We live in a very different America than the one I was born into, I guess that would be true for all of us, but the year of my birth, 1964, was a significant year for another reason, it was the year the Civil Rights Act became law. This law ended segregation, it made great leaps in removing some of the mechanisms people used to keep blacks and illiterate whites from voting particularly in the south. It didn’t eliminate voter discrimination but it went a long way in giving blacks more access to the democratic process. It has always seemed unbelievable to me that the concepts of racial integration and equal access to voting have only been the law for the length of my lifetime, less than 50 years.
Even more disconcerting is that anti-miscegenation laws were only repealed by the Supreme Court in 1967. It is hard to imagine that laws against inter-racial marriage persisted in this country even three years after the Civil Rights Act, and if it weren’t for a Virginia court case may have stayed on the books much longer. A really sad statement on the way our country thinks and operates.
On the upside, America did pass the Civil Rights Act and we did repeal the miscegenation laws and over the 47 years of my life race relations have improved in this country. We have not eliminated racism, far from it, but we have made progress and yes, including having a president of African-American descent. President Obama’s election makes the standard American Dream, that anyone can be present, an equivalent lie to children of both white and black families.
Even with the progress we have made on race relations, one segment of our society remains openly discriminated against, homosexuals. The Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) community faces open discrimination in many ways in our society but what I want to talk about today is the refusal to give people in this community the right to marry the people they love. People put forward a lot of reasons why this shouldn’t happen; they need to protect “traditional” marriage, that marriage is a religious ceremony and God hates homosexuals, that same sex marriage will lead to polygamy or even the right to marry animals, and finally that this will lead to “gay” education in the schools. None of these arguments hold water and most have been addressed in a piece called, “10 Bad Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage.”
Now I think most thinking humans would find the arguments against inter-racial marriage ridiculous in this day and age. We think wow, how unsophisticated they were to prohibit people of different races to marry. The interesting thing is that many of the arguments used to support why inter-racial marriage shouldn’t be allowed, are the same arguments being used to prohibit gay marriage as outlined in a piece on the arguments for traditional marriage. So I have a feeling our great grandchildren, will look back at us, in the same way we look back on our great grandparents and wonder what the hell were they thinking?
So let’s not let that happen, let’s clear one of the last major hurdles to true equality in America and grant equal access to marriage and maybe our great grandchildren will say wow, our great grandparents got it right.