Gay marriage, Japanese Internment, and Interracial Marriage

As the Supreme Court gets ready to hear arguments on California’s Proposition 8 — banning gay marriage, we should probably reflect on why it matters to any of us. The reason it matters is obvious if you’re gay or lesbian — this directly affects your life.

For the rest of us, the question is a little different. The reality is that this does absolutely NO HARM to anyone else nor anyone else’s marriage. To say that it’s legal for consenting adults to get married, regardless of the plumbing that they and their partner have is fundamentally irrelevant to the health and well-being of anyone else’s marriage.  If you belong to a religion whose literal interpretation of the Bible suggests it’s ‘wrong’ (then I hope you also are consistent and avoid eating shrimp, do not work on the Sabbath, sell your daughters into marriage, etc. because really — we’re talking about the same set of rules from the same chapter), then I’m guessing your church isn’t going to be marrying any gay folks anytime soon. Just the same as the churches who walk in the vision of religion that Christ actually talked about (e.g., loving everyone, tolerance,  judging not lest you be judged yourself… that kind of thing) who have been marrying lesbian and gay couples for quite a while are going to continue the practice.

So, if we forget that most of us know (or <gasp> are friends with GLBT folks) someone who’s lesbian or gay, the question is — why should it matter to us? Ironically enough, at a personal level it shouldn’t — someone’s right to marry another legal and consenting adult has absolutely no impact on anyone else’s marriage.

But at a social matter it really must. To say it doesn’t, is like saying that the physical and cultural genocide of native peoples in the US, internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, slavery, women’s rights, and the civil rights movements haven’t left a mark on Americans — who we are as a people and how we have tried to move forward from some of the ugliest parts of our short history. The annoying thing about Americans is that we pay lip service to being a “great” country and love our Constitution and Bill of Rights, but we still haven’t effectively dealt with our history of violence, racism, and sexism. Hell, there are still a significant portion of Americans — especially in the South — who still think it should be illegal for folks of different races to marry. But despite the crazy views of these jerks, society is moving forward. That’s why we can’t base our laws on vocal haters whose arguments are based in antiquated and frankly ignorant views of other human beings. We have to serve the greater good and our society with greater inclusiveness.

Scott Fujita, of the Cleveland Browns wrote an elegant essay on the importance of supporting marriage equality as the next step in improving the condition of equality in the US specifically talking positioning gay marriage in line with the other changes in American law — making the US more tolerant and more open to difference. It’s great to see more public figures like him coming forward to support equal rights — in fact, a solid majority of Americans support equal rights for our LGBT friends which speaks to our society’s views and values changing with time.

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5 thoughts on “Gay marriage, Japanese Internment, and Interracial Marriage

    • Hi Jess,

      I’m flattered and will definitely participate…. I’ve just been a bit mental with some deadlines and house stuff….

      I’m so glad that you enjoy the ranting! :)


  1. I’m really struggling with a lot of the issues in American society today, in the sense that I don’t understand how we can continue to “we pay lip service to being a “great” country and love our Constitution and Bill of Rights, but we still haven’t effectively dealt with our history of violence, racism, and sexism.” Why does the vocal minority, the haters and the hypocrites, have so much influence on American society? Why are we still fighting for equality and justice? Why haven’t we fully accepted that being different is the norm, that there is no one superior religion/race/gender? Why do so many people not recognize that if one group is treated without equality it affects all groups?

    Thank you for pointing out how important this issue is to everyone.

    • Lisa — I struggle with the same issues. Here’s what it comes down to for me — these folks are so loud and so bold in their statements and their beliefs that it’s hard to engage them and the majority in the US are so conflict averse most won’t speak up. Instead, they’ll try to make rules about cyber-bullying and being nicey nice (read passive aggressive or simply passive) to everyone instead of just confronting the problems head on.

      Most of the time in life I think regular folks do just treat people as people … but when we talk about “groups” then it becomes easier to generalize and dehumanize.

      It also seems like one of the side-effects of our cyber-culture is that it has emboldened the crazy because they’re protected by their computer screens and increasing ability to only socially interact with people who share the same beliefs as they do.

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