Election 2012: Equality is Not Created in a Vacuum
Editor's Note: The following is an op-ed.
By Sarah Toce, Editor-in-Chief. The Seattle Lesbian
Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington state will have marriage on the mind this November when voters in support of equality are being instructed to “Vote Yes on 1” in Maine; “Vote for Question 6” in Maryland; “Vote No” in Minnesota; and “Vote to Approve R74” in Washington state.
Here in Washington state, a few dozen politicians didn’t pass marriage equality. We the People passed marriage equality in Washington state. The law was signed by Gov. Chris Gregoire on February 13, 2012. Surprisingly, no straight people were harmed with the passage of marriage equality on this day — or the many that followed.
Allowing same-sex couples the freedom to marry their partners does not threaten heterosexual marriages or cause children to be born with three ears and five eyes on the tops of their heads.
I believe that fear is the root of so many anti-gay movements in this nation. Our counterparts are so concerned with their livelihoods being threatened that they don’t even notice that their daughter’s best friend in elementary school has two moms; that the firefighter that died saving their husbands' lives left behind a partner with no means to financially survive; that their son or daughter was killed in the line of duty without ever being able to share with them their true identities; and that one teenaged kid was beaten down to shreds emotionally because he “just never fit in” ...
At the end of the day, we will not remember the acronyms to the organizations that have shunned our lives and loves for generations. No, we will remember those who have stood beside us and have fought for our denied freedoms as if they were their very own. We will remember the effort, stamina, chutzpah, and resiliency it took to effectively win equality in all four states. And then, when December rolls around, we will start all over again. In the United States of America, no one is equal until all of us are equal.
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is betting on the probability that voters will be confused this November ... and that assumption might be an accurate one to anyone not paying extremely close attention to the wording on their state’s ballot.
NOM President Brian Brown said he thought anti-gay marriage opponents would prevail across the country this election. In fact, he told SiriusXM OutQ, “I think we’re going to win all four. But say we were to lose one — but still, we lost [just] one. Will there be a huge amount of media saying the country now supports same-sex marriage? Of course there will. The mainstream media is in the pocket of the same-sex marriage advocates. Anyone who looks as an objective observer will still be able to say, if we lose one state, the record still shows that [we’ve] won, whatever, 35 out of 36.”
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), “NOM sometimes displays a sense of aggrieved victimhood, picturing itself and other religious opponents of same-sex marriage as under assault by powerful and devious forces. In an August update, NOM President Brown described a ‘jihad’ by ‘those who wield scorn and hatred as a weapon to suppress the truth and those who speak it.’ He said that gay marriage advocates want ‘second class status’ for their opponents, adding, ‘we are looking into the face of a movement which wants … to take away your rights.’”
Essentially, NOM is a bully.
We in this country have stood up against bullying — promoting Dan Savage’s It Gets Better Project and other pro-health/anti-discrimination initiatives in the past several years. So do we have anything to be concerned about, truly?
“Vote Yes on 1” in Maine; “Vote for Question 6” in Maryland; “Vote No” in Minnesota; and “Vote to Approve R74” in Washington State. Tell your friends and family members to do the same. Equality is not created in a vacuum.
Sarah Toce is Editor-in-Chief of The Seattle Lesbian and a graduate of the New York Conservatory of Dramatic Arts.