Last week New York became the sixth state to allow gay couples to wed. The reaction here in Massachusetts was a rather large, collective yawn. Except for the significance of the vote nationally, what is the big deal?
Massachusetts legalized gay marriage seven years ago, and despite predictions to the contrary, civilization as we know it has not ended. It has not destroyed the institution of marriage, straight or gay. The moral fiber of our great nation has not been ruined by people who love each other sharing that commitment by legally pledging themselves to each other the way people have been doing since – well, since this country was founded and even before.
But across the country, advocates of true equality see this as a major victory after several important losses. Despite national polls showing public acceptance of gay marriage steadily gaining, many states have refused to extend marriage rights to homosexuals. The Congress has not stepped up in this regard, and even the President – who is not nearly as liberal as conservatives would have you believe – has tried to avoid throwing his support to what most see as inevitable.
Why is it we Americans celebrate diversity most of the time, but seem to be afraid to do it with regard to sexual preference? And please – don’t give me that “it’s a choice” argument. But even if you fall for that red herring, so what? Isn’t America all about making choices?
I applaud New York legislators for doing the right thing. It is about time. Massachusetts has set the bar for the Empire State when it comes to sports this century, so it is only natural we do so socially too.
We cannot continue to boast of being “the land of the free and the home of the brave” unless we back it up. We cannot complain about other countries allowing religion to determine civil rights if we do the same here. We cannot defend the rights of those in other lands while denying those same rights to our own citizens.
There should be no such thing as “gay marriage”. Here is to the day when there is just “marriage”, and all Americans are truly treated equally.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and a big fan of equality. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.