I’ll admit to having been a bit surprised on Saturday by the fact that many of the gay people I know were not at the equality rally.
I guess I expected that where a person might turn a blind eye to having rights taken away from other people, it would be hard for them to miss discrimination where they were the victim.
Just because a person is gay, of course, doesn’t mean that they’ve got some kind of special responsibility to other gay people who do want to get married – any more than I, as a straight person, have a responsibility to the anti-marriage crowd that claim, ludicrously, to represent us.
But I am surprised by the short-sightedness of those gay people who don’t personally want to get married who seem to think the issue therefore doesn’t affect them. Ignoring that many people, gay or straight – especially men – in their twenties don’t particularly intend to get married either, and subsequently change their minds when they meet that special person, the fact is that the discrimination in the Marriage Act sends a very, very clear message about all gay people: that they and their relationships are second-rate. That’s the whole reason the bigotry side objects to equality in the law – that it would “send the message” that gay relationships are as worthy as heterosexual relationships. That being gay is not a “disability” or a “problem” that needs to be solved, but as valuable and legitimate as any other part of the human experience.
How could any gay person with the slightest bit of self-respect not want that message sent? How could any gay person with the slightest bit of self-respect not object to being deliberately denied rights they would enjoy if they were heterosexual – whether they intend to exercise them or not? It’s not about whether you want to get married; it’s about whether you think the law should treat you as a second-class citizen.
I know there was a rally just over three months ago, and it would be tempting to ask how many of these things anyone could expect an ordinary person to go to. I know that there’s a sense of futility about the whole issue, that nothing will change while we are governed by two major parties both of which believe in discrimination against gay people. But with the majority of voters now supporting equality, it’s closer than ever. It’s just a matter of when – and of how many people will suffer in the meantime. With a great deal of effort, some momentum has been achieved – it would be a shame to let it dissipate.
Giving up an hour or so every couple of months to point out to those in power who would dare to deny it that you’re as valuable a human being as anyone else, and are pissed off that they would dare to suggest otherwise, doesn’t seem like a bad idea. I’ll be happy to join you.
ELSEWHERE: Slacktivist looks at the “Manhattan Declaration”, in which older US evangelical conservatives try to enforce on younger Christians their view that the “three most important issues” for christians should be abortion, homosexuality and “religious freedom”.
The document itself is an appalling mix of lies, misrepresentations and cynical viciousness, which might well deserve a post on its own fairly shortly. It’s a serious indictment on the signers, and those Christians who believe that their religion is primarily about what Jesus Christ taught have a responsibility to respond before they’re damned by association.