Monday, March 25, 2013
Marriage Equality: What Would My Ancestors Think?
It isn't uncommon that a United States Supreme Court decision impacts our daily lives as citizens of this country. The Court was created to sort out the conflicts of law and to align practices and procedures with our Constitution and its intent as our Founders envisioned.
But it isn't every day that the course of my life hangs on the decision of those who sit on that bench and who can determine whether or not I have the same rights as others. My partner of close to 13 years and I would like the benefits and protections of marriage which are offered to others. That's all - plain and simple.
What I want in terms of marriage doesn't take anything away from anyone else. What I want doesn't demean anyone's marriage or make marriage a travesty. What I desire in having the right to marry doesn't really impact the rights of others. It doesn't mean you'll pay more for a car, a house or a latte. It really has little to do with you; but everything to do with me.
All I desire are the same protections that any committed, loving couple would received on a state and federal level. I want the same benefits in terms of taxes and inheritance. I want the same protections when it comes to health care and property rights. I want the same legal recognition of my relationship with another person.
And I wonder what my ancestors would make of all this. Would their thinking have evolved to a point where they could understand marriage equality? Perhaps they even knew of a same sex couple, even if they didn't understand their "lifestyle" or "choice." Of course I'd like to think that they'd understand any or all of the issues involved, but I've not deluded myself in such thinking. Many of my ancestors thought that enslaving others was permissible and that treating women as property was acceptable.
What I do know is this: my ancestors did evolve from such beliefs held by previous generations and were forced - sometimes even by court decisions - to recognize that the universe bends towards justice.
And so we live in a country where equality is not just a lofty goal set out in a 225 year old piece of paper, but a reality we all deserve to see in our own lifetime.
© 2013, copyright Thomas MacEntee