Let’s stay on track

I began blogging back in 2008 in support of Barack Obama’s run for the Presidency of the United States.  A catastrophic illness necessitated my resignation from a career in the entertainment industry, so I put my time and my talents to use supporting his historic candidacy.  After his victory, I turned my attention to social issues, and eventually to religion.  As we begin a new year and soon a new era of Republican leadership, I can feel a “New Year’s Resolution" sortof coalescing as I launch this third iteration of my blog.  Donald Trump’s inauguration as Barack Obama’s successor draws near.  Since election night 2016, I have not talked to one person who thinks the Trump Presidency is going to be good for America.

Not one… Zero; Zilch; Nada; Goose egg; Zippo.

Most of the people I know are experiencing a range of emotions from mildly fearful to frightened-out-of-their-minds.  As I said during the fights to overturn California’s Prop 8 same-sex marriage ban and the Federal so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) which was used to prop-up hate and discrimination in everything from housing to adoption, I have no desire to get married; marriage became the symbol of equality because I challenge you to explain to me why I shouldn’t be allowed to marry someone I love with the same genitalia as me while you can marry (and divorce, and marry again) at will as long as your “beloved” has a different set of genitalia.

Why should anyone be denied a place to live or credit to buy a car, be fired from a job they're qualified for and performing well at, be denied the opportunity to serve their country in the armed forces or prevented from giving the chance at a life to an unwanted child without parents — just because of who they love?

Same-sex “marriage” encompassed all this, whether one wanted to marry or not.  It was the freedom to that mattered.  That's truly what being pro-choice means in terms of women’s reproductive rights — it may not apply to you (because of your lack of a womb, Loretta), but it's important that the option still be there and you do not infringe upon other people's right to decide for themselves.  While empathy is possible to a degree, no one can fully appreciate the personal dilemma faced by another posed by being in a complex situation like choosing or not choosing to have an abortion.  And while I in no way mean to equate choosing to have an abortion with choosing to marry your beloved, my point is that equality of choice should be the determining factor in what is legal and what is not.

As calls for equality in civil law for gays and lesbians grew louder, those who opposed such equality, mainly on religious grounds, could not justify that opposition in our secular society, so they opposed what they claimed was a “redefinition of marriage.”  Equality was always the issue, but the proxy war was fought over marriage.  “Marriage” became the battleground.

That was a tactical error on their part, because marriage had been redefined already!  For the most part, we in the west no longer married for land, to cement political alliances, amass wealth in a family’s name, or settle disputes between nations.  The “traditional” biblical-era marriage (taken from the text itself) treated women as the property of men, allowed men to rape their wives, allowed for men to have multiple wives (but not the other way around), forbade divorce and remarriage, and sanctioned arranged marriages of 12 or 13 year-old girls to much older men.  Churches supported these so-called traditional versions of marriage for hundreds of years; only gradually did they accept the “redefinition” of biblical-era marriage to put an end to these evils.  The fact that today you can’t sell your daughter for three goats and a cow means we’ve redefined marriage.  This notion that marriage existed in its “present form” for 2, 3, or I’ve even heard 5000 years is a nonsensical lie!

But here’s the problem.  We elected a liar president who is surrounding himself with people who believe the lie.

Evan Wolfson, the architect of marriage equality in America, said:

We must continue to bring the marriage conversation, with all the visibility and empathy it fosters for gay and trans people and our loved ones, to more parts of the country — and world.

In other words, we must return the focus to progress, not regression:  not make America great “again” as though it is not anymore but will be if we go back to a previous moment in time we remember fondly with nostalgia by restricting the equal rights of some but rather make America greater by expanding the freedoms and equality which we all should enjoy. 

New-Years-Resolution

Attorney Roberta Kaplan who defeated the Federal Defense of Marriage Act persuaded a judge to block Mississippi’s discriminatory anti-LGBTQ HB 1523 by showing how upholding religious belief in civil law (in this case Christian condemnation of same-sex relationships) is tantamount to the state endorsing Christianity and thus violated the Establishment Clause of the first amendment.  The judge’s ruling stated that HB 1523 “establishes an official preference for certain religious beliefs … at the expense of other citizens” — namely, LGBTQ people.

Essentially, religious conviction of any stripe when brought to bear on civil law that deprives some people of a right other people enjoy cannot be constitutional (in the case of the US) or legally justifiable (in the case of humanity in general).  We say we fear a caliphate governed by Sharia law called ISIS as our own Congress seeks to turn the United States into a theocracy governed by Judeo-Christian law coupled with an understanding of human sexuality that is as sophisticated as bloodletting.  And we are supposed to believe they — ISIS — are the barbarians?

So if there’s a resolution to be made, it is to become or remain engaged, to not let the anomalous result of this election be a cause of despair but rather a rallying cry, and to make sure America and the world stays on track.

Copyright © 2021 matthewwilkinson.net — all rights reserved.