You say banana and I say tomato…

I’m from New York state. New Paltz (where I received my BA in Theatre) was the first town in the state to recognize same-sex marriage as a right, a point of particular pride for me. This morning I got hammered for expressing an opinion that we should call it simply what it is, Marriage Equality, based on the following meme:

GAY MARRIAGE: The widespread use of the term is in itself a sign of discrimination. After all, who says "I have an interracial wedding on Sunday" anymore?

Facebook meme courtesy of Support Marriage Equality in Ohio

You want to call it Same Sex Marriage? That’s okay, though the phrase cuts out Transgender relationships for what I think are obvious reasons. If you want to hold the line at calling it Gay Marriage, recall, please, that Gay is not a catch-all phrase for the LGBTQ community at large, and I will hold you accountable for leaving out anyone in the discussion.

I’m going there because that’s where this discussion truly belongs. It takes us into territory that we are really only just starting to understand, but avoiding this aspect doesn’t help my trans friends unless we treat every single person as a person REGARDLESS of their orientation.

Sexuality is a trait, just like skin, hair or eye color. You are born Jewish if your mother is Jewish, because being Jewish is a genetic heritage, but you choose to observe (or not) the tenets of Judaism. Christianity is a choice. And if you choose to discriminate based on gender identification because your chosen faith tells you to, that’s still bigotry.

Those who want to withhold the right of marriage for SOME couples are choosing to do it on the basis of a TRAIT they do not believe exists. Being Gay is not a choice. You can’t choose to have green eyes if you were born with blue. Sure, you can choose to cover up that trait with green contact lenses, but that doesn’t change the fundamental fact that you still have blue eyes. And you can choose to marry someone of the opposite sex to reap the benefits obtained through marriage, but that doesn’t make you straight.

Dark skin is not as easy to disguise, but it was (and still is, at some level) the basis of discrimination. Anti-miscegenation laws remained on the books until 1968. It took us 300 years (give or take a bit) for the Supreme Court to take that ugliness on and it’s STILL a problem to this day, but at least now the courts have recognized the discrimination, even if our people haven’t. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miscegenation)

I’m thrilled that we’ve come as far as we have, but there’s still a very long way to go before it becomes safe to say that we are all free to be with and love whomever we want and to share what we have in a legally binding way. All I am saying is that there should NEVER be references to sexual or gender orientation when discussing rights and the law. As the popular saying goes, you don’t need a court system to give you rights. That’s why they’re called rights. I am arguing for equality under the law, regardless.

Marriage is a financial contract committed by people who want to share their lives and livelihoods with each other. In a more sarcastic mood, I would say that every couple has the same right to unhappiness that I have, but I truly know better.

We are starting to hear rhetoric that bothers the hell out of me because it sounds (on the surface) like the bigots have a hook. I want to take that hook away. Equality under the law is the only way to do that. Either everyone has the same rights to marriage or NOBODY does. That simple. Now this blog post, has sparked more, sometimes combative, conversation:

This one will probably get me hate mail from both sides, Gay Marriage

Blogging, in general, consists of opinion sometimes threaded with references to the articles that helped inspire the post in question. WordPress is easy to set-up and allows for free publication – vanity press for the 21st Century. The Cassie Times (this blog) also resides on WordPress. It costs me nothing to write, and you some time to read. It’s where I try to keep my more complex posts, because I like the ability to include multiple references, and that ability sucks in Facebook.

The post in question is a purely op-ed piece, without references to anything concrete. Opinions are free and open, guaranteed by the First Amendment. I haven’t read anything else. His comments about saying that being gay is a lifestyle choice tells me I’m pretty sure I’m not interested in the rest of his opinions, though he does raise several points.

This one in particular:

Why not have a ballot initiatve [sic] that says consenting adults can form a civil partnership that allows visitation rights, joint filing of taxes, parental custody, and coequel property ownership? GASP! But where would be the controversy in that? Then we wouldn’t be able to scream about hatey hate mongers and stuff.

…would be fine except that civil partnerships that aren’t for absolutely every person in the country are the definition of “Separate but Equal” and the moral equivalent of the Whites Only drinking fountain.

If you truly want to argue for civil unions, get yourself to your congressional representatives and argue your case for rewriting our laws or our constitution at the federal level, because anything else fails the test of Equality Under the Law.

State’s Rights has been the traditional bastion of discrimination on the grounds of race, sex and every other separation you can name. Until we abandon its siren call, we will continue to harbor and encourage inequality on all levels of our society. Arguing for Civil Marriage for everyone without actually doing something about it means you keep a class of citizens in their separate place. No matter how you slice it, that’s wrong.

Talking Points Memo: Georgia GOP Chair Warns That Straight People Will Enter Sham Gay Marriages For Benefits

People already get married to reap the benefits of medical insurance and tax shelters. That they are not same-sex is irrelevant. Her point is invalid, unless she wants to come up with a valid test for love. And, since love is often secondary to an arranged marriage (which still happens in this country, depending on the couple’s ethnicity), that point’s invalid, too.

I don’t know about the rest of you and so can’t say that this would be the case for anyone else, but considering the cost of a wedding anywhere, let alone the church-sanctioned variety, I’d think very long and hard before selecting a location or an officiant who did not want to perform my ceremony. Frankly, there’s plenty of fish in the sea, including county clerks (ooh, government again) and justices of the peace who are more than happy to perform such ceremonies. If the priest or church doesn’t want me, I’m pretty sure I don’t want him, either.

The church had nothing whatsoever to do with my marriage, from beginning to end. I have found comfort in belonging to my Unitarian Universalist congregation, and I *might* (or might not) choose a UU minister to serve the next time – if there ever, ever is one – but I would at this point be just as happy to go to the county courthouse and do the deed right there. Having a church-sanctioned wedding and having a legally binding marriage are two totally separate things. The sooner everyone on the religious right stops flapping about rights infringement, the better off we will all be about the issue.
Your argument is (and remains) invalid. While I don’t like the idea of divorce, the act remains legal. Based on NOM’s rhetoric, there are plenty who would be happy to take that right away and turn the USA into Ireland. Fortunately, this country was founded on the separation of church and state for a reason.

And here’s another thing:

The Raw Story: Baptist pastor tells ABC: Same sex marriage is ‘the freedom God has given you’

Because not everyone with religious beliefs thinks same-sex marriage is a problem. And for that, I’m grateful.

1 thought on “You say banana and I say tomato…”

  1. Thank you for including that last bit. It’s a challenging thing, to work for change from the inside. Some of us “babies” are all in favor of cleaning up the “bathwater.”

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