05 November 2008


Our Rights

Mack and Tim
We start today to look for ways to ensure that our rights are never infringed again as they were by votes in Arizona, California, and Florida last night. It's going to take a combination of activism, education, fund raising, crafty friend-making with the powerful, including legislators and (always hated-by-wrongdoers) judges, and putting ourselves even further out there.

Our rights are not a human creation, and they aren't subject to vote. In Jefferson's language, our rights come from our Creator: Something/somewhere/someone greater and beyond ourselves and our fellow humans, something independent of the details of one's individual beliefs. The larger community and the government can recognize, support, and protect—or deny, discourage, and attack—our rights, but they cannot really take them away. They are inalienable: That's what makes them rights.

We must use appropriate force to ensure that our communities and our governments recognize our rights. That does not include physical violence. From Magna Carta to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, it has always been so. Sit ins come to mind as an example of appropriate force. Sit ins in courthouses where marriage licenses are granted. If we can't get married, maybe no one should be able to.

We have the right to live and love with our same-sex partners of however many years as much as those in different-sex relationships have to do so with theirs. And what we have the right to is "marriage," not some substitute word or arrangement. It may take one, two, five, or ten more generations to achieve recognition of that right by our neighbors and communities, by all the states and by the federal government, but we have to keep pointing in the right direction. As much as they holler "abomination" at us, the shame is on their side: The side of those who deny a basic human right to others, not those whose love is misunderstood, distorted, and slandered.

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I will help in this fight, and not just because you're my friends and I love you. It's because no one should be treated like less than human.
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