Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Minority Issue That Has Become Mainstream



            On May 9, 2012, President Obama became the first President of the U.S. to announce his affirmation for gay marriage. Subsequently, he was featured on the cover of Newsweek as an angel with a rainbow halo. Really!

Reasons for Obama’s Stand
            Did Obama actually “evolve?” Was he being political and shifting attention from this country’s economic woes? Trying to get the gay vote?  Had V-P Joe Biden, Jr. or Secretary of Education Arne Duncan forced Obama’s hand by stating that he was in favor of gay marriage? or e) all of the above.

History-Making Engagement
            Last week, too, history was made in our household. Our 29-year-old son became engaged to his boyfriend who had been married for 15 years. The engagement between these two partners, future husbands or companions (the latter sounds as if he is an aide to an older person, no?) whatever you want to call them, will be long. They will have to consider legal issues such as not being able to file joint tax returns- considerations that we heterosexuals don’t have to worry about.

Not Every Church and State Are Embracing
            As a parent, I want my son to have what I had – a church wedding. But his fiance is a divorced gay Catholic male who has left the Catholic church. So, where will they have to wed? A gay-friendly Unitarian or Metropolitan church? An open field or a Justice of the Peace’s office?
            And which state? My son grew up in New York State as did his fiance. When he was older, he lived in California, which again has same-sex marriage. Except for California and Iowa, most of the same-sex marriage states are concentrated in New England, while the Bible Belt in the South defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. Florida, with its domestic partnerships, where we now live, is out of the question for marriage, although it does allow gays to adopt children.

“Still Miles to Go Before We Can Sleep”
            While I was happy when President Obama spoke of his position favoring gay marriage, my optimism was guarded. According to the Pew Research Center in 2012, 43% of Americans still oppose same-sex marriage so there is much persuasion (although not with the 18-29 age group) yet to be done.
            If the President continues to have the fate of gay marriage settled by the states and their amendments, we can’t hold our breath for universal same-sex marriage in this country. Why not make it a 14th Amendment right throughout the country?  The courts will ultimately bring us equal rights. Why shouldn’t my son be entitled to the same benefits as his heterosexual sister?