September 2003 – Along with war in the Middle East, threats from North Korea and battles in South Africa, we are faced with an important battle of our own, right here in Massachusetts.
Gay and lesbian citizens have been on the edge of their seats waiting for the State Supreme Judicial Court to hand down a ruling on the legalization of gay marriages. Right-wing family activists are pushing to have the State Constitution amended to specifically exclude homosexuals from attaining the marriage rights that all other citizens are free to enjoy. Opponents say that the amendment will discriminate against gay and lesbian rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Not to mention the tax breaks and other immediate benefits that come exclusively with the right to marry.
Proponents say that if such an amendment is not passed immediately, our fragile country and many family units will soon be destroyed. They add that if homosexuals are granted the right to marry, we will be faced with the legalization of bigamy, incest and of all things, beastiality. (I don’t know how they came up with that one!)
Where do the citizens of Massachusetts stand on the issue? We hear the news reports and all of the pre-emptive analytical noise as the media psychoanalyzes what the court’s ruling will be, but rarely do we hear anything from the public. Has anyone given much thought to how individual lives will truly be impacted? Will gay and lesbian Pulse readers suddenly find themselves flipping through these pages looking for a place to land the perfect partner to wed, rather than what the hottest place is on a Friday night? Will hetero readers find themselves dashing out to the clubs to snag a mate who will rush them down the aisle before the sinister gay community has demolished the family unit?
My guess in both cases is that the answer is no. People looking to score will still be looking to score whether they are gay or straight. Those who are looking to settle down will still be heading in that direction.
I haven’t heard of any devastating happenings in Canada since that country ruled in favor of allowing gays to marry. Nor have I heard any reports of lighting striking the earth from God’s rage. In fact, it seems life has simply continued on just as it did when the courts ruled in favor of interracial marriages, or granted women the right to vote.
Several weeks have passed since the SJC’s 130-day deadline. Have they spared the earth utter devastation with their delay? I think not. Will God’s angry wrath wipe Massachusetts clear off the planet if the Court rules in support of gays and lesbians? Again, I think not. However, Bush has formally declared his opposition to gay marriage. He is quick to add that he is “mindful that we are all sinners” and urged that “America remains a welcoming country”. A bit hypocritical, don’t you think?
I have been wearing the diamond that my partner gave me for two years now, and our date has finally been set. Tentatively. As with all gay and lesbian citizens here in the Commonwealth, I anxiously await the ruling. For those of you who did not support your fellow homosexual citizens, I suggest you brace yourselves. The time has come to do the right thing and honor the rights of every citizen in this state and in this country. It is going to happen. Probably not today and possibly not tomorrow, but it will happen.
Keith may be reached for comment at email@example.com