Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite Save As Favorite View Article Stats
8 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Marriage vs. Civil Unions: Separate Is Never Equal

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

Headlined to H2 1/10/10

Become a Fan
  (19 fans)

opednews.com

The New Jersey State Senate recently rejected a bill that would have legalized same-sex marriage in the Garden State.

Some people try to justify this state-sponsored discrimination by saying that same-sex marriage isn't necessary in New Jersey because that state offers civil unions for gay couples who want to enjoy similar benefits.

But they don't want to call it marriage. They want to maintain a heterosexual monopoly on the word "marriage". It's "separate but equal", they might say. But I contend that separate is never equal.

Having a separate institution for committed same-sex couples is no more equal than were the black alternatives to the whites-only facilities of the Jim Crow era. True equality is just not possible where you have an "us" vs. "them" dichotomy.

Many people cite religious reasons for opposing marriage equality for same-sex couples. They say that the Bible condemns homosexuality. It's the word of God, they say, and as good "Christians" they must live by it. However, the Bible also condones slavery, and forbids working on the Sabbath under punishment of death. I have yet to see the homophobes in recent decades give equal time to these other "words of God".

But that should be a moot argument anyway in this nation. You see, the religious apologists fail to recognize -- or refuse to recognize -- the fact that the U.S. was not founded as a Christian nation. They conveniently ignore the language of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which explicitly prohibits the government from establishing a religion, and which protects each person's right to practice -- or not practice -- any faith without government interference. In other words, you cannot impose your own religious beliefs on others. So religion is not a sound justification on which to judge the validity of civil marriage.

Some opponents of same-sex marriage like to repeat the tired old talking point that allowing gay couples to wed would destroy the institution of marriage. But they can't really answer the question of how. Anyone who feels that his own heterosexual marriage would be threatened if gays could marry obviously has some very deep personal issues that cannot be fixed through legislation. I know a number of gay couples in loving, monogamous relationships that have lasted much longer than my heterosexual marriage did. Could this be what really scares the bigots?

Why can't the homophobes just live and let live? Why must they point a finger at others and judge what their neighbors can and cannot do in the privacy of their own relationships? How would those homophobes feel if the shoe were on the other foot and someone tried to tell them whom they may or may not marry?

And so I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes on the subject, by James Carville: "I was against gay marriage until I found out I didn't have to have one."

 

Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)
 
Add this Page to Facebook!   Submit to Twitter   Submit to Reddit   Submit to Stumble Upon   Pin It!   Fark It!   Tell A Friend
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Follow Me on Twitter

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

No Excuse for Racial Profiling

No, Dan, America is Not a Christian Nation

Tea Party Talking Points, Translated

The Myth of the Christian Right

Racism Then and Now

What Sarah Palin Didn't Tell Us

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
7 people are discussing this page, with 8 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Why is it that many people feel that it is doing e... by Suzi on Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 11:25:54 AM
We have an excessively fragmented society right no... by Siegfried Othmer on Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 11:52:13 AM
You said it exactly. The whole problem with the co... by Starbuck on Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 1:42:07 PM
I seek not physically harm to any one and would no... by Stephen Forbush on Sunday, Jan 10, 2010 at 12:11:18 PM
Has been refuted long ago, yet people try to use i... by Rev Justin D Spears on Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 12:18:41 PM
I see you are a "universalist". What exactly do yo... by Reverend Anthony Wade on Wednesday, Jan 20, 2010 at 1:19:41 PM
Two pluses (or minuses for that matter) can genera... by Walter Barton on Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 4:04:44 PM
I've had both to the same person. First there was ... by Walter Barton on Monday, Jan 11, 2010 at 3:51:24 PM