Monday, October 30, 2006

And the Beat Goes On...

Not only have my posts gotten me called a liberal heterophobe, but now it is being implied that I believe that Gay people must prove we are people before we get rights. My comments on his blog attempt to explain my posting.

Clearly you didn't read my entire post on my blog. While did say that we should withdraw our focus on winning the right to marry in the courts, my argument was for our community to focus on real progress in Gay rights.

Specifically, I live in California where Gay people are legislatively equal to straight people (with the exception of the word marriage, alone). But there are too many places in our nation where that is not the case. In many states we can not adopt children, we have no form of domestic partnerships, and have no legal protections against hate crimes. These are real issues that need real progress.

The focus on forcing the courts to grant same-sex marriage is very much hurting our push for other, more important, equal rights. We should focus on true equality first!

In reality, what I was trying to explain with my most recent post is that while Gay people want the right to marry and deserve it, it should be placed lower on our list of priorities. The Queer community is being denied a great number of rights across this country because of our sexual orientation. Those rights are of immediate necessity to many Gays and Lesbians and should be fought for now. Marriage is of less immediate necessity but is known to infuriate many of those who oppose Gay people on even the slightest level. Instead of attempting to prevent our right to marry, they go further and attempt to withhold other rights from us.

As such, I firmly believe we should not back down from our fight to secure equal rights for all Gay men, women, and children. The word "marriage" should be a part of these rights because it is part of our equality to straight people. However, we should be smart about our struggle and fight for those things most necessary to us first.


DayByDay4-2Day said...

I'm living in a state that does not have gay marriage.
Until recently I never even met a gay person or at least one that was out about it. It wasn't until last year that I met a man who shares custody with his ex-wife. Him and his partner are raising his daughter. She is very proud of them.

My daughter is always telling me about gay kids in school. It is great to know that it is acceptable in her generation. Maybe this may help you to see that things are changing. It takes time. Look how long it took for womens rights or for black to vote.
Hang in there.

CaliforniaGrown said...

I couldn't agree more!

My generation (the 20-somethings) is more accepting than ever about Gays and Gay rights. This is highly encouraging! I have no doubt that we will see equality for Gays while I am still young enough to enjoy it.

Still, the point remains that some states don't yet allow a Gay person to raise a child with his or her same-sex partner, even in cases where the child is the biological child of the Gay parent. It is laws like those that must be changed first.

And I can assure you that you have met Gay people before. We are everywhere. Unfortunately, in many places, occupations, and situations it is not yet safe for them to be honest and come out of the closet.

But those times are changing! Thanks for your encouragement!

Terrance said...

I guess for me it's about protecting my family, and I think that's been the case since 1994, when the Hawaii case came up. The major gay organizations (I worked for one at the time) wanted nothing to do with it. But it came up from the grassroots because people realized how vulnerable their relationships are.

The question I have is: how do I protect my family without marriage? Right now, the best we can do are some legal documents that might give us two or three protections. But our families are still incredibly vulnerable, which means our kids are incredibly vulnerable, because we just don't have the social support or safety net that other families have. (Society at large is lukewarm at best on the idea of gay parenting. And the gay community isn't particularly supportive of the decision to parent.) And, yes, we knew that when we we decided to become parents, but that's not an argument for not trying to change things.

The rights that are included under the heading of marriage include custody issues like those you mentioned, and could be broken out individually. (I've posted about them here and here on my blog.) The custody and adoption issue, though, goes right to the heart of the marriage question, because children with same-sex parents lack the benefits and protections that kids whose parents can legally marry get. So, once we have kids, how do we provide them the same protections that their peers with heterosexual parents have? These are largely protections that become relevant in crises, like divorce, or the illness or death of a parent/partner. How do we protect our kids and our in those times, without marriage and the benefits (particularly the economic benefits, which help keep a family afloat) that it provides?

Some, could be put other another heading besides marriage. Some, like employment discrimination are entirely outside of marriage, like civil unions or reciprocal beneficiaries status (the latter of which could be open to a wide range of people and relationships).

Bottom line, I don't think this is an either/or equation. I don't see why we can't fight for marriage and for the other rights you mentioned. (Could you elaborate more on what some of those are, BTW, and how they do or don't relate to marriage?")

But I think I speak for a lot of us when I say that I can't see just how vulnerable my family is and not do everything I can to change that.