Why Gay Marriage? All We Want Is Equal Treatment

Gay Kiss
For years, the right wing has wrongly accused the gay movement of seeking special rights. At no time has our struggle for equal rights been more transparent than in the fight to legalize marriage for gays and lesbians.
Those who push civil unions as a solution to the dilemma sicken me. To offer civil unions to some citizens and marriage to others is simply un-American. The only way to advocate for civil unions is to concurrently abolish marriage for all. Our rule of law has been interpreted as “separate but equal is not equal.” How much more simply do you need the law explained?
Not only are civil unions unconstitutional, they are unworkable. Allow me relate the following example: My friend Charlie and his partner have been civilly unionized and, thanks to that law, his partner is covered under Charlie’s union health insurance. However, at tax time Charlie received notification from the feds that he was responsible for an extra $10,000 of income for that coverage. As a married couple, the coverage would not be taxable income. That, my friends, is not even separate-but-equal. That is institutionalized second-class citizenship.
Before you misinterpret my arguments, let me clearly say that I am not asking for your or society’s approval of my love life. I do not need or seek your opinion of homosexuality at all. What I need – no, demand – is the full protection under the law that my status as a taxpaying citizen earns. In the words of Nina Simone, “You don’t have to live next to me. Just give me my equality.”
Instead of a reasonable discussion of law, the debate over marriage has been reduced to a cacophony of selective Bible quotes, social doctrine, psychological misinformation and naked prejudice. Do you want to know what marriage law is really about? Ask anyone who has been divorced: Property rights are the root of these laws. It is ridiculous to assert that the state has any interest or business in “holy matrimony.” Looking for something holy from government makes as much sense as shopping for art in a hardware store.
The good-thinking citizens of Massachusetts have shared the legal right of marriage with their gay and lesbian families for some years. Thus far, they’ve not been visited with predicted plagues or righteous retribution.
Rather, according to all reports, the state has found the amending of their laws a non-event. People are happy. The state flourishes. The Earth remains steady under their feet. But instead of accepting the facts of that excellent example, we are still tortured with superstitious lies that the acceptance of homosexual citizens will diminish the bonds of heterosexual ones. It’s as silly as someone watching an airplane soaring overhead while proclaiming, “If God meant man to fly, he would have given him wings.” The rightness of equal marriage laws is no longer a matter of opinion. It is measurable visible fact.
Equal marriage rights are going to be the law of the land sooner or later. We can waste time, energy and billions of tax dollars fighting the inevitable, but America was founded on ideals of fairness and equality. Those principles will win the war.
How long the wrong-thinking want to drag the battle out is up to them. But they have already lost. Right is on our side.
from The Hartford Courant / Harvey Fierstein

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