Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Freedom to Marry
We love one another more than anything in the world and want nothing more than to share that love with one another, and know that we are each protected and recognized as each others' spouse. We don't need the validation of the government to make our love or relationship real, but we do need the recognition of the government to protect our rights.
Today is Freedom to Marry Day. Freedom to Marry is a gay/straight partnership working for marriage equality across the United States. Every year, the organization holds a week of activities designed to engage Americans in the movement for fairness and equality. On its Web site you'll find stories from families relating how marriage discrimination affects their everyday lives.
On May 17, 2004, same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts. In the Bay State, MassEquality works to promote and defend marriage equality. On that organization's Web site you'll see the flip side. You'll find hundreds of stories from gay and lesbian Massachusetts residents, such as Jeffrey Brunelle, talking about what being able to marry has meant to their everyday lives.
Too often, the subject of gay marriage is used as a wedge issue by politicians to divide us, or as a way for hatemongers to stir up fear. We don't hear enough about the very real love stories of ordinary, everyday Americans, the men and women whose relationships truly embody family values.
As someone who lives next door to Massachusetts, knows many people there and goes there all the time, I can tell you that there is nothing to fear. No heterosexual marriages have been harmed. Nothing has changed in the state, except that having the right to marry has made our gay and lesbian friends, neighbors, coworkers and family members feel happier, more secure and better protected. And that only strengthens our society, just as the ending of legal discrimination against African-Americans did nearly 50 years ago.
There is nothing I could possibly write, no argument I could make, that would be as poignant, as clear, as eloquent, as these stories. So please take five minutes to read a few of them.