Should gay Americans have the same civil rights as straights?
It started in the Netherlands and other European countries. Then Canada allowed all of its citizens — even its gay citizens — to marry. A few months ago, the Massachusetts Supreme Court found that the Commonwealth could not deny its gay citizens the equal rights guaranteed them under the Massachusetts Constitution and ordered the State to issue marriage licenses to all its citizens in May 2004. Last weekend in San Francisco over Valentine’s Day, thousands of gay men and women have joyfully celebrated their marriages — the first women to marry had been together for 51 years — while right-wing groups have scrambled to try to get the courts to stop them.
The right wing is frantically trying to stop these marriages, fearful that the “sanctity” of their own marriages will somehow suffer if two complete strangers who love each other and have committed their lives to each other get the same rights as death-row prisoners and a drunken Brittany Spears. Thus far, the results have been mixed, and the court battles continue.
It’s easy to understand the principle that gay Americans, like all Americans, deserve equal rights, including the right to marry. So why has this not happened before now? And who is trying to stop it? And although most Massachusetts citizens support equality under the law for gay people in their state, why do most Americans still oppose it?
Could it be that most Americans just don’t understand that civil marriages, including rights and obligations provided the State, are different from religious marriages where churches can continue to forbid any marriage they choose? Is it plain old-fashioned bigotry? Is it just because people resist something “new and different” (as many Americans resisted desegregation of the schools and allowing women the right to vote)?
Or is there something to their arguments? Senator Santorum believes that gay marriages will lead to incest, polygamy, and something he calls “man on dog.” Why is the right wing so obsessed with sex? When will they support getting government out of our bedrooms and support freedom and equality for all?
It’s a very tough position to defend, but the Family Research Council is one of those organizations that has devoted themselves to do whatever they can to stamp out gay marriage (as well as gay civil unions). Join me this Friday as I debate Peter Sprigg, Director for the Center of Marriage and Family Studies at the Family Research Council.
Don’t hesitate to call in. Ask him tough questions. I plan to.
Or, if you disagree with me, ask me tough questions. Bring it on!