What a difference one year makes. Last year, the day following Election Day was mainly one of excitement, of amazement and of course, hope, although the blow of the Prop 8 decision in California tempered the enthusiasm of Obama's election.
Waking up this morning to learn that Maine's voters had decided to reject the state's law allowing gay marriage was in sharp opposition to the feeling I had last year at this time. I just cannot believe we have a system in our country which allows people to decide the civil rights of others. What gives one person the power over another to decide who deserves equality and who doesn't? We would never have put a decision related to interracial marriage to the votes of the people during the civil rights movement; why is it okay for people in this day and age to decide who can marry whom?
I've seen so much of the press coverage following this vote and honestly, it just depresses me. I cannot believe people--including those from outside the state of Maine--would have invested so much time and money in furthering hatred and discrimination. For what?
I hear constantly how gay marriage undermines the sanctity of traditional marriage.
Well, guess what?
So does divorce.
And so does adultery.
But so many of those people championing the sanctity of traditional marriage have either committed adultery or been divorced. Why is it ok for celebrities to get married and divorced as often as Cher gets her face fixed, yet that doesn't undermine the sanctity of traditional marriage but gay marriage does?
Why does what one couple does in their own home threaten what another couple does in theirs? None of my friends have ever expressed concern that my relationship undermines their marriages. And you know why? Because, plain and simple: it's nonsense.
Sadly, this is going to be a longer and harder fight than anyone even imagined. The discussions related to DC recognizing same-sex marriages at one point seemed like a slam dunk, yet I believe the opposition will be clearly emboldened by the Maine decision. And any time gay marriage gains the upper hand because of a decision made by a legislature or by a court, the action of "activist judges" will be overturned by the vote of a populace filled with hate and ignorance, of the "I'm better than you are" attitude.
Even if I buy the argument that marriage is seen as a religious ceremony and people's opposition is based on religious beliefs, how can people still vote against laws banning discrimination against gay people, or vote against hate crime bills? No person ever deserves to be beaten up for walking down the street, run over a car or left to die hanging from a fence in the wild. Is this really 2010 that we're still seeing this type of violence?
If I am less of a citizen than some, then can I pay less taxes? Can I have less of a responsibility for the world around me? Because from where I sit, it doesn't seem all that fair to be told I can have half the rights at the same price.