Posts Tagged ‘equality’

The Relationship Vote

May 19, 2011
This piece was originally published in the Grand Rapids Herald-Review
I’ve always thought that our constitution was supposed to enshrine our rights as citizens of this state and this country. So when I heard that the Minnesota Legislature was attempting to pass a bill that would put marriage rights of gay and lesbian couples up to a vote during the 2012 election, effectively making a constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage, I thought that was pretty strange. More specifically, I thought it was outrageous!

First of all, and I see this as something that is very difficult to argue with, it is an incredible waste of time. As it currently stands, same-sex marriage is not legal in the state of Minnesota. The legislative session ends before Memorial Day weekend, and there is still a $5 billion deficit that needs dealing with, but instead the Senate and House are wasting their time debating and having public hearings on whether or not something that is currently illegal should be REALLY illegal.

What’s more unfortunate is that, regardless of the precedent of 28 other states passing similar constitutional amendments, our governing bodies would actively pursue the wanton discrimination of a large percentage of the population of the state, not to mention a member of the State Senate itself.

During the Senate hearing on the bill, Senator Scott Dibble held up a picture of he and his husband on the floor of the Senate on the first day of session, and he asked “What’s so different about us? What’s so dangerous about us?”

Same-sex marriage is allowed in five states in this country. So the question has to be; how has this negatively impacted states such as Massachusetts and Iowa?

But above I disregarded the 28 states that have passed similar amendments, so let’s just never mind what other states are doing. With that in mind, I would ask; how will this bill help Minnesota families?

Will it help create jobs? Will it balance the budget? Will it curb bullying in schools? The answer to those first two questions is ‘no’. There is no data that suggests that making something that’s already against the law against the law forever will have any sort of change on matters it didn’t affect anyway. But how about bullying? Anyone who isn’t aware of the high number of gay and lesbian teens who have committed suicide because of the negative ways they’ve been treated simply because they are gay (and others who were simply perceived to be gay), is either in denial or has been hiding under a rock. So honestly, what do you think this amendment is going to say to the next generation?

Senator Warren Limmer, the author of this bill, has said that the people of Minnesota have a right to vote on this issue, and that with a year and a half between now and the election, they will have the opportunity to have a conversation about it. I personally think Senator Dibble responded to this best, so I’ll just quote him:

“We’re not going to have a conversation. We’re going to have an ugly, angry, divisive campaign… And you know what that campaign is going to look like? It’s going to be about creating disinformation, about half-truths and mis-truths, and complete outright lies about what my family is all about… It’s going to create conjecture, fear, and will divide Minnesotans during this critical time in our economy when we need to be pulling people together.”

The proponents of this bill are quick to say that the people have a right to vote on their definition of marriage. First of all, I call bologna on that. There’s no choice here. The percentage of Minnesotans who think that marriage should be inclusive to all consenting adults have no box to check. The options are simply the status quo or the status quo forever. And that is beside the point that this argument is discrimination disguised as liberty. Limmer and the other proponents of this bill talk about the rights of the people to decide, but they’re deciding on the rights of others. So what about the rights of those whose personal lives are infringed with this vote? If this isn’t making sense, imagine if your marriage or your relationship with your significant other was put up to a vote by those who don’t even know you?

Our country has a history of bigotry against various types of couples, whether they be Lutherans and Catholics marrying, or whites and blacks marrying. It wasn’t that long ago that it was illegal for a black man to marry a white woman in a large number of states in this country. And people were just as adamant about that concept as they are today about same-sex marriage. So what has changed? We’ve simply picked a new group to look down upon; a new group on which to attempt to deny rights.

The argument for same-sex marriage isn’t anything new or bizarre. It is simply asking that consenting adults, who would be allowed to marry someone of the opposite sex, be allowed to marry someone of the same sex, because they found a special person that they want to spend the rest of their lives with. No one is looking for extra rights. Just the same rights as anyone else who found that person who completes them, who will stick with them through good times and bad.

As of this writing, the House has yet to vote on the bill. By all speculations, it seems as if it is going to pass. I hope it doesn’t. I think it would be a shameful mark on the state’s history; a state that has a long history of compassion and inclusiveness. And the ensuing “conversation” will only create more hate and discrimination, because our government has decided that this particular group of Minnesotans aren’t deserving of equality.

My Political Life

September 12, 2010

I called upon the Democrats.

I called upon the Republicans.

I called upon the Greens and the Independents.

I called upon the fuckin’ Tea Party.

I called upon Americans who wave a flag out of habit.

I called upon men and women so I would seem more inclusive.

I called upon the corrupt, who ate their own souls.

I called upon the corrupt, who tried to buy my neighbors soul for dessert, and got a good deal.

I called upon blacks and Hispanics whose culture I co-opted without credit, but ignored this fact and wondered why they didn’t respect me.

I didn’t call upon the Native Americans.

I called upon Democrats and their followers who couldn’t recognize righteousness.

I called upon Republicans and their followers who manufactured and sold righteousness in easy to store containers.

I called upon those whose righteousness judged me.

I called upon the hypocrite who actually lives in all of us (so don’t pretend).

I called upon liberals, conservatives, and whatever you call people in the center, and I forgot what the definitions of each were.

I called upon the gay and straight, and waited.

I called upon the Christian and Muslim who secretly wanted to kill each other who then just came right out and said it because it was never actually a secret.

I called upon those who complain about life’s inequities with a passion.

I called upon life’s inequities.

I called upon those who wish for change.

I called upon the ones who pretend to see change in the same box they’ve always lived in.

I called upon the Asians whom we deny are a superpower, then denied their influence.

I called upon the socialists and communists, who are evil, but I called them anyway.

I called upon the fascists who no longer use that name.

I called upon the system that perpetuates itself.

I called upon the system that we hope to change but don’t understand.

I called upon the system that won’t change.

I called upon myself, but ignored the call.

I called upon myself and hung up, thinking it was a prank.

I called upon the Independents again and laughed at the strange name.

I called upon the angry, then got exhausted.

I called upon the exhausted, then got angry.

I called upon those who call to battle and left a message.

I called upon the rest of the religious, who called back the next day wondering if I had accepted Jesus Christ, Mohammad, Buddha, Shiva, Lord Xenu, or whoever as my personal savior and completely ignored what I had asked.

I called upon deaf ears and finally got an appropriate response.

Letter to Congress

February 22, 2010

I’m a lifelong resident of Minnesota and very proud to be so.

But that’s not why I’m writing to you today.

The other night, I had a long conversation with a dear friend of mine, who, because he’s gay, is unable to be with the man he loves because of restrictive immigration laws. They met in Florida a few years back, but it all ended when a work visa expired and his partner had to return to Jamaica. It was a very emotional conversation, and whereas I knew of his predicament, it wasn’t until that night that I felt the full gravity of what he goes through.

I’ve heard many arguments on both sides regarding why gays and lesbians should or shouldn’t be able to marry. Seeing those arguments unceremoniously presented on paper says one thing, but it’s a different matter all together when you see how these decisions made at the government level affect real people trying to be happy in lives that are looked down upon because of who they are. I’m a strong proponent for GLBT rights, but that night I had a newfound disgust in the pit of my stomach for the plight of so many citizens of this country that we proclaim to be the freest nation on Earth.

As a straight man, who’s been married and is currently going through a divorce, I hadn’t realized exactly what it is I take for granted. Almost on a whim, my wife and I decided to get married. We never thought twice about our ability to do so. So when I saw my friend, finally presenting the agony he’s been feeling for so long, I felt truly ashamed to be able to have certain rights, and take them for granted, while he could only yearn for them.

I’ve decided that I am not going to remarry. If in the near or distant future I find myself with a woman who I love, I will be with her, but I will not reenter an institution that is biased against so many. Not until marriage is an institution that is inclusive to all consenting adults.

At minimum, I urge you to support the Uniting American Families Act that will allow my friend to sponsor his partner. But truly, I urge you to do all in your capacity as a representative from Minnesota to create equality for all citizens: straight or gay.

Thank you very much for your time.

(If you agree that there are unjust laws in this country, I ask each and every one of you to do at least the minimum you can, and write a letter yourself.)

Perhaps We Think About Homosexual Too Much

February 20, 2010

I can’t help but think at times about how hung up we all are about sex. I say “we” as in the proverbial “we,” as in no one is excluded. We use sex for everything; it’s pretty much just like any other commodity. Women use sex to get guys to do what they want. Men use sex (for everything). Advertisers use sex to sell just about anything short of baby food. Why? Because we love it!

But it’s not without its hang-ups. Specifically, I’m thinking sex and how it pertains to homosexuals.

Over a matter of time in our little history in this country, we’ve watched homosexuals struggle for equal rights, slowly coming out of the closet full of fear of what the ignorant and angry might do to them. And slowly they’ve had less and less to fear by means of retaliation for their… well, for being them. But I’ve had a hard time trying to grasp onto the WHY. Why are homosexuals so disliked? Why do people get disgusted with them, to the point of hatred sometimes? It just doesn’t seem to make sense.

But then I thought about it some more. I think it’s because they’re called homoSEXUALS. These people, who’s faces cringe at the thought of a homosexual couple, can’t distinguish the 95% of their lives they spend doing the same things everyone else does, such as go to work, cook dinner, go shopping, from what they do that last 5% of the time: have sex (by the way, I wish we were all so lucky as to have sex for 5% percent of our life!).

From the heterosexual’s point of view, they don’t want to think about that! But they do. But really, they should stop it. That’s sick! I don’t go up to couples walking down the street and to their face act horrified by the idea of what they do in the bedroom.

But I won’t blame this whole thing on heterosexuals being scared of what they don’t understand. I think this whole thing can be taken care of right now with a simple twist in semantics. I propose that instead of homosexuals, we now use the term homolovables. Because, let’s face it, that 5% quote above, even that’s a stretch. But especially to our GLBT brethren out there who are in committed relationships, they spend far more of their time in love.

That’s my proposition. Homolovables: Say it with me! I say we all get our heads out of the gutters and start treating people like people; ie. how we want to be treated. I’d like to think we’re all adult enough to stop playing foolish games like denial of equal rights just because someone’s different. Haven’t we gone through all that already?