John and Chris have been together for three decades. They�ve raised two
healthy and well-adjusted children, who have themselves grown up, gotten
married, and provided John and Chris with two beautiful grandchildren so far.
When they were in their twenties, Chris worked two jobs to put John
through medical school. They�ve stayed together through good times and bad.
Their love and their devotion to each other have remained strong even as most
other residents of their suburban Philadelphia neighborhood have divorced,
remarried, and in some cases divorced again.
Sound like the ideal marriage? Yes, it might, if only John and Chris
could get married. But, you see, John and Chris are both men, and Pennsylvania
does not recognize same-sex marriages.
Some might suggest that they move to nearby New Jersey, where
marriage-like civil unions recently became legal. But it�s not so easy to
uproot a family. There are homes and careers involved. Besides, telling John
and Chris to move to Jersey to find equality is like telling someone to move
out of the country if they don�t like the way their tax dollars are being
spent. Moving to Jersey would mean giving up on Pennsylvania. Better to stay
and fight for equality at home in the Keystone State.
And equality is really all they want. That�s really all there is to the
so-called �gay agenda.� Simple equality. No special privileges, just the same
rights as everyone else.
Those who oppose same-sex marriage say that it would undermine the
institution of marriage. But isn�t heterosexual infidelity already doing that?
I fail to see how legalizing same-sex marriage would have any effect on
heterosexual marriages. As James Carville once said, �I was against gay
marriage until I found out I didn�t have to have one.� No, anyone who feels
that his own heterosexual marriage would be threatened if gays could marry
obviously has some very deep issues that can�t be fixed through legislation.
This country was founded on the principle that all people -- not just
the heterosexual ones -- are created equal. It�s time to make that principle a
reality. It�s time for the homophobes of America to stop worrying about what
consenting adults are doing in the privacy of their own homes. After all, time
and time again we�ve seen that those who want to control what goes on in other
people�s bedrooms seem to have the most to hide in their own. (Can you say �Ted
Our soldiers are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, and 13 million children
in this country suffer from hunger due to poverty. Don�t we have more important
things to worry about than what the gay couple down the street might be doing
behind closed doors?
And aren�t the principles of freedom and equality better for this
country, and for humankind in general, than a policy of bigotry and hate?
Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist. She currently serves as
Philadelphia Area Coordinator for Amnesty International, and her views on
politics, human rights, and social justice issues have appeared in numerous
online forums and in newspapers and magazines worldwide. Unless otherwise
noted, the ideas expressed in this article are the author�s own, and do not
necessarily reflect the opinions of Amnesty or any other organization with
which she may be associated. E-mail: email@example.com.