Monday, June 22, 2009

Battle for Equality Far From Over in Maine

Civil rights are not debatable. How long does it take to find 55,087 registered homophobes in Maine? Hopefully longer than three months… In May, Maine became the fifth state to legalize same-sex marriage. While many individuals celebrated this victory with friends and loved ones, the opposition met in some dimly lit, damp and muggy basement to plot a people’s veto. (Ok… so I am editorializing a bit. I have no idea where they met, but I am envisioning something haunted house-esque.)

Anyway, so the civil rights haters hired Schubert Flint Public Affairs to help orchestrate the hate; Schubert Flint notoriously aided in the costly overthrow of equality in California. According to CommonDreams.org, this outside force is coming in to help collect signatures in Maine, and if they succeed in getting 55,087 of them, then the law that passed in May will not go into effect until another vote is held in November.

Some people ask, “What is the big deal? Why all the fuss over marriage?” I used to ask this question a lot, but now I think I get it. It is not about whether you or anyone you know wants to get married; it is about the implications of barring a certain demographic of individuals from the institution of marriage. Marriage is the norm; it is really not a question of whether you think that is a good thing or not.

I like to think about it from the perspective of a kid in the process of being socialized into our culture. If one group of people can get married, and another group cannot, then there is something inherently unequal. Those who cannot are somehow lesser than those who can. I really do not care if a single same-sex couple chooses to wed when the law takes effect in September, but they absolutely must have the option.

Please feel free to email campusteam@feminist.org with any questions or comments.

2 comments:

Laura said...

You are probably right about the damp basement, but definitely right about the inequality that exists within marriage laws in our society.

I am still embarrassed that California continues to outlaw gay marriage, and I agree that many people have problems with defining marriage as "normal" to only exist within heterosexual couples. In China, homosexuality was considered a mental illness until 2001! I struggle to understand how women in America couldn't vote until the 1920s, and that African Americans could not vote until the 1960s. Clearly the US is a little behind on basic human rights.

Laur said...

Well said, Em! Here's to Maine NOT ending up like California. :(