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Hullabaloo


Friday, August 10, 2007

 
Priorities

by digby

I just got a chance to see some pieces of last night's LOGO forum and I thought they all (with the exception of Richardson who has a bad case of foot in mouth disease) did pretty well, although it continues to be infuriating that these candidates are unable to make any kind of persuasive argument that if you support civil unions you might as well support civil marriage. It's a nonsensical distinction since nobody is saying that churches should be required to marry anyone they don't want to. (Don't the catholics still refuse to marry divorced people who don't have the clout t oget an annulment?) But it is what it is, I guess, and when you think about the fact that civil unions were considered completely beyond the pale even a decade ago, progress has definitely been made.

I was confused, however, about something that Obama said:

"Look, when my parents got married in 1960, '61, it would have been
illegal for them to be married in a number of states in the South...But ... if I were advising the civil rights movement back in 1961 ... I would have probably said it's less important than we focus on an anti-miscegenation law than we focus on a voting rights law, a non-discrimination employment law and all the legal rights that are
conferred by the state."


I'm not sure what point he was making there because it's quite obvious that the right to marry is one of those rights conferred by the state or we wouldn't be talking about it. Obama stipulated that it was not his place to decide priorities for the LGBT community, but setting aside the obvious question of whether it is even more heinous when the state tells people who they can and cannot marry than that they cannot not vote, the analogy is way off. Gay people have the right to vote and most states have non-discrimination laws. (One of the great things about the civil rights movement is that it didn't just liberate African Americans from Jim Crow, it ushered in a new consciousness about equality that affected women, gays, the disabled and other ethnic minorities.)

So, I would guess that for gays, in 2007, there is no question that the number one priority is marriage because it is the single most important issue remaining that keeps them from being able to live their lives as equal citizens. Sure, there is the fact that gays aren't allowed in the military, which is just archaic compared to all the other western militaries, but the right to marry is the thing that most affects everyone's lives directly.

In my mind, there are few things as fundamental to one's freedom and happiness as being able to create one's own family. It's primal. I think the miscegenation laws were among the ugliest and most unamerican laws this country ever had, and if I had been a black person in 1961 who was in love with a white person, or vice versa, I think those laws would have trumped my concerns about being able to vote. You've only got one life and who you marry and have children with is much less abstract than voting. It hits at the very core of what it is to be human.

Here's why it's important:

Patrick Atkins and Brett Conrad met in 1978 and remained together until fate and Patrick’s family separated the life partners.

While on a business trip in 2005, Patrick suffered an aneurysm and then a stroke. Hospitalized in Atlanta, Georgia, Brett went to be with Patrick; however, to say that Brett’s presence at the hospital was displeasing to Patrick’s mother, Jeanne Atkins (as in Atkins Elegant Desserts and Atkins Cheesecake) is an understatement. According to the opinion issued by the Indiana Appellate Court:
Your Ad Here

Patrick’s family, however, has steadfastly refused to accept their son’s lifestyle. Jeanne believes that homosexuality is a grievous sin and that Brett and his relatives are “sinners” and are “evil” for accepting Brett and Patrick’s relationship. She testified that no amount of evidence could convince her that Patrick and Brett were happy together or that they had a positive and beneficial relationship. Patrick's family, however, has steadfastly refused to accept his homosexuality. Jeanne believes that homosexuality is a grievous sin, and that Brett and his relatives are "sinners" and are "evil" for accepting Brett and Patrick's relationship. She testified that no amount of evidence could convince her that Patrick and Brett were happy together or that they had a positive and beneficial relationship.
...
Patrick’s brother testified that Brett’s mere presence in the hospital was “hurting” Jeanne and offending her religions beliefs. Jeanne told Brett that if Patrick was going to return to his life with Brett after recovering from the stroke, she would prefer that he not recover at all.


Now that's some family values there.

These two people lived together for twenty-five years and the court ruled in favor of that psycho mother against the wishes of this grown man.

I just can't see how much longer people can thread the needle on this issue. It's quite obvious that it is just as disgusting as those anti-miscegenation laws and it is going to have to be changed. I'm sorry that some people don't like it, but some people didn't like the idea of blacks and white marrying (even though a hell of a lot of those same people's ancestors had no moral problem begetting children by their black slaves.) There's only one way to go on this, and I think everybody knows it. It's all kabuki until then.



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