Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I know your angry! I'm angry!

I woke up this morning and with a great deal of immediacy looked for results of the vote on gay marriage in Maine that took place yesterday. What I discovered was far from promising. CNN was reporting that, with 87% of polls reporting, the split was 53% to 47% in opposition of extending the right of marriage to homosexual couples.

I am in shock that the nation of America is not shaking right now. The constitution has been taken to its knees and forced to choke down the bigotry of the majority.

Unfortunately this is a common theme in American history. Women have been denied the right to vote. Black men denied the right to own property. Black people denied the right of religion. All largely by de facto oppression of persons who are "afflicted" with "conditions" over which they have no control.

But really, being a woman isn't a "condition". Neither is being black.

Neither is being gay. And being gay and in love cannot possibly be a "condition".

As Americans became aware of these concerns, the nation and its constitution trembled. The American Civil War was caused, in part, by the inequal rights offered slaves. The Women's rights movement altered the economy, and made every home in the country quiver with concern and tension.

The gay rights movement does not have this effect. It hasn't had that effect in Canada, and has not had this effect in America. We don't start wars. We don't have a face in every home that forces the tension of reality to be recognized by every person in the nation. We hide, and we sulk, and we march down streets - but not all of us. We get beaten, or killed, or told to move out of neighbourhoods or "face the consequences". We get called members of the "b" team. Our ability to have morals is questioned.

Is your sense of hope diminishing? Am I supposed to have some gratitude?

I wish I could pretend that the gay marriage movement in the states doesn't matter to me, as a gay man living in Canada. But I am enormously aware of how important marriage is, having only recently become familiar with the potential for marriage in my own life. Marriage provides an option for a future permanent romantic life that terms such as "civil union" and "domestic partnership" cannot capture. My own late discovery of gay married couples has alarmed me to this possibility in my own life.

And I can't imagine living without this vision of hope anymore.

In Canada this almost happened, and I wish I could share my rage at Stephen Harper's mere mention that it was a possibility in 2006. But it didn't. It has now happened twice in America, in two separate states located on opposite sides of the North American continent. California and Maine both had extended the right of marriage to gay couples only to have that opportunity, and human right, revoked by the populace.

The argument that human rights are extended by the proliferation of democracy is weaker now than ever.


I'm angry because my personal philosophy and sense of dignity has been challenged once more. My knees have shaken. My foundation turned to dust.

America, your constitution has been spit on - the same constitution for which you have fought many wars, the same constitution that learn about in school. The basic law of your land has been repealed by your own people. Why is your foundation not turning to dust? Where is your anger? Moreover, where is your love?

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