Friday, June 26, 2015

Gay Marriage and an End to Stigma

The Husband and I with my late father-in-law at our wedding
Today's landmark ruling striking down all same sex marriage bans across America is something I never thought I'd live to see.  Here in Virginia, engaging in same sex relations could expose you to a felony prosecution until as recently as 2013.  Anti-gay laws have ALWAYS been about punishing gays for not conforming to Christofascist religious beliefs and the goal has been to dehumanize us and stigmatize us so that the modern day Pharisee crowd could feel superior and falsely pious.  In the process, so many lives of LGBT individuals were damaged or ruined.  And our enemies sadly cared nothing about the harm they did - and still seek to do. There is still much work to be done - Virginia still allows gays to be fired at will - but the pain and stigma that younger generations will encounter will have to be better than what mine experienced.  Andrew Sullivan sums up much of what I am thinking and feeling today.  Here are highlights:
For many years, it felt like one step forward, two steps back. History is a miasma of contingency, and courage, and conviction, and chance.

But some things you know deep in your heart: that all human beings are made in the image of God; that their loves and lives are equally precious; that the pursuit of happiness promised in the Declaration of Independence has no meaning if it does not include the right to marry the person you love; and has no force if it denies that fundamental human freedom to a portion of its citizens.

This core truth is what Justice Kennedy affirmed today, for the majority: that gay people are human. I wrote the following in 1996:
Homosexuality, at its core, is about the emotional connection between two adult human beings. And what public institution is more central—more definitive—of that connection than marriage? The denial of marriage to gay people is therefore not a minor issue. It is the entire issue. It is the most profound statement our society can make that homosexual love is simply not as good as heterosexual love; that gay lives and commitments and hopes are simply worth less.
We are not disordered or sick or defective or evil – at least no more than our fellow humans in this vale of tears. We are born into family; we love; we marry; we take care of our children; we die. No civil institution is related to these deep human experiences more than civil marriage and the exclusion of gay people from this institution was a statement of our core inferiority not just as citizens but as human beings. It took courage to embrace this fact the way the Supreme Court did today. 

I think of the gay kids in the future who, when they figure out they are different, will never know the deep psychic wound my generation – and every one before mine – lived through: the pain of knowing they could never be fully part of their own family, never be fully a citizen of their own country. I think, more acutely, of the decades and centuries of human shame and darkness and waste and terror that defined gay people’s lives for so long. And I think of all those who supported this movement who never lived to see this day, . . .

I never believed this would happen in my lifetime . . .
What is so sad is that the Christofascists still care nothing about the harm they do.  Nor do their political whores in the Republican Party who are falling all over themselves condemning today's ruling and promising to work to make our lives less equal.  Some on the right have said the ruling was Satanic.  If there is anything Satanic , it is the Christofascists and their sycophants.  They and other religious fundamentalists are a face of evil in the world.

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