Saturday, November 17, 2012

Same Sex Relationships: Getting It Right

Let's start with a basic premise, shall we? The same bigoted views that were used to criminalize marriage between whites and people of color are the very ones being leveraged in the demonization of gay marriage. And just as biblical texts were used to justify slavery, they continue to be used against the LGBTQ community, sadly, often by groups who experience the gut-churning gnaw of oppression, so old and embedded that we feel it in our bones... and thus, should know better. From talking with so very many of you, I'm sure I'm not the only one who detects a caustic and pernicious irony lurking here.

That being said, every once in a while, as an aggregate people, we tend to get it right. Every once in a while, folks with righteous voices who believe in the sanctity of fundamental human rights step up to the plate and deliver. In such cases, and at such times, it feels pretty damn good to know that wiser, fairer, more rational perspectives sometimes wrest control from the rabid, roiling hatred of conservative activists, and ultimately prevail. 

It seems to me that there's a continued rising affirmation of everyone's human right to choose her or his own spouse, and by extension, the activities they enjoy, in a climate free from the strangleholds of bias and homophobia. This is a good thing, since believe it or not, there are still some jurisdictions in the US wherein oral sex and anal penetration are jailable offenses, even when carried out between straight, consenting husbands and wives. 

According to recent polls, at least 51 percent of US citizens now support marriage for members of the LGBTQ community. To render such matters even more delicious, this past Election Day we re-elected a President who stands up for marriage equality, and saw Maryland and Maine, together with Washington D.C. join the growing list of locales - nine to date - voting in favor of marriage rights for all. Kudos and thank you to the citizens of those jurisdictions, who used the quiet eloquence of the ballot to underscore the obvious, that consenting adults in a democratic society ought to NEVER be denied their inalienable rights to privacy, equality, and indeed, the right to marry any adult they choose.

What'll this mean for senior LGBTQ couples? I hope it means that, at least in those nine states and D.C. many will choose to exercise their new freedom, if marriage is what they want for themselves, and that they'll realize their dream at last. But the truth is this: having the right to do so is way more important than whether or not couples ultimately decide to use it. And in the end, social justice is sweet, don't you know? Even when it's hard won and so very precious little at a time.

How have your own life's challenges sensitized you to the struggles of others whose sexual orientation is different from your own?

photo credit: <a href="">Andy Wilkes</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

photo credit: <a href="">david_shankbone</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>

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