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    Posted June 28, 2013 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Same-sex couples react to Supreme Court rulings

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    Marriage Is What Brings Us Together Today

    Mawwage is what bwings us togeva today.
    Mawwage, that bwessed awwangement
    that dweam wivin a dweam.

    Have you caught on yet to what this is from? No this isn't just me choosing to speak oddly. The above quote is from the 1987 Rob Reiner movie “The Princess Bride” in which a classic fairy tale, with swordplay, giants, an evil prince, a beautiful princess, and yes, some kissing (as read by a kindly grandfather) comes to life. Oh and of course “Mawwage.” I believe I was three or four years old when my parents introduced me to this classic. I haven’t stopped watching it since. At least twice a year, sometimes more, I watch this show and force those nearby to sit and enjoy it. Admittedly when I first saw the film I was overcome with fear, but fascination. Fear of giant man-eating rats. Fear of the evil prince. My overwhelming feeling, consistently, though, has been fascination. I sought so hard to understand why beloved Lesley would fight so hard for Princess Buttercup. Why did the Prince want so much to keep them apart? Why? In The Princess Bride the climax comes just after the marriage ceremony. As I grew up and re watched that scene I was always more interested in the great fight at the end. What should I care about the marriage? Yet as I’ve grown so too has my interest in the marriage. My indifference turned to curiosity, my curiosity turned to enthralled. My enthrallment turned to bitterness. I grew bitter because I realized around the time that I realized I was gay that I would likely never see or feel that “bwessed awwangement” that the priest talks about. Why? Because a law passed in 1996 out of fear forced the federal government, despite a growing swath of public opinion in the opposite direction, to deny equal rights to same-sex couples. Indeed my prospects of ever finding that ‘true’ love and arriving at the culminating point of marriage were dim. That all changed in recent years.

    Many conservatives have before now conceded they've lost the argument when it comes to gay marriage. For at least the last few years the questions has not been if but when full marriage equality will prevail in United States. However as much as we discuss the ramifications of legalizing same-sex marriage what we don’t discuss is the context. What is the state of marriage today? Supporters of “traditional” marriage often express their fear that if gay people are allowed to marry, the institution will be transformed. The truth, however, is that marriage has already been transformed, not just in the United States but around the world. We’re now seeing simply the latest phase of a long evolution. The “biblical” form of marriage is one of polygamy. For thousands upon thousands of years couples joined together long before the churches or states began to get involved at all. What about “traditional” marriage? Well most think of the idea of one family selling its daughter to another family in a purely commercial transaction as monstrous, that would be “traditional” marriage too. So too must you consider the changes made just in the last century. Because of those changes it is now legal for people of opposite races to marry and gave women the same rights as men within a marriage.

    Opponents of same-sex marriage have argued that if a state allows gay people to get married, then marriage itself will be “devalued,” and straight couples will be less likely to join in wedded bliss and more likely to dissolve the marriages they’re already in. While it may be a little early to see whether these predictions turn out to be true, one thing we can say is that the states that have instituted same-sex marriage are among those with the lowest divorce rates. Not only that, the states that will probably be the last to enact marriage equality—conservative states in the South—have some of the highest rates of divorce. Of the ten states with the lowest divorce rates in 2011, five now have same-sex marriage (Iowa, Massachusetts, D.C., Maryland, and New York), and at least two others (Illinois and New Jersey) are likely to join the list in the next few years. Overall, divorce rates are highest in the South and lowest in the Northeast.

    One friend was very distressed on Wednesday when the Supreme Court released their decisions on the same-sex marriage cases.

    ”Damn. We further divide ourselves…

    Religion now has even more reason to hate gays. If we changed it so government did not recognize marriage of any kind and only civil unions, then religions would have said in who gets a civil union, and gays can't claim that they aren't being treated fairly.”

    From here a ‘spirited’ discussion ensued about the definition of marriage, its traditions, the scope and more. I won’t go into details as that debate has been had in detail since 1996 and before. However a few key parts that I’d highlight came a little later on.

    “So what’s wrong with changing the word from “marriage” to “civil union”? This way you don't piss off other people and still are treated fairly.”

    What’s wrong? Well there’s 1,138 things that are wrong. Marriage is a unique legal status conferred by and recognized by governments all over the world. It brings with it a host of reciprocal obligations, rights and protections. It is also a cultural institution. No other word has that power and no other status can provide that protection.

    The point is that even if there were no substantive differences in the way the law treated marriages and civil unions, the fact that a civil union remains a separate status only for gay people represents real and powerful inequality. The United States Constitution requires legal equality for all. Including lesbian and gay couples within existing marriage laws in is the fairest and simplest thing to do.

    This is all very similar to the 3/5 compromise. In today’s society would it be acceptable to tell black people “look we're still going to treat you as a person but just not a full person. You'll be 3/5ths of a person”?

    The answer to that quite simply is no.

    Why then would it be acceptable to tell a gay person or a gay couple that they are not the same as everyone else? Because regardless if that’s how you would distinguish it, that is how it comes across in the federal and in the state law. You don't have to be gay to support gay rights much in the way that you don't have to be a woman to support women’s rights you just have to be human and by that you have to support human rights.

    Since the same-sex marriage issue started to gain traction a few years ago I started to grow detached. It was intentionally. I didn't want to become emotionally invested and be let down later on when the court ruled. The same fear gripped me less than a year earlier when the Supreme Court had the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) case before them. Make no mistake that this court is conservative in nature and prefers to rule in smaller incremental terms than broadly. In his dissent Justice Scalia basically said Kennedy and the court are saying they're really not ruling on gay marriage nationwide, but they really are. DOMA and Prop. 8

    DOMA and Prop. 8 pave that way.

    10:05-10:15: Court releases DOMA opinion.

    10:25-10:25: Court releases Prop. 8 opinion.

    10:40: Extreme wave of emotion overcomes me.

    Everything I had held back came crashing down. Tears. Joy. Pride. I'll finish with the following: KEEP CALM AND MARRY ON.
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