Sunday, August 14, 2005

It's not about hate, they say... people who are trying to ban gay marriage don't hate gays.

They say that, and they say that, and some of them say it so sincerely that even I am tempted to believe them.

The problem is, there's more than one kind of hate.

Sure, there's that blazing hot, screaming and foaming at the mouth, picketting the funerals of people who've died of AIDS hatred. And, I grant you, most people who want to ban gay marriage aren't like that.

But what is marriage?

Marriage is the only kind of voluntary formation of family that the law recognizes. A husband and a wife are family; they're related. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of unconscious assumptions about what it means to be family. I mean, let's forget this simple question of dignity for the moment, okay?

Two people love each other more than life itself; they live together; they laugh together; they cry together. They know each other's likes and dislikes; they know what sappy movie will make their partner cry, and they know what little thing will make their partner blow up. They know what little thing it is that makes their partner feel loved and happy; they know what little thing will make their partner feel abandoned.

But all they are, in the eyes of the law, and in the eyes of society, are fuckbuddies.

Like I said, let's forget that question, let's forget the dignity aspect, even though I hope you see how important it is.

Just think of all the little things that it means to be family. Family and medical leave act; if the person you love more than anyone else on the planet is sick, you want to be able to stay home (if necessary) to help. Making medical decisions; having visitation rights; being next of kin; inheritance rights; joint ownership of property.

The right to be a family means a lot, even before you get to things like spousal health insurance, joint tax returns, and so forth. Just the automatic assumption that the person you love more than anyone else is part of your family means a lot.

And, there are people who are not merely trying to say "no, they can't be a family". They are trying to say "We want to forbid the very possibility of their ever being a family".

I try; I try to be understanding, and say "maybe these idiots don't realize that being gay is about who you love". But, you know, it doesn't really matter.

Because, you can either stand on the side of people who want to be married, who want recognition of their family.

Or, you can stand on the side of the people who hate.

And people fighting to ban gay marriage have chosen their side.

And I'm sick and tired of their whining about being judged by the company that they keep. If they want to stop being thought of as being on the side of hate, they should leave the side of hate, and go neutral. Fight to prevent recognition of gay marriage, but stop trying to ban it.

Because, as I said, there's more than one kind of hate. And one kind of hate is a willingness to fight to hurt people without ever looking to see how much harm you're doing. And, while it's not as malicious as the screaming, frothing-at-the-mouth kind, it's even crueler, because at least you can understand, and expect, the screamers and mouth-frothers to attack you.

It's nearly impossible to understand or expect people to hurt you because they just don't care enough to open their eyes and look.

It's about hate. It's about that quiet, uncaring hate. Don't ask questions, don't think too hard, and you won't have to make any tough moral decisions... like whether or not a committed gay couple deserves to be treated as part of a family.

It's based in hate, and it's standing by the side of hate, and it's simply blindness that allows people to pretend otherwise. Well, I have a message for those folks. It's long past time to open your eyes.

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