Saturday, April 8, 2006

See You Next Tuesday?

The Judiciary Committee will be holding a hearing on Tuesday, April 11, to discuss the Marriage Amendment. The anti-gay groups are planning to make a demonstration of their support for this anti-family amendment. Here's the info:

Date: Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Time: 10:00 AM

Place: State House - Boston, MA Hearing Room A-1

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

In the spirit of the day, I'd like to point you at this excellent article in the Minneapolis StarTribune:

http://www.startribune.com/562/story/350993.html

Jeff Nygaard: 'Minnesota guy' opposes this divisive amendment
More rights and respect for one group of our wonderfully diverse population does not take away rights and respect for anyone.
Jeff Nygaard

Published: April 05, 2006

It would seem like the proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in Minnesota would not affect me, a middle-aged, Norwegian-American, heterosexual man who grew up in rural Minnesota. I live with my life partner, a woman, with whom I have been in a wonderful, stable relationship for over 21 years. But the amendment would affect us, and we oppose it strongly. Here are a few reasons a stereotypical "Minnesota guy" disagrees with State Sen. Michele Bachmann when she says that the gay-marriage amendment is "one of the most uniting issues of our day."

The proposed amendment says that "Any relationship" other than "a union of one man and one woman ... shall not be recognized as a marriage or its legal equivalent by the state."

That's pretty broad language -- pretty vague, too -- and it frightens me. One of the groups in support of the amendment believes that marriage is defined as "A man and a woman [who] commit themselves ... to the wondrous responsibility of bringing children into the world ... ."

My partner and I, in addition to not being legally married, have chosen not to have children. Who's to say that the courts won't decide at some point that our lack of children means that our relationship is not legally a "union," even if we are "one man and one woman?" After all, what is a "union" and how, exactly, would we prove to the state that we are "united?"

So, why don't we just get married? After all, being legally married would give us all sorts of rights and privileges that we don't have now -- better insurance, inheritance rights, rights to pension and health benefits, and much more. We know all that, but we also know that Minnesota law already says that our numerous lesbian and gay friends are legally barred from getting married. For us, then, using our privilege as heterosexuals would feel like joining a "whites only" country club. And, what would our wedding invitation say? "Please join us in celebrating our entrance into a joyful realm from which you are legally forbidden?" I just can't do that.

More broadly, I worry that the vague language of the amendment could be used -- as it has been in other states -- to attempt to get rid of domestic partnership laws and other attempts to recognize the increasingly diverse ways that people organize their personal lives. That's not right, either.

This amendment would put language into the Constitution that limits rights for lesbians and gays. But if it's OK to limit the rights of one group, why would any other group be safe? Like, for example, childless couples. Or immigrants. Or people with disabilities.

Or ... ?

What we call "marriage" is both a civil institution -- having to do with politics, economics, taxes, and so forth -- and a religious institution. Freedom of religion says that people can believe whatever they like, but the power of the state is a different thing, especially in a diverse society. I don't want my state to say that one way of living or loving is legitimate and other ways are not.

Not everybody wants to get married, but a choice to live in a different kind of way is not an "attack" on marriage. More rights and respect for one group of our wonderfully diverse population doesn't take away rights and respect from anyone. When everyone is better off, then everyone is better off. It's not a "zero-sum" game.

Bachmann says that banning gay marriage is a "uniter," but I think that what really unites Minnesotans is a desire to have stable households filled with people happily living as they choose and hurting no one. If I'm right, then the state's responsibility should be to expand the possibilities in order to accommodate the diverse ways that people actually live, not to try to limit or marginalize them.

The legal honoring of all loving relationships is one way we can celebrate our wonderful diversity. People in their churches or synagogues or mosques can honor and worship however they like. But the effect -- if not the intent -- of writing limitations on marriage into the Constitution would be to say that some people are "us" and some people are "them." I don't believe that. I believe that we're all "us" -- gay, straight, old, young, single, married, whatever -- and I want my state's Constitution to affirm that, not deny it.

Jeff Nygaard, Minneapolis, is a writer who grew up in Waseca.

Copyright 2006 Star Tribune. All rights reserved.

FlyingToaster said...

I just checked in at 'GBX and it's definitely not being broadcast. Alas. I can't take off work for this, but I could at least keep tabs.

Mass.gov only lists a public hearing tomorrow at 1pm by the Joint Committee. I wish the calendar function worked there. GRRR.

Anonymous said...

NECN showed some excerpts. Somehow they managed to drag out a woman who claims to have been damaged because she didn't see her father show affection to women, just his "many partners."

It seems to me the real issue is if he showed affection to HER.

I'm also not sure what this has to do with gay marriage, since the woman was in her 40s and was clearly talking about her biological father.

Anonymous said...

Yikes! It turns out the woman testifying against gay marriage is Canadian and her father was married to a WOMAN. She's published versions of the speech she gave (with footnotes citing Concerned Woman of Canada and Exodus) in dozens of fundie publications.

Here's an excerpt from the AFA. For fun, count the number of "fundie pop psychology" assertions:

http://www.afajournal.org/2005/august/805Stefanowicz.asp

I came to deeply care for, love and compassionately understand my dad. He shared his life regrets with me. Unfortunately, my father, as a child, was sexually and physically abused by older males. Due to this, he lived with depression, control issues, anger outbursts, suicidal tendencies and sexual compulsions.

He tried to fulfill his legitimate needs for his father’s affirmation, affection and attention with transient and promiscuous relationships. He and his partners were exposed to various contagious STDs as they traveled across North America. My father’s (ex)partners, whom I had deep caring feelings for and associated with, had drastically shortened lives due to suicide, contracting HIV or AIDS.