Wrongs And Rights
The past year was pretty good for marriage equality. In the last month of 2013 alone there were a couple of major battles won. This year has started off with a couple more pending constitutional challenges made in different states. Reading the news about this made me curious about what else was pending in the coming year, so I Googled and found the Marriage Equality site and its list of legal actions, pending and, in some cases, complete. I did not go through the whole list; it was interesting enough to see how many there are.
One of the suits caught my attention. In Idaho, there’s a pending suit where the DA filed a motion to dismiss the case on the basis that marriage was “not a fundamental right.” Very well, if marriage is that unimportant, try to nullify all of the marriages in the state, take away all of the benefits hetero marriages have and see what reaction you get. Sure, technically marriage probably falls in the “privilege” category, but it’s a privilege one group has and another does not.
Another thing which caught my eye was the Colorado bakery lawsuit. If you haven’t heard about this, there’s a bakery in Colorado which refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. The bakery claimed it was their first amendment / free speech / freedom of religion to deny the couple on this basis. Now, I see their point on this, but the thing about any right is you get to have it up to the point where exercising that right infringes on somebody else’s right. This is why, for example, you can’t yell “fire!” in a crowded area and call it “free speech.” If the bakery were allowed to discriminate like this, would it be permissible for another business to deny service to non-whites and call this freedom of speech or religion? Before the civil rights era (and during), the bible was used as justification for bigotry, just as it is being used for anti-gay campaigning now.
The fact is this whole thing is yet another step in the long journey of this country and, I believe, and the world toward being a place of love and understanding. It’s not going to happen anytime soon, but every step helps, no matter how small or large. As I see it, marriage equality isn’t just about the rights of gays to marry, it’s about equal rights for everyone. No consenting adults should be denied whatever it is they consent to do with each other, so long as they aren’t doing something which interferes with someone else’s rights. And no, no one has the right to not be offended. That’s not even a privilege. It’s wishful thinking at best, but some folks can’t seem to understand or accept this. If and when they ever do, well, again, the world will be a better place.