Friday, March 12, 2010

The Definition Of Marriage

What does it mean to be gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered? Well, if you live in America, it mean that you do not have equality. While there are those who disagree, it is clearly indisputable. An estimated 90% of the U.S. population is granted a legal “FREEDOM“, which is recognized on a state and/or Federal level, and the other 10% is refused that same freedom. That freedom is marriage. The freedom to marry the one person you choose to spend your life with is what is being denied to US citizens who are LGBT. We cannot continue to say that we live in a democracy when any freedom is not extended to all citizens. With the loss of freedom comes the inevitable loss of rights. There are currently 1.049 legal rights associated with marriage that are being denied to LGBT couples and their children in the USA. Nobody is asking for gay rights. We are demanding equality, under the law and the constitution of the United States of America.

The definition of marriage.

Main Entry: mar·riage

Pronunciation: \ˈmer-ij, ˈma-rij\

Function: noun

Etymology: Middle English mariage, from Anglo-French, from marier to marry

Date: 14th century

1 a (1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage b : the mutual relation of married persons : wedlock c : the institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage
2 : an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected; especially : the wedding ceremony and attendant festivities or formalities
3 : an intimate or close union

As we can see, the Webster’s dictionary, America’s most widely used resource for defining our language, has updated it’s definition of the word marriage to include same sex couples. There is no mention of the word religion in this definition at all.

Still, the right wing would have you believe that marriage is a sacred, religious right, but is it really? The bible tells us more about marriage than it does about homosexuality. In fact, the bible contradicts itself, on the issue of divorce. Under certain circumstances, divorce is okay. For example, if your wife becomes ugly and fat, it’s okay to divorce her. If you find out your wife was not a virgin when you married her, and who’s not going to take your “manly” word for it, well you can just have her publicly stoned to death, and pick out a new virgin bride to spend eternity with. Then, of course there’s the fact that Muslims, and even some Mormon extremists, believe in having multiple wives. I think the sacredness of marriage gets watered down with every wife a man has. How much more sacred can a man’s bond with 50 wives be than that of two men who only love each other? And if religion “owns” the word marriage, as it claims to, then why doesn’t it also own the word “divorce”. If marriage is not a legal institution, as it is claimed, but rather, a religious one, then why do half of all marriages in the USA end in divorce court?

Nobody is demanding that any church perform same sex wedding ceremonies. This is a myth that is used to fuel the bigotry of the right wing. Churches retain the same right to refuse to marry any couple they choose. No church can claim the right to the word marriage, unless every church can. Unless God descends from heaven today with an affidavit, and an endorsement of one, or more, of these religions, that gives them the word marriage, they don’t own it. For as long as the word marriage is printed on state and Federal legal documentation, paid for by the tax dollars of LGBT citizens, then it should be a freedom that is extended to all, as is. In fact, churches that would gladly perform same sex wedding ceremonies are having their religious freedom imposed upon by laws which prohibit them from fulfilling their religious obligation. Just so it’s clear, no religion has a monopoly on the word marriage.

Taxation without representation:

When women in the USA are paid, on average, up to 25% less than men, in the workforce, it is taxation without representation. These women are shelling out huge chunks of their paychecks to fund a government that isn’t doing everything it can to ensure their equality in the workforce. Why should women be forced to fund their own victimization? While these tax dollars would be better spent on lobbyists for women’s rights, they are pooled into the National economy and end up on some state senator’s plate as pork spending. Why? It’s because this is the United States of Corporate America, and those corporations are run by, mostly, right wing, religious nuts, who still believe that women should be barefoot and pregnant. This is, but a small sampling of the right wing hatred against gays and lesbians.

Gay and lesbian couples are refused social security benefits for their partners. They are refused spousal, healthcare benefits. They are refused the ability to file joint income tax returns, often resulting in a loss of hundreds of dollars, in annual income, per couple. It is not just these couples who suffer, as a result of this. It is their children as well. Even in a healthy economy, every family needs every dollar they can hold onto. Gay and lesbian couples have always paid into the same tax system as everyone else. To be denied a civil right or freedom is one thing, but to be robbed of the money you would have earned for being heterosexual, by your own government, is absolutely taxation without representation.

When you get past the sexual aspects of any relationship, between any couple of any sex, it all boils down to this. We are all nothing more than decaying, biological creatures who are forced to live amongst one another on this planet we find ourselves on. Most of us have the same 5 senses and bodily functions. Those of us who are lucky have found another biological creature to decay with. Anyone who claims to be in love, yet fails to recognize that same emotion in others, is not in love, they are in denial. The word marriage is mine, and it’s yours, and it’s everybody’s. The hypocrisy that has denied this freedom for so long is being unveiled, and America is finally beginning to see that there is no difference between the love that any committed couple shares, gay or straight. It’s been said that a rose by any other name is still a rose. The same can be said about love. Any heterosexual couple who cannot see the similarities between my love and theirs, doesn’t have a love as strong as mine. For anyone who loves their life partner as much as I love mine, can easily recognize that same love in any other couple. To see that love, and then deny it equality is, in my honest opinion, a damnable sin, if there ever was one.

What any organized religion thinks about marriage is irrelevant to the law. There is a clear separation between church and state. Churches have violated this separation by funding the passing of Proposition 8, the law which bans same sex marriage in California. It’s time for the government to revoke the tax free status of Focus on hating the gay family and any religious organization contributing to the National organization against same sex marriage. The only good thing to come out of all their protesting is the fact that these organizations have nearly broken themselves in California, and will have a hell of a time fighting our equality in other states. We will keep fighting for our rights, and they will keep going broke. Eventually, we will have equality, and they will all be meeting up in a country trailer every Sunday to throw change into a tin plate! The more society learns that homosexuals are not the monsters the right wing wants us to be, the less power the right wing has to abuse. We are stronger and we can outlast the haters and their hate money. It’s time for them to start focusing on their own families now. We’ve had enough of the hypocrisy.

Regardless of how you feel about civil unions, you do not own the word marriage. Religious gays have every right to a wedding ceremony that heterosexuals do, in the church they are accepted into. The more I examine this topic, the more I realize that LGBT people will not be satisfied until the government finally fulfills it’s democratic promise to the people and offers true equality to all of us. Until then, the democracy of every single American citizen is at risk. When they came for the Jews, the gays stood up, and some were taken and tortured and made to wear the pink triangle. When they came for the blacks, the gays stood up, and joined the Rainbow coalition to fight racism. Well, now, they’re coming for the gays. Will you stand up? Will you allow this injustice to continue, or will you rise up against it and speak out? The choice is yours. This is a revolution friends. We are making history. Let’s make the first decade of the new millennium the beginning of a new era of freedom and equal rights for all. Get out there and let your voice be heard. It’s the only way that we are going to make a difference.

I consider myself to be an “arm chair” activist. This doesn’t mean that my activism is any less affective than those who show up at every equality march. I show up for those I can, but my resources and time are limited, and mainly focused on my own family. People are always asking me how they can help. Well, it’s not going to be by sending me money. I never ask for it. Your funds are better off going directly to someone in need. Give a friend with a terminal illness my cd, but don’t buy anything from anybody who isn’t gay friendly. It starts with a sincere desire to help your own community, and it ends with people connecting in a way that helps everybody.

If you have online friends you communicate with, then you are already a citizen journalist. Every time you post a blog or a status update or a tweet, you are sharing news. Instead of sharing news about themselves, a growing number of people are choosing to share links to stories, videos and pod casts that empower the LGBT community with knowledge and news updates. Staying informed is half the battle. Knowledge truly is power. Once we all gain a current perspective on where we stand, in the world, we can move forward, united, in our quest to correct all that which oppresses us. We are better off acting like a community, rather than allowing the differences between us to divide and weaken us all. I’m always sharing gay news updates with my friends on myspace and face book and twitter. I encourage everybody I know to do the same. I’ve lost a lot of online friends who didn’t want my gay news video posted to their myspace pages in a comment, for all to see. These people are mostly just social leeches who are trying to impress people with a large friends list. They do nothing to make the world a better place for anyone but themselves. So, I’m not afraid to give a spammer something to think about on his way out of my online world. I am completely unapologetic about my sexuality. The whole world is just going to have to catch up to my comfort level with who I am, because I’m not going to conform to anything anyone else wants me to be.

I realize that it’s just not this simple for everybody. I went through years of juggling realities for my friends and family. I tried to be what the preacher wanted me to be. I tried to be who my mother wanted me to be. It took a personal tragedy to force me to examine my life and what it is that I stand for. Ladies and gentlemen, what I learned is that I don’t have to pretend for anybody. I am who I am. So are you. Once I fully accepted myself, I learned how to fully accept others. Drama queens? Love you, don‘t like ya much, but I do love you! Leather men? Hell Yeah!!! Bears? OMG, who wouldn’t adore you all? Posers? Love ya long distance, lol. Dykes, of all types, I totally dig you. Lipstick lez? You Rock!. The loving mother of a gay or lesbian child is my eternal friend. The straight classmates who grew up sitting beside me in a small town classroom, witnessed my awkward struggle to know myself, and still call me a friend 35 years after we met as children. You mean the world to me. The kids who helped me find my way in the world as I ran away to Chicago, and kept on running to nearly every major city in the USA before I settled down almost 18 years ago. These are the people who have personally touched my heart.

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