More Good News On Gay Rights: Marriage In California

TOPIC: gay rights, gay marriage

The news and pictures are heartwarming, and not without considerable irony when you think about the irrational objections of homophobes and gay bashers across the country. With ranting illogic about how gay rights threaten to destroy our society and eat away at so-called family values, gender-bigots across the country have smugly denied gays legal rights on par with heteros — often viciously attacking gays and gay rights groups for "living in sin" and (ignorantly) accusing gays of not being capable of long-term healthy, loving romantic relationships, then refusing to grant gays who want it the legal right to publicly dedicate themselves to and proclaim these long-term (healthy) relationships in the same way heteros everywhere are allowed.

So what do we as a society say to Del Martin (age 87) and Phyllis Lyon (age 84) who have been together for more than 50 years (!) but until now haven't been allowed to wed? As a society we've not only disallowed them a host of legal rights with numerous implications for their lives and the lives of their relatives, but as a society we've forcibly disallowed for them the basic sociocultural roles that we then criticize them for not being able to fulfill — the roles of functional, nurturing, embedded-in-society de facto families.

They do: First same-sex couple — women in their 80s — wed in California

Del Martin, 87, and Phyllis Lyon, 84, tied the knot at 5:01 p.m. PT in San Francisco City Hall, marking the first same-sex marriage in California.

Martin and Lyon, who have been together for more than 50 years, repeated the vows they said four years ago, when Mayor Gavin Newsom declared that gay and lesbian couples could get married in the city. His decision was later overturned, but the state Supreme Court ruled last month that same-sex marriages were constitutionally protected.

I fear the country isn't ready. Sexist and racist language and behavior are still pervasive, if not as explicit and openly condoned as it once was. Gender bigotry is still at full boil.

I admire the courage and passion I see in the gay couples taking advantage of this opportunity right now in the face of national and world attention and while the anonymous gender bigots swamp the web commentaries on the news articles with their hate and fear and bible thumping. Of course, these daring couples face more direct animosity as well:

They may face opponents such as protesters in San Francisco waving signs reading "Homo Sex is Sin" and similar warnings.

Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, predicted "months of social chaos that could wreak havoc on every state in America."

He said California's new policy "threatens to undo thousands of years of natural marriage."

In such responses I see fear. I see outright hatred and intolerance. I see men and women moved by strong emotion to outrageous claims and offensive behavior.

But I don't see the logic. I certainly don't see compassionate humanity. In fact, I suspect when we lose the logic we quite often lose the compassionate humanity along with it.

I am hoping that California's newest effort in recognizing the rights of its gay citizens will hold … and eventually grow and spread.

Related References

Henderson, P. & Beck, A. (6/16/2008). California gays, lesbians marry legally. News Daily, accessed 6/17/2008 at website http://www.newsdaily.com/stories/n16257382-marriage-gays/

Henderson, P. & Chatterjee, S. (6/17/2008). California gay couples rush to wed as vote looms. News Daily, accessed 6/17/2008 at web site http://www.newsdaily.com/stories/n17360382-marriage-gay/

Winter, Michael (2008). They do: First same-sex couple — women in their 80s — wed in California. Accessed Tues 6/17/2008 at web site http://blogs.usatoday.com/ondeadline/2008/06/they-do-first-s.html