Monday, March 26, 2007

Painful Irony

Maybe it’s the rain. Or the post vacation let down.

But coming back to read how one of the first statements out of the new State Senate President in Massachusetts, Therese Murray, was that she was going to have a vote on same sex marriage? Up or down, she declared.

Made my stomach hurt.

It's not that simple. Only fifty votes- far less an a democratic majority- are required to send a ballot to the people to vote on a constitutional amendment making gay marriage illegal. Fifty out of two hundred Legislators can vote to send this to a popular vote.

Um... being gay has never really been popular.

The majority gets to vote on a minority’s right.

We sat at breakfast with the kids on Saturday morning and tried to explain why someone in Maine had to adopt her partner in order to get the basic benefits of being a family. In this case? A big inheritance was at stake. There was no other way for the two to guarantee what a simple marriage would have guaranteed. They did the only thing they could. One adopted the other. (“Legal Convolutions for Gay Couples,” NY Times Editorial, 3/24/07)

Problem is, now they want to get divorced. But you can’t really get divorced if you were never married. Bigger problem? How do you reverse an adoption? What does that mean?

Why would you do that? Zachary asked.

They had no other choice, Allan explained. Marriage for people who happen to be the same sex is illegal everywhere but in Massachusetts.

No, wait, can you explain that again? Jake asked, clearly confused.

It doesn’t make any sense, I said to him. That’s why it’s so hard to understand. Why would people adopt someone when all they want to do is marry them?

You can’t ever take away adoption, I added. I adopted you, Mom adopted Zach and Ben and that can never, ever change. Grandma adopted me. That never changed.

It doesn’t make any sense, Zachary said.

No. It doesn’t.

Will there be two classes of gays and lesbians in this state? Or will my marriage be annulled by the state because I’m a lesbian? If banning same sex marriage is put on a ballot, will my neighbors support me? It’s easy to joke about marriage, the ol’ ball and chain, when you have the right, have always had it and no one is ever going to threaten to take it away.

Does that mean you get to judge me? Cast a vote to decide if I’m… good enough? Moral enough?

Do I have to be a pretty enough, middle class, non-threatening, pearl wearing, PTO parent to be acceptable?

Do I have to stay married to have the right? Are the standards for my acceptance higher than everyone else’s?

Do they understand that to call it ‘something else’ ends up with a nightmare situation like the courts are now faced with in Maine?

Maybe I’m crazy but I don’t believe the majority has the right to vote on my rights. Happened before in history- people were denied the right to practice their religion because it wasn’t what the majority thought was acceptable.

And you know what? People left. Know where they went?


Established a country based on freedoms. Because theirs had been denied. Over and over.

The Declaration of Independence states:

“In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury.”

Ironic, isn’t it?

But when it’s your rights on the line? It’s hard to laugh.

It just makes your stomach hurt.


Post a Comment

<< Home