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What does equality mean? According to the dictionary I keep here at my desk, it’s the noun form of equal, which means “of the same measure, quantity, value, quality, number, degree, or status as another.”  That’s all well and good, right? After all, our founding fathers always talked about all men being created equal.

Except that for a very, very long time, this wasn’t true. The earliest definitions of that phrase meant that all of the white, land-owning men of the world were created equal. From the day that phrase appeared on the Declaration of  Independence, it took over 140 years for women to earn the right to vote. It took another forty years for the Civil Rights Act to be passed. Today, nearly fifty years after that landmark step toward true equality, we find ourselves as a nation looking at the next big leap for human rights, because for many Americans that statement is still untrue.

As I write this, the Supreme Court of the United States is discussing the issue of marriage. That’s right, marriage.

No adjectives necessary.

No adjectives necessary.

You know how that same dictionary defines marriage? “The state of being united to another person as a usually contractual relationship according to law or custom.” Pretty sure there’s nothing in there about restrictions based on religion or gender. Then again, this dictionary was printed in 2004, roughly two thousand years after the source of most of the arguments against marriage equality.

Now a year ago, one of my cousins shared a little note he called “A Conservative Defends Gay Marriage.” It’s a little bit lengthy, but given that it was written during an election season, that’s a bit more understandable. It’ll be included at the end of this post if you’d like to read it. I’d highly recommend it, though I will have to say that I’m quite likely the most liberal member of my family.

This is currently the top social issue dominating our lives here in the United States, when Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, and Sweden already allow same-sex marriage, and similar bills are being considered in Andorra, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Nepal, New Zealand, Taiwan, the U.K., and Uruguay. Why must it take so long for us for us to realize that people are people, and therefore equal regardless of gender, age, race, or orientation?

Another quick history lesson. Until 1967, interracial marriage was still illegal in parts of the United States. It took us three years after passing the Civil Rights Act to allow interracial marriage. Three freaking years. It took less time to assemble the main components of the International Space Station, and that was multiple countries working in cooperation. So seriously, why is it taking us this long to legalize marriage and bring all of the people of the United States into true equality?

Let’s make all people well and truly equal. Maybe then our government can move on to something like, I don’t know, world peace. Hey, I can dream, can’t I?

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“A Conservative Defends Gay Marriage”

“This note has been brewing with me for a while.  As the presidential race drags on, I keep hearing about some candidates and their platforms, some of which include phrases like “defending traditional marriage” or the like.  I think it’s high time that we, as conservatives, get over it.  The divorce rate in this country, as well as our celebrity-obsessed culture and the Kardashians and Britney Spears’ of the world, etc.,  have made much more of a mockery of “traditional marriage” than any gay couple ever could.

As the subject started to rise to prominence over the last 3-4 years, my first, gut reaction to it was “absolutely not.”  Marriage?  Laughable.  But time and reflection have allowed me some perspective, and as a conservative, and as someone who at least tries to be a good Christian, I find that I don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to the notion of gay marriage.  It’s silly to try and claim an institution that is supposed to be a reflection of God’s “binding” two people together (in the religious sense…) can only apply when the couple is one man, one woman.  Love; true, honest, devoted love for another human being, knows no such bounds.

I know that I have gay friends…I would surmise that a vast majority of people in general do (some unknowingly, of course)…some still closeted out of fear for their lives or social and familial status, and some out there waving the rainbow-colored flag.  I don’t want my friends to be defined by their color, religious belief (or lack thereof), sexual orientation or any of that.  If I have ever made any of you feel that way, I sincerely apologize.  It’s never been my intention to make you feel anything less than what you deserve,  and if I have, I’m sorry.  You deserve better than that from me.  I had an uncle that spent years ostracized from our family, all the way to his death, for no other reason than he was gay.  I refuse to perpetuate that any longer.

The point is, there are issues that we face as a country that are FAR, FAR more important than whether gay couples can be married.  We face unprecedented economic problems in this country that affect our daily lives in ways that gay marriage NEVER, EVER will.  It’s not worth fighting over, and if conservatives continue to stump on this issue, it will only serve to keep our message of smaller government and fiscal responsibility out of the ears of millions of potential voters, who instead only hear the bleating and braying of people that ignore the fact that the world has changed, and in my opinion, for the better.

One recent exchange that I was a part of on a friend’s thread here on Facebook was about the issue of gay marriage.  I don’t know the guy that posted the following, but he said, in part:


There are nothing about my rights that are “gay”…quit calling them “gay” rights…just call them rights…and yes I want all of them. Marriage isn’t a business the government should be in on either side. It’s a religious act historically and if there is a separation of church from state than we can’t engage in “marriage” from a government perspective at all. But we want the same rights for our partners and ourselves if we do decide to marry…but let the church decide who they want to marry and we just need to call the rest Civil Unions from a government perspective.

 and I replied:


I was once totally against “gay marriage.” If you ask me, “why?” – I can’t give you a good answer. It just seemed to me that was supposed to be my reaction to it. I’ve totally softened my stance on the issue, and your quote “… let the church decide who they want to marry and we just need to call the rest Civil Unions from a government perspective…” is exactly how I feel. It is up to the church to decide, and if they don’t want to accommodate gay marriage, they shouldn’t have to…just as you are free to find a congregation that WILL welcome you and your partner with open arms. Life is too short to keep perpetuating hate and discrimination against ANYBODY.

 I thought that his perspective was kinda brilliant, and refreshingly honest about the debate.  Marriage IS historically a religious institution.  There are churches that are accepting of gay marriage, and ones that are not.  If being married in a church is important to the couple, the onus is on them to find a congregation that will embrace them.  We can’t make churches bend to societal changes (that pesky separation of church and state thing, you see).  Churches will only adapt  when and IF they need to, or want to.  There’s nothing wrong with that.

I was just reading today (Jan.4th) that a conservative group in Colorado was trying to get the message out promoting civil unions.  The article in the Denver Post included this line:

It shouldn’t be that civil unions and gay marriage can be slotted as Democratic causes or inflammatory Republican talking points. These are human rights issues that ought to cut across party affiliation.

I couldn’t agree more.  I’m tired of social issues being used as political footballs on both sides of the aisle.  It’s unavoidable, I know…due to the fact that both sides will continue to pander to the extreme fringe of their parties, while leaving those who gravitate towards the middle to sway back and forth, never really understanding which party or ideology is for them.

In recent years, it was the abortion debate…another one I’m sick of hearing presidential candidates debate.  I don’t give a damn which candidate is for it, and which is against it.  I just don’t care.  Abortion is a tragic thing, something that no one (I hope at least) decides on a whim.  To hear pro-lifers tell it, women are lining up to have abortions just because they can.  I don’t believe anyone comes to that decision lightly, and if they ultimately decide to go through with it, I’d much rather they could do it safely and legally.  That position makes me both a bad conservative, and a bad Catholic.  Still, it’s how I feel…my opinion.  You’re not going to find me protesting for or against abortion, EVER.  I hope I’m never in the position of having to be party to such a decision. I’d hope that alternatives were discussed, but ultimately, it is not a decision for me to make, especially not on behalf of someone else.

Sadly, I don’t think that there are any conservative presidential candidates who share my perspective on these matters.  So, our side will continue to be portrayed as bigoted, small-minded, homophobic, awful people who want to see the rich get richer and the poor stay poor.  The debate HAS to be about more than these few so-called  hot-button issues, but won’t be because things like economics are boring, non-emotional, mind-numbing…they lack the “sexiness” that we all apparently need in our headlines.

I hope that changes…and soon.  We need to be debating the REAL challenges we face.  The more we argue about things like this, the sooner we are going to find ourselves looking back on what was once the greatest nation, and wondering what the hell happened.”