Almost there...

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Gay marriage is the segregation battle of the new millenium. Right now we're entering the "separate but equal" phase. Yesterday, the Massachusettes Supreme Court ruled that "Barring an individual from the protections, benefits and obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a member of the same sex violates the Massachusetts Constitution." They've delayed the official legalization of gay marriage for 6 months as part of the ruling. Now the Governor is leaping into action to formally define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, and to create a separate "civil union" for gay people. The religious right is in a frenzy again trying to stop it because "marriage is sacred!". I sincerely have to contest how sacred marriage is if you can have it done at a drive through window, but whatever. Oh, and there's the whole issue of the history of the Christian church where marriage wasn't a sacrament until the 11th century and couldn't even be performed inside the church until then. But yes, I understand, this is a big adjustment to the religious right who doesn't seem to be aware of history beyond (well, being generous,) the American Revolution. But going beyond the needs of a particular church, because any church can define marriage any way they choose as far as I'm concerned, the bigger issue is how marriage is defined by the state. In the view of the government, being married provides several civil benefits. It's wrong for those civil benefits to be limited to a union between only a man and a woman. The government must keep a separation between church and state. If a preson wants to marry someone of the same sex, the government shouldn't be able to prevent that on the basis of a given government official's belief system. Morality is relative depending on your religious beliefs. Civil rights transcend specific religious restrictions. If there's one religion on earth that believes same sex partners can be legally married, then the state has no right to deny that union strictly on that basis that it's between individuals of the same sex. And I can tell you right now, the Theoxinia Olympikos recognizes gay marriage.

Nevertheless, it seems that even though the lesson is laid out in precedent as plain as day (Plessy v. Ferguesson's "separate but equal" was trounced Brown v. Board of Education's "inherently unequal"), we're going to have to step through the entire process again. I will be interested to see if it all plays out within my lifetime.

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