Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Not the Way Life Should Be

I usually try to keep my blog very non-political so as not to offend any of my readers. This is hard for me sometimes as I was a Political Science major in college and have great interest in many political and social issues. Today, I have to break the trend. I hope that I don't lose any readers after this. If you are afraid you might be offended by this post please skip it and come back tomorrow when we return to our regular programming.

As most of you know I was born and raised in Maine. I just moved to RI in September of 2008. Earlier this year the Maine state government passed a law that legalized gay marriage. I was so happy and proud. I have several friends and a family member who are gay and it meant a lot that they were finally granted equal rights in my home state.

Let me just say for the record that I respect everyone's personal opinions. I know that for religious (and other) reasons some people don't support gay marriage. That is your right and that is fine. But just because you disagree with something for personal reasons doesn't mean that it should be made illegal. The government shouldn't be able to decide who gets married and who does not. I have heard the arguement that allowing homosexuals to marry will destroy the sanctity of marriage. Bullshit. I don't see how two people of the same sex marrying for love can harm the institution of marriage more than all of those who get divorced, those who marry for money, those who marry because they got knocked up, and those who marry for convenience. That argument does not work.

Anyway, in Maine they have what is called the "people's veto". This means that after the state government passes a law any group that opposes it can collect signitures to have the law go to referendum to be overturned. As soon as the state legalized gay marriage, people took action. They gathered the number of signitures needed, though several of them lied to get them. Many people I know were approached by people with clipboards saying "If you support gay marriage sign this petition!" Luckily, many of my friends know to read things before they sign and also had the intelligence to question why they would need to sign a petition for something that was already a law. It was a trick. The anti-gay marriage campaign was using any means necessary to gather signitures, knowing that many citizens just don't take the time to think about what they are doing.

Once they got the signitures it was time for both sides to campaign. Thousands and thousands of people came out in support of homosexual rights and held news conferences, public meetings, and created tv ads. Most of the "No on 1" (the side that wanted to keep the law in place) ads were based on accepting different kinds of families. They begged the question "if you can marry, why can't I? What makes you more of a citizen than me?" One particular ad showed a man knocking on someone's door. An older man answered. The younger man said "I'd like to ask for Ashley's hand in marriage, and I need your blessing. The older man gave it to him. Relieved the younger man thanks him and leaves...only to knock on the next door and ask the same thing. It shows him travelling from town to town knocking on doors asking for permission from strangers to marry the woman he loves. Heterosexual people do not have to do this. This year homosexual men and women in Maine did.

The "Yes on 1" ads were completely different. The stated that if gay marriage were legal it would be taught to elementary students in school along with "gay sex education". Yes, of course if gay marriage is legal we will start teaching kindergarteners about gay sex. Obviously. (Are you kidding me??? Do people believe this crap???)

Well, the "Yes on 1" campaign was smart. They know that scare tactics work. Yesterday, Mainers voted to repeal the law legalizing gay marriage, stripping rights from people who had only held them for a short period of time. It was very close. 53% to 47%. Over 200,000 people voted to embrace equality for all Mainers. Unfortunately, over 250,000 people did not. There is supposed to be a separation of church and state in this country. I can't quite see how this doesn't contradict that. Besides people's religious beliefs...why?

I am heartbroken for my friends and family who have lost the right to equality this week. Heartbroken. They are amazing people. They don't deserve to be treated as second class citizens. Maine is supposed to be "the way life should be". Today, it is not.


Meagan said...

Yeah this happened in California too. Sad.

Courtney said...

If people think gays getting married are what's going to ruin America, they need to do some research and get their priorities straight.

Brian said...

Very interesting post. Being a Mainer who did not vote on Question 1 for professional and personal reasons, I am surprised that "Yes on 1" passed. As I told some of my gay friends, it is only a battle in the war. Racial equality took years, not just a night.

Unknown said...

I'm with you - it's ridiculous that loving couples can't get married. It's a huge equal protection of the rights fail for America. I'm disappointed as well.

Áine said...

Wow that is horrible. People should not be denied a basic right to marry.If the tables were turned the same out come wouldn't be found.

Sami said...

This is a wonderful post!

I agree, it's awful that the basic right for two people that love each other to marry is in such an uproar. All of this going on, and over in California too, just makes no sense. I wish people could just open their minds and hearts and stop being scared and hateful of something that doesn't hurt anyone - love.

John C said...

You already know how much your support has meant and still means to me. Love.

Meg said...

i totally agree with everything you said. The whole situation is really frustrating. I love that commercial where the guy goes door to door asking permission, it's just so true. why don't some people get it??

Boots the Awesome said...

So this is what happens when I leave Maine?! I knew I couldn't leave them alone.

Yeah, I'm really bummed. I was excited for Maine to be a leader in civil rights and it's just not going to happen this time.

kathryn said...

I know, I just breaks my heart. I've got a badge on my site supporting ANY's supposed to be about the love...what a sad, sad day.

This was a fabulous post, Jen. Incredibly insightful and concise...if you lose any readers from it, they'll be the losers....

Rock on...

Jen T said...

Meagan - I remember being very disappointed in CA when that happened and I had hoped that Maine would do better. It did not.

Courtney - So true.

Brian - I know that it takes time and that the 200,000+ people who voted No are a step in the right direction. It still hurts this time around.

*uncorked - It's very unfair and just not right.

Smileyfreak - It is horrible. Quite disheartening.

Sami - Thank you. It's really quite unbelieveable how many people care about something that doesn't have anything to do with them. As the bumper sticker says: If you don't like gay marriage don't have one".

John - You rock.

Meg - Hopefully as time goes on more people will understand.

Boots - It was very disappointing. Especially when so many people we know are supporters of equality...I guess it made me forget that so many people are not.

Kathryn - Thank you, that means a lot to me.

Niks La Mode. said...

Hey Jen I find this read very interesting ! Thanks for it and I am so sorry for your friends and family. I will keep my views to myself because who am I to judge ! but I do feel everyone deserves a right!!! and equally keep your head up!