Saturday, 25 June 2011

Let's have some good news - marriage equality in New York and how important it is

New York has voted in favour of marriage equality.

Another step forward and some more families that will not be ignored. Families will get the legal protections and rights that are are so commonly enjoyed by so many striaght people. Many families will be spared untold irritations, annoyances and grief that come from lack of these essential protections. And it's another step forward to greater societal recognition that our loves, our unions, our families have value and are due respect.

And more. One of the things I always say about any right that is granted is it is far more than the right itself. Yes marriage rights are important in and of themselves, yes this will be wonderful for so many families and yes, on that grounds alone it's worth dancing for joy

But it's more, far more than the right itself. With the law as it stood, the law was saying that gay couples are less. It was saying that gay relationships are of less worth, that gay people's love was less important, that our famuiies are lesser and, above all, that gay people are less, gay people are due less and gay people deserve less than straight people

That is what discrimination in the law says. Similar to religious bigotry, it is a bigotry that has the power of authority behind it. How can you say gay people are as good as straight people when the law of the land declares that that isn't so? How can you say gay people deserve respect when the law of the land shows none? How can you say it's wrong to treat people badly because they are gay, when the law does just that? How can you say that hurting gay people is wrong when you have enshrined in law the very ideal that it is right?

Changing laws does not make bigotry go away, not even close. But prejudiced laws add to the fuel of bigotry. Prejudiced laws add legitimacy to bigotry, give bigotry authority and reinforcement and constantly undermine any attempt to counter that bigotry. Every prejudiced law on the books is a strone around the necks of GBLT people and their allies.

So yes, celebrate for those families and celebrate for everyone, it's a good day :)