Saturday, November 08, 2008

Gay marriage bans

With the historic election of Barack Obama dominating the news, it seems another story has been overshadowed. Bans on gay marriage have passed in California, Arizona, and Florida. It's a bit of a paradox, where voters overcame racial intolerance nationally, but at the state level discriminated against a group of people who happen to be in a same sex relationship. Religious organizations (primarily evangelicals and the Mormon church) had been instrumental in getting measures against gay marriage on ballots. And it seems a majority of people in this country oppose gay marriage

For me it's difficult to comprehend the problem: two people of the same sex simply wish to enjoy the same rights as heterosexual couples who commit to each other. I understand that there is a sacred aspect to marriage, and to some people whatever is sacred must not be tampered with. But in this case there must be a separation between what one happens to believe religiously or morally and how the state administers to its citizens.

Unfortunately, marriage has a foot in both religious and state affairs, and that's partially where the problem lies. Some might argue that the issue is semantic: many of those who oppose gay marriage do support "civil unions". But a civil union is not recognized across state lines and does not offer the the complete set of rights and acknowledgement that marriage does to a heterosexual couple.

The issue, I fear, is more than semantic. Witness the passage of a ban in Arkansas this past week where both gay and heterosexual couples who are not married have been denied the right to adopt children. From the article in the Times:

"We believe that the best place for a child to grow up is in a stable home with a married mother and father," said Jerry Cox, president of Family Council Action Committee, which obtained 95,000 signatures to place the proposal on state ballots. "But we also believe in blunting a gay agenda that we see at work in other states with regard to marriage and adoption issues."

This is blatant discrimination. If you replace the word "gay" with the word "black" in the last sentence, people would be up in arms. Even worse, this particular ban shortchanges children who need foster care or adoption.

Yes, attitudes in this country have changed much for the better. But they must change even more to afford all people equal treatment.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

What we do for fun

Raiding another state's coastline.

Elly's and John's Beach Sand Stealing Adventure

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