GMA video interview with President Obama
This past Tuesday, May 8, the state that I live in, North Carolina, passed an amendment (Amendment One) that stipulates that marriage be defined as between one man and one woman only--all other unions will not be recognized (and ostensibly protected) under the law.
I should also note that there was a link made between Amendment One (which, as many people have noted harms not just gay and lesbian couples but many different types of unions that aren't traditional marriage, although I think it's important to remember that the bigotry behind this is really anti-queer) and white supremacy. The wife of the politician who is spearheading this amendment, Jodie Brunstetter, had this to say about the rationale behind her husband's push for the amendment:
"The reason my husband wrote Amendment 1 was because the Caucasian race is diminishing and we need to uh, reproduce."Nearly four years ago I wrote about the connection between anti-miscegenation laws and anti-same-sex marriage laws (click here). But it bears repeating.
The idea that we could legislate love--the idea that we could codify bigotry into our legal system, dictating to people the race of the person they were allowed to marry--this idea seems completely antiquated and backwards to most anyone under the age of 22 (and for most folks over the age of 22 I'd wager). The idea that it was illegal to marry someone of a different race just 40 years ago seems so preposterous--like living in an era before the telephone (let alone internet wifi accessibility).
Some time in the not too distant future, younger generations will look back on the year 2012 and will be AMAZED that it was a big deal that a sitting president went on national t.v. to declare his support for same-sex marriages. Younger generations will look back on us with shock and horror--they will not understand how North Carolina could have passed an amendment that would prevent a gay or lesbian couple from marrying and raising their children (if they choose to have children).
A mixed race America is an inclusive America. And the issue of whether gay and lesbian couples can or should marry is one that each couple should have the right to make for themselves. Because choosing who you want to love and spend the rest of your life with strikes me as one of the basic things we get to do as human beings. And having that union be recognized legally as marriage strikes me as one of the fundamental freedoms that we should extend to people in a democratic society.
At the end of the day this isn't about queer rights or civil rights. This is about human rights--the rights of humans to choose who they want to love and the right to have their government and society recognize this as marriage.
[Aside: I've been pretty despondent about Amendment One passing in the state that I now call home. However, a friend of mine sent me the video below about how this is not the end and about how allies of various social justice communities have come together to fight against Amendment One and that we will keep fighting together. And I have to say that I am very proud to be living in one of 6 counties in this state that defeated Amendment One--in fact the county I live in had 79% of people voting against the Amendment--which makes me very proud indeed. The fight is not over.]