In Defense of Civil Unions

Apparently, my husband is right and we have not come along as far as I think we have in this country. It seems we are still incredibly retarded and backwards when it comes to respecting humanity for humanity's sake.

I hopped into J's car tonight to go to Cheesecake Factory to celebrate Fat Tuesday (I'm giving up frivolous complaining) and turned on the radio. He has Sirius on there so I skimmed around and found Hip Hop Nation and left it on the World Famous After Hours Spot. Between tunes, the dj's came on and began talking about how New Jersey legalized civil unions for gay couples. The female dj, Renada, said she was against such a thing because she felt they were forcing their lifestyle upon us and she didn't agree with their lifestyle. I rolled my eyes at another ignorant person in the world. Then they took calls and I got freaking angry. The first two calls they received were absolutely positively hate-filled calls complete with yells of "fucking faggots". Renada was very offended by these callers and said she wasn't promoting this type of hate. I finally called in and left a message on their comments line. I have no idea if it got aired. I just hope she heard it. She later defended herself by saying it is not discrimination because they are not denying rights to "them" because it's not as if "we're" saying "they" can't have insurance. Ok seriously, I got heated.

I am sick to death of the gay marriage debate especially because this, to me, should not be a debate. Gay couples should have the right to have civil unions regardless of what you or I or anyone else thinks of their moral standing or their lifestyle. Why? Where do I begin? How about I take the most common excuses I hear and break them down?

1) "I feel it is wrong and I don't want their lifestyle to be forced upon me and my family." Unfortunately the person who spews this nonsense is apparently quite ignorant of the fact that by making this their point, they are in fact forcing their lifestyle and opinions on others. I am not at all offended by gay couples so by voting against civil unions, I feel you are forcing your lifestyle on me. I feel people should be offered the same rights as anyone else with no restrictions. I don't believe in the God that says gay sex is wrong or unnatural. I don't interpret the Bible the way you do. So all of these arguments you're making? You're definitely trying to push your way on mine and apparently in this country that's ok because I am in the minority. And that should be incredibly disturbing to every single American who vaules their civil liberties.

2) "It's not discrimination because we aren't denying them any rights." Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong! This is just pure and simple misinformation or maybe even denial. Under most laws in this country, if a gay man/woman is hospitalized and his/her family does not approve of his/her partnership with another man/woman, the family of this man/woman can deny his/her partner to be present in the hospital room. Some hospitals can even deny the other man/woman entrance because there is no legal tie. So if you've just been in a horrific car accident, the person you love and adore cannot be by your side because there is no legal connection between the two of you. Should one of you die, there is no legal protection regarding inheritances and the deceased's family can put up a very strong fight against the partner. Everything that was a symbol of their life together is gone. You have no legal right to the house you lived in, the car you drove, the money you helped save. Gone. Should one partner be working for a company and the other be working self-employed, the partner cannot get health insurance or other benefits for their partner whereas if he was a she or the other way around, no one would even blink. This is denying rights. This is making someone's life harder and more painful because of something as superficial as sexual orientation.

3) "Such few people in this country or even world are gay, it's senseless to offer so much protection." Ignorance really. Complete and total ignorance. I didn't even want to add this one but these three arguments always seem to come together. There aren't many Native Americans in this country but they have rights and they should have rights because they're freaking human beings! There probably aren't many people in this country from this country or that country but again, that shouldn't matter. These days I would like to think there aren't many White Supremacists left in this country but there are and guess what? They have rights. Even the worse, most vile people in this country have rights until of course they are caught and proven guilty of such vile acts and even THEN they still have a certain amount of rights alloted to them. And if they don't get caught they can continue being horrible vile people with the option to get married. Isn't that nice? There is no excuse for this one. Sorry, move on!

The thing that really turns my stomach is that I am a minority in this country. I'm a Hispanic woman. I am keenly aware, although I did not live through it, that there was a time in this country– NOT that long ago, where people had huge problems with a different kind of minority and that was whatever wasn't of the White race or even whatever wasn't male. Racism, and sexism, have all been defended in the past by the Bible so any Bible thumpers out there talking about how God says being gay is not natural, well according to other people there are LOTS of things God doesn't think is natural and that includes equal human rights regardless of race, sex, and/or religion. Be careful what you start saying people! Be careful what you start wishing for! You are saying that marriage should be defined by sexual preference. That is not a far leap from saying it should be defined by race, religion, even economic class! It really wasn't that long ago, and you can still find it today, where it was not "natural" or "right" for a black woman to marry a white man or a white woman to marry a black man or any other racial mix you can imagine. All of the lingo you are spewing against gays being married has been spewed every time there has been discrimination of any sort- be it sex, race, or religion. If you want equal human rights, you must demand equal human rights. You cannot pick and choose who is human enough for equal rights because who is to say someone else can't choose for you and suddenly, you aren't human enough? And it can happen to anyone so don't go thinking you're safe here or there or whatever. We really have to stop and listen to ourselves, to our words. When we start talking about "us" versus "them" we are, in one way or another discriminating. We need to stop right there and take a close look at where we're going with this.

I guess really then I am most disappointed in the minority communities of this country. For whatever reason, it was not ok to be denied rights because of the color of someone's skin or what type of worship they engage in or because they have a vagina versus a penis, but it's perfectly ok to deny rights because of who they fall in love with. We cannot start making exceptions to the rule because that cracks the door open. So even though you may not like it, even though you might think it's wrong, you have to defend their rights as much as you defend yours because I can guarantee you there are still many people in this country who look at me and my husband and think "That is not right, that is not natural, God does not want that." It's sad but it's true. Remember where you came from and remember the fight that was fought for you, and for me, and for millions of others. Continue to fight that fight through and through because you can never be too sure. Something tells me Dr. King is applauding New Jersey from heaven right now.

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