Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Consequences of inequality

Marriage equality will be an issue in the 2008 US elections, not just because of the ballot amendment in California that, if passed, will revoke same-sex couples’ right to marry. It’s also because the Republican Party has often used it as a wedge issue to divide Americans, and they’ll try anything to gain power.

The video above (via Joe.My.God) shows one consequence of denying marriage equality: Same-sex couples in America, in which one partner is a different nationality, are forced to choose between their relationship and moving to one of a handful of countries that recognises their humanity—if that’s even possible. In this case, the couple involved is an American and a New Zealander who decided they had to live in New Zealand. Yeah, I thought that sounded like a familiar story, too.

But that couple, like Nigel and me, are lucky because for the American partner moving overseas was an option, and because the other partner was a citizen of a country that recognises the humanity of GLBT people. What happens when that’s not the case? Under current American law, the couple is ripped apart. Sometimes, children lose a parent in the process. How can this be justified by a civilised nation? How can a society call itself “free” when it denies freedom of the most fundamental and personal kind to its citizens?

CBS News reported on Sunday that a majority of Americans now support some sort of legal recognition for same-sex couples, though only 30 percent favour marriage equality. However, a shameful 36 percent of Americans oppose all legal recognition of same-sex couples. This video shows one consequence of their intransigence on the issue.

In some countries, like New Zealand, couples—whether same-sex or opposite-sex—don’t have to be in a legally-recognised relationship for one partner to be able to bring into the other into the country. This is, of course, a non-marriage option that the US could adopt, but in a country tripping all over itself to forbid any legal recognition of same-sex relationships, can anyone seriously believe that Congress would authorise non-legally recognised same-sex relationships to be considered in immigration?

So when people oppose marriage equality, one more thing they’re saying is that they support ripping loving couples apart.

This year, hatred and intolerance don’t have to win. This time, we can ensure that the forces of justice and fairness prevail. It won’t happen by accident, or easily, but it can happen if we want it to. Do you want it to? Just start by saying, “I do”.

One small action: TrueMajority.org offers an online message of support for marriage equality (tip 0' the hat to Spikey for the link).

One bigger action: VOTE!


d said...

This whole subject makes me so crazy, and I'm not gay! I'm human, and any human should be affected by this.

How the argument for/against gay partnerships/marriages can go on so long is beyond me. Law is not based in religion. The argument should stop there.

This was a HUGE factor in my immigration to New Zealand. I love living in a country that recognises families of all shapes.

Arthur Schenck said...

I completely agree on all points.