Yesterday Baeble changed its profile image on Facebook to the currently rampant social media symbol for marriage equality. Vice
weighed in late in the day that this means nothing and TechCrunch
chipped in this morning with its support of the symbol's virality and added a little context. Boil all the vernacular and opinions down and this is a Civil Rights issue in America. By not recognizing the right of approximately 10 percent of our population to a legal union that grants them the same rights and legal protections under the law we marginalize some of the most productive and revered people in our culture. The religious connotations of the word "Marriage" get a lot of the population in a twist and muddy the fundamental issue of rights and equitable treatment under the law. Committed relationships are hard; when I got married in 1990 a friend of my mother's in the receiving line took me aside and told me that the key to a successful marriage was a sense of humor and a short memory. She has practiced this several times in the last 23 years but she was right. Nearly a quarter of a century later with a flock of children and the same wife, I know that should I get seriously ill my wife is waiting with the full authority to pull the plug and when this happens she will get 100 percent of my share of Baeble without having to quibble with the tax man. This is her right under the law. This is not true for my gay friends in committed relationships. They must dodge and weave with trusts and partnerships to try and accomplish the same result.
Being gay is no more a choice than having blue eyes. We are all wired by nature in ways that we cannot understand. We are compelled to be and do things over time that defines each of us and I am not sure that much of this is voluntary. Love, attraction and emotion are deep biochemical forces that involve all the senses in ways we really can't fully articulate. Modern dating sites with their questionnaires and algorithm's try to distill this for a small monthly fee but they are at best filters applied to the sea. As a group at Baeble we see and hear from people every day that are compelled to make music. They hear it, they see it, it is woven into their DNA they are performers and creators and this is who they are. On the way through our doors we accept and appreciate these passions.
But back to Civil rights - Yesterday was California's day in front of the Supreme Court and today is the Federal Defense of Marriage Act. I felt betrayed by Bill Clinton in '96 when this was signed into law. He knew better but I am sure for political purposes at the time signed this bill. The man whom I am sure has lived by the ethos of "the difference between gay and straight is a six pack of beer" struck a powerful blow against Civil Rights in America. California's Proposition 8 was deceptively crafted when it was put to a vote. But then why are we leaving a Federal Civil Rights issue to the states? Did we leave integration of the schools and segregation to the states to vote on? The Federal Government at the time stood on the side of Right and this time it appears to be about to punt and put Civil Rights back on the states.
So what are you doing about this issue? If all you can and will do is put a little pink into your social media profile go ahead and do so. There is nothing more telling than seeing a sea of pink in Facebook. What have I done? Two years ago when civil unions became legal in New York State I became an ordained minister (over the web of course) and I officiated the marriage of two close friends on a beautiful late summer day. As we made our way through the vows and came to "For better or worse, in sickness and health" I was struck by the irony that we were finally able under the laws of New York able to recognize and celebrate a relationship that had already over decades lasted through all of that. Otherwise make your voice heard in any number of the ways available to you.
You don't have to like "Gay" or "Gay Marriage" to understand that to continue to deny a huge swath of our brothers, sisters, cousins and friends Equal Rights is unjust and unsustainable.