Thursday, November 1, 2012

Lets Redefine Marriage

American progress has been characterized by redefining our notions of equality. When we founded this nation equality was limited to white males and freedom was limited by the color of your skin. As we have grown as a nation we have redefined these words and we are better for it. Slowly, we changed our understanding of freedom to include all races not just people of European descent. If we had not changed our definition of freedom to include all people we would still have slaves today.

We also changed our definitions of equality. No longer do we treat only white men as equal. We have expanded our definition of equality to include all races, women, and men. If we had not women would still be forbidden from voting and segregation would still plague our society.

Social progress is itself defined as changing the definitions of our most sacred institutions to create a more equal and loving society. This is one of the greatest things about our Nation. Despite our history of discrimination and hate, we have grown as a nation to become more accepting of outsiders and different points of view. Over and over we have redefined words such as equality and freedom to become more inclusive of the differences between us.

And history has not looked kindly upon those who have fought to maintain the status quo. We look back with disgust upon those who refused to redefine freedom because they wanted to own slaves. We look back with shame upon those who believed the word equality could not handle people of different races coexisting. And today we remember with embarrassment those who thought equality did not include the voting rights of women.

Redefining words has been the driving force of American history and progress. The next step is to redefine Marriage to make that word more inclusive. Those who oppose redefining marriage try to hide their hate and bigotry through thinly veiled excuses. If history is any sign, future generations will not remember their excuses but they will remember their hate and look back with shame upon those who fought equality.

So let us redefine marriage today. Let us redefine it to be more inclusive of all people. Perhaps marriage was traditionally between a man and a woman. But, we as a society can grow beyond that and show our gay and lesbian brothers, sisters, friends, acquaintances, and strangers that they are equal members of our society. Let us redefine marriage to show them that we respect their love and commitment to each other. Let us redefine marriage to show that we respect their relationship as being equal to ours. And let us redefine marriage so that our children will grow up in a more loving and accepting community.

And lets not listen to the excuses that people use to hide their hate and bigotry. Gays and Lesbians will continue to raise children whether or not we grant them the right to be equal and marry. The law does not prohibit people from adopting children or raising their own out of wedlock children based on who they love. Churches and the religious who oppose gay marriage will not be forced to change their own beliefs. Even if the state recognizes gay marriage that does not force churches to marry everyone or force the religious to change their beliefs about marriage. And children will continue to be taught in school about gay couples whether or not they have marriages or domestic partnerships. Preventing gay marriage does not simply remove from society all the loving gay and lesbian partnerships that exist. They will continue to love each other whether or not we as a society grant them the right to marry. These are merely excuses used by bigots to cover up the fact that they want to deny equal rights to gays and lesbians because they disapprove of their lifestyle. So if you are planning to vote against redefining marriage at least be honest with yourself that you are doing so out of your own personal bigotry and ask yourself whether you really want to be on that side of history.

For those of us who choose not to vote for or against gay marriage because we are not gay and don’t have a stake in the fight, think again. What if those who did not own slaves and were not slaves chose to be apathetic and not fight to redefine freedom? What if Lincoln decided that since he wasn't a slave he didn't have to do anything about it? What if those people who did not face segregation simply ignored it and did not support fighting to redefine equality? What if those who could vote didn't use their vote to elect officials who would change the definition of voter to include women? An integral part of the American fight for positive change is the support of those who already have equal rights and are in power. Every person who does not have a stake in the fight and fails to vote for equal rights actually votes against equal rights. Because the bigots who fight against equality for minorities are going to vote and the only way to protect the rights of minorities is for those of us in the majority to join in and fight for their rights.

Opponents of marriage equality say that we can’t change marriage because it would redefine the word marriage. Well I say yes, let us redefine marriage.  Senseless adherence to a tradition that harms people is wrong and not the American way. Our social progress has been punctuated by those moments where we have redefined words away from their traditional non-inclusive meanings. So let us support the greatest American tradition of progress by redefining marriage to be more inclusive by voting yes on Referendum 74.
Approve Referendum 74

No comments:

Post a Comment