Gangs have been around for ages. They define cultures, create a sense of belonging and power and more importantly, target specific groups. We all grew up hearing about gangs and watching family TV specials about them on our local networks but did any of us ever realize we have all shared a home with one?
Readers, you may scoff and pass this off as some radical statement but until you recognize the fact that there are no absolutes, I’m sorry to break it to you folks, marriage is the biggest gang that has hit America… ever.
Marriage was booming in the 1950s thanks to tradition, the war and of course the U.S. government who reinforced the idea of the nuclear family, the Stepford American way of life. After a civil rights movement that questioned the daily life of Americans and the glimpse of freedom that can come from fighting for a cause you believe in, the American seams began to unravel. Free love and fighting the machine were spreading across the nation. Enough of the history lesson, we all know how things turned out.
After years of individualism and fighting against the heterosexual ideals that were ingrained in our society, things started settling. In 2001 a new war picked up speed and many people ran back to religion. Civil rights seemed like a thing of the past for hippies and now the baby boomers were wearing suits and working in cubicles… and the hate continues to grow. Yes, we elected our first black president and yes women can be doctors, lawyers and scientists but who left the gays behind in the 1960s? Racism and sexism were broken down and began to evolve so why has the hate for a person’s sexual orientation carried through all of these years?
In November 2008, Proposition 8 was passed (which eliminated the right and recognition of same sex marriage) thanks to the religious right that is too afraid to accept a lifestyle different from theirs, specifically the Mormon church who funded most of the initiatives to get Proposition 8 passed. They claimed they were saving the sanctity of marriage and protecting their children. Because if gay, lesbian, and transgendered people had the right to be married, then we would have to reveal to our kids that there are actual GAY people that exist, which might make them (gasp) question their own sexuality.
Here’s the thing about marriage, it is most commonly performed in a church with many couples who don’t even follow that specific religion but do it anyways because it is tradition. It is an act that provides legal rights to couples through the government yet religion is smeared all over it. Separation of church vs. state anyone? There aren’t hoards of people picketing a heterosexual marriage because the husband has a thing for doing his wife from behind, yet the minute it’s two men or two women, people are outraged. What happens in the bedroom should stay in the bedroom and as citizens of a country where everybody is “created equal” we should all be provided the same rights, simply for the fact that we are human.
Only five states recognize the union of same sex couples and only two of those states (let’s hear it for Massachusetts and Connecticut!) legalized same sex marriage. DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, has the country at a stand still. Under this act the only recognizable marriages are heterosexual and even if you were married in Massachusetts or Connecticut and go to another state, your rights and marriage are not considered valid. This is an enormous issue for the LGBT community and very obviously, a civil rights violation.
President elect Barack Obama has promised to repeal DOMA, repeal don’t ask don’t tell, and pass an employment non-discrimination act as well as hate crimes legislation. Now, with his inauguration a week away, it is time to make sure he keeps these promises. All over the nation people will be be protesting DOMA this Saturday, January 10 from 1:30-4:00, in an effort to show President Obama that his help is still needed and that the LGBT community must be allowed equal rights.
Whether you are gay, lesbian, transgender or know someone who is, make an impact and let the Mormons, the right wing, the left wing, and everyone in between see the importance in this legislation for equality. Help break down this gang, targeting people because of their sexual preference. Marriage should not be a privilege, it should be a civil right.
The Boston DOMA protest will meet at City Hall Plaza, for other city protest information, check out jointheimpact.com .