me a little more, so be it. You can high five my ringless left hand next time you see me.
(As a reminder, if you’re on the phone with my mom and want to end the chat, just bring up your support for gay marriage and *snap* – it’s over.)