The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans, Mormons and Love

Today is Veterans Day, and the annual Veterans Day Parade in Birmingham begins at 1:30. Toward the end of this column I question what our service men and women fought for. Be thankful that people have put their lives on the line so that we can enjoy our freedoms.

Last night Keith Olbermann, in a Special Comment, asked people who supported Prop 8, "Why?" He makes the same points I did, and more.

In addition to the protests in California and Salt Lake City regarding the Mormon Church's role in passing Prop 8 in California, a major protest is planned for tomorrow in New York City at the Mormon Manhattan Temple.

My question is...we have a Mormon facility nearby in Gardendale. Why aren't we protesting there?

Just as an aside, how does what these two men are doing hurt anyone? How does the celebration of their love threaten the marriage of anyone?

Here Michelangelo Signorile takes a call from Nancy, a Mormon who contributed to Yes on 8. The discussion is about 15 minutes long, and focuses on whether the rights of groups of people can be taken away with a ballot measure. In the end, Nancy agrees that if the people of California voted to ban Mormons, that would be OK. In doing so, and in context of the conversation, she also agrees that the rights of African Americans could be taken away in this manner.

This probably does not bother Nancy, because she must know (from the conversation if not already), that the Mormon Church did not support the Civil Rights movement. They used the Bible, and their Book of Mormon, to support their discriminatory beliefs. More recently they have (so they say) moderated their beliefs on racial equality, but I am sure that many individuals still cling to their old beliefs, just as some still believe in polygamy and child marriage.

This may sound wacky, but this is scary, and not just for gays. 52% of people in California were manipulated to vote to take away an established right. Who's to say they couldn't be persuaded to vote to take away the rights of blacks to attend public colleges? Or the rights of Jews to gather in worship?

This is America? Where good men and women have fought for our freedom and for our Constitution, and we end up taking people's rights away by a vote? Today is Veteran's Day. Is this what our service men and women fight for? While many who march in the parade in Birmingham today may not agree that same sex couples should be able to marry, I bet most would hate to know that they fought for a country where the rights of individuals can be taken away with a vote.

This is different than the vote in Alabama that amended our constitution to restrict marriage. The potential right to marry was denied, but established rights were not taken away as they were in California.

In a decade or so, people will laugh when they look back at this. By then, the love between two people will be recognized and celebrated, regardless of who the two people are. Why does it have to be so difficult to get there? I'm sure African Americans asked this question throughout the history of the country. Sexual minorities are fortunate. Our rights are being realized much quicker. It just doesn't seem that way.


Drew said...

I know several people who are overseas "defending our country". None of them want to come home. They are making more money than they could dream of making in the states. Of course they are in Iraq where it is about as dangerous now as it is in West Birmingham. The wages are tax free, room and meals are paid, transportation is paid and they get per diem for the food that the government already supplies for them? In addition they get hazardous duty and wartime benefits. One guy said he feels like a high priced rent a cop. No way do they want to come back because they would have to find a job here in the states at a time when unemployment is rising and will surely continue to do so.

Anonymous said...

I got married back home at the end of Oct. When I was in the SF courthouse to get the license, I was surrounded by the rush of same-sex couples... such a positive feeling was being given off. It's really too bad, some of my friends are utterly dissapointed. It's just a temporary setback. I have little doubt that even if the courts don't show justice, public opinion trends are shifting in a positive direction. The ads they were showing acted as if the schools would indoctrinate your child into being gay. Each new decade voters nationwide are more accepting.

Joe said...

Wow, Shia I didn't know you got married. Congratulations.

I agree. The setback is temporary. Equality is coming.