May 17, 2006 was the two year anniversary of marriage equality in Massachusetts. Tom Lang, his husband Alex and others gathered at the state house steps to hold a sign thanking, and reminding the people of this commonwealth of the responsibility to be ever vigilant in the struggle for freedom.
This fight has never been about marriage, it was always about prejudice against gays and lesbians. The arguments against discrimination have been played out on KnowThyNeighbor.org to their fullest, and go ignored and unanswered by the opposition to equality.
Some have said that gays should not be allowed to get married because it is against God. Citizens of the United States are given freedom of choice in religion, and because our citizenship is so very diverse we protect those choices. Laws are not to include religious bias, so that one group cannot have control over another, and we can keep the delicate balance that protects all of us from having to defend our beliefs.
One of those beliefs is not to believe. Atheism is a belief of some, and while I don't follow that belief I am left with a question pertinent to the argument over gay marriage. If you don't believe in God, why would you be held to believe by the law? The Christian right has bullied its way into the government, and one of the first things it has done is go after people's ability to choose paths that conflict with their beliefs. By putting into law that civil marriage is between a man and a woman our government would be saying to its citizens that they have to accept God as a reality in their lives whether they want to or not. That is not acceptable. Once this Pandora's box is open it will be hard to define where our limits should then be.
Thomas Jefferson, in his 1st inaugural address in 1801 said, "Although the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable. The minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression". Again and again this same sentiment is repeated in our constitutions throughout our states, all people are created equal, and given the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Happiness for some is the choice to enter a same sex relationship, marriage, and have families. How important should the opinions of others be in this decision? The evidence suggests that morality is too subjective a matter for government to control or regulate. This is where this argument should end.
Our country has been made great by being free and by learning from our individualities. Ending marriage equality our society sends a clear message of hate to our children and the rest of the world. It implies that sometimes hate is OK, and we have nothing to gain from the gay community. The great majority of our country has not educated itself on this subject, but they are beginning to. The religious right and their allies against marriage equality do not simply want to end gay marriage, they want to put the gay community back in the closet. It is so very important to make that distinction so that we can see clearly their homophobic agenda. As people begin to see what is going on and understand what is at stake, I stand proudly with the winds of change at my back, welcoming the social progress our forefathers knew we had in us.
One day we will have a country that prides itself on social equality for all, not just the majority, and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream will be fulfilled.