Sunday, November 16, 2008

Change is here, whether you like it or not

Across U.S., Big Rallies for Same-Sex Marriage
[...] “It’s not ‘Yes we can,’ ” said Tom Ammiano, a San Francisco city supervisor, referring to President-elect Barack Obama’s campaign mantra. “It’s ‘Yes we will.’ ”

Carrying handmade signs with slogans like “No More Mr. Nice Gay” and “Straights Against Hate,” big crowds filled civic centers and streets in many cities. In New York, some 4,000 people gathered at City Hall, where speakers repeatedly called same-sex marriage “the greatest civil rights battle of our generation.”

“We are not going to rest at night until every citizen in every state in this country can say, ‘This is the person I love,’ and take their hand in marriage,” said Representative Anthony D. Weiner of Brooklyn.

In Los Angeles, where wildfires had temporarily grabbed headlines from continuing protests over Proposition 8, Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa addressed a crowd of about 9,000 people in Spanish and English, and seemed to express confidence that the measure, which is being challenged in California courts, would be overturned.

“I’ve come here from the fires because I feel the wind at my back as well,” said the mayor, who arrived at a downtown rally from the fire zone on a helicopter. “It’s the wind of change that has swept the nation. It is the wind of optimism and hope.” [...]

I understand perfectly well people's concerns about not wanting to change the definition of what a marriage is. But no-fault divorce has already done that. For years I worked for attorneys that dealt with divorce cases, and saw it in action. No-fault divorce has turned marriage, in it's legal definition, into nothing more than a civil contract, to be broken at will.

This is why it's being called a "civil right". As a civil contract, how can it be legally denied to gay people? Arguments against gay marriage as a religious choice will probably still hold up, because no one has to join a religion that they don't like. But that argument does not hold up in the secular sphere, nor does it enjoy popular support there. To continue to try to force it on secular people is only going to create continuing resistance... and resentment.

If conservative Christian churches want to maintain the right to not perform gay marriages in their churches because of their religious beliefs, I believe that is their choice and their right. But secular people also have their right to make their own choices. If the religious right continues to try to control secular civil marriage contracts to reflect their own views, they may find themselves in a very uncomfortable, and losing, position.

Related Link:

The anti-gay marriage votes

No comments: