Tag Archives: gay marriage

Gay Rights: Right Now

Last week, President Barack Obama finally came around and endorsed gay marriage. It’s now a platform on the national stage, which I never would have seen happening 10 years ago.

It was 14 years ago that Matthew Shepard was found beaten to death on a lonely stretch of fence in Laramie, Wyoming. I will never forget that story, or learning of it.

On a long-view perspective of who we’ve been as a people, and for how many centuries, I’m proud of how far we’ve come in such a short time. Here we are, gay marriage as a platform in the 2012 American elections. Wow.

But as someone living in the moment, looking around, I know that every day some act against some gay someplace keeps the scales of justice tilted, and no matter how far along we are, when the laws keep saying They Are Not Really Equal, then the haters keep having reason to believe they’re in the right, that gays are different.

And they’re not. Gays who want to marry are just more people who want security, love, companionship, romance, and a ring on the finger. Gender shouldn’t matter.

It’s not about religion, because religion isn’t supposed to be a part of the constitution. What you believe, you have every right to believe, but it’s not something to govern a multicultural nation under.

There’s a reason church and state were separated in the birth of the United States. After all, America was formed by people who largely left their home to avoid persecution for practicing their faiths. The last thing they wanted was for the country to be ruled by anyone’s religions, since they knew on a personal level how individual such beliefs were.

So, if religion can’t be a part of the argument, and God gave everyone free will, and the constitution declares all people are equal, then it seems to me the answer’s pretty simple: Gay marriage is a question between consenting adults, and a matter for a tax attorney. Wake up and smell the new millennium.

For me, it’s simple. I believe opposing LGBT rights isn’t just denying the right to marry, it’s endorsing hate.

By disallowing equality, we are suggesting that LGBT persons are lesser-thans, that they don’t deserve protection, fairness, kindness, or a life lived unharassed.

And nothing could be further from the truth.

If God disapproves of gay marriage, then let him sort that out in the afterlife, that’s his job, not yours. Here on Earth, let people use the free will Christians so loudly proclaim was God’s first gift to man.

The hypocrisy sickens me.

Can we just evolve now?

Pride Day in Vancouver

The Canadian government has been keeping its nose out of people’s bedrooms since 1969. Since then, any consenting adults could have any sex they like, provided the participants were of legal age, not dead, and not an animal. Basically.

From the Canadian Encyclopedia:

From Confederation to 1969, under Canada’s criminal law, homosexuality was punishable by up to 14 years in prison. In 1969 the law was amended by exempting from prosecution 2 consenting adults of at least 21 years of age who engaged in these “indecent acts” in private. Since then, the speed of social change in attitudes toward homosexuality has accelerated because of general tolerance (eg, for common-law couples and single parents) and organized gay liberation campaigns.

Many Canadians no longer consider homosexual acts “indecent.” At the time of the 1985 edition of this encyclopedia, one province and several cities had enacted laws against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. By 1996 the majority of Canadian provinces had legislated against discrimination, as is also the case in the internal rules of numerous public and private institutions ranging from churches to universities to Canada Post to major banks. The Canadian military have gone much further than the American military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy by banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. When the age of consent for vaginal and oral sex was lowered to 14 in the criminal code, consent for anal sex remained at 18, until a high court decided in 1995 that this distinction unlawfully discriminated against homosexuals.

Gay rights have taken a long time to evolve, despite that forward-thinking law. Vancouver, however, has been considered a very “pro-gay” city for a long, long time.

Some could argue there are aspects of the “noses out” policy that are lip-service more than reality, and cite examples like Little Sisters’ Bookstore’s epic legal battles to get materials across the border without being tapped with some vague obscenity legalities.

They’d be right, too.

But today we celebrate how far we’ve come, and we’ve come a long way, baby.

My best friend’s been out for 10 years now. Mostly out, anyhow. Mostly’s pretty good, when it involves his career and community services. The only people who don’t know would seem to be choosing ignorance, at this point.

And that still happens.

Tomorrow, we worry about that.

Tomorrow, we remember that there are places gays don’t marry, don’t get accepted, can’t live out loud, and have to fear repercussions for being themselves.

Tomorrow, we acknowledge the idiocy that is religious sanctimony that believes “gay” can be doctrined out of ungodly homosexuals.

Tomorrow, we remind ourselves that even in forward-living towns like Vancouver, gay-bashings happen, discrimination continues, and education needs improving.

Today’s about it being today. It’s about the fact a gay female judge can flirt with the girl contestants on a mainstream show like American Idol and it not won’t be a controversy. It’s about gay marriages gaining steam in America. It’s about men holding hands in the streets without being worried about the average person attacking or slandering them.

Today, it’s about the change we’ve seen, so that, tomorrow, when we’re daunted by how far is left to go, we can know it’s less a journey than it once was, and that’s something to take pride in.

Today, it’s also about being proud to be a Canadian, and living in a country that said, 41 years ago, that governments had no right to tell anyone who they could love.

That’s what today’s about.

Pride, baby.

Happy 10th, M, and anyone else who’s come out at work, with friends, or with family. Way to represent.


Not Right Now: “No” on Gay Marriage

Amidst the euphoria of Obama’s rise last night, every referendum on gay marriage was voted down.

Gay rights activists are going to be broken-hearted today. I know. You want what you want when you wanted it. You want America to be ready. You think it’s so obvious, so elementary, so how could anyone who understands what love is reject your right to it?

45 years ago, a black preacher delivered a sermon on a mount. He was gunned down the next day, shattering hearts and minds around the world and reinforcing perceptions worldwide that race was a divide America might not be able to cross.

24 years ago, another young black preacher ran for the highest office of the land and barely made it out of the starting gate before two things became apparent: One, he wasn’t the guy for the job, or two, the time wasn’t ripe for black Americans to have that apple to pluck from the tree.

Less than 24 hours ago, a young black lawyer led his party to one of the most decisive political victories of modern times in a vote heard, and cheered, all around the world.

But…

Ten years ago, a young man named Matthew Shepherd was beaten nearly to death and then left to die hung up on a Wyoming fence. Continue reading