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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

On the Freedom to Marry - Part IV

The act of denying a woman or a man the freedom to marry the person of their choice is just as wrong as it would be to force someone to marry against their will, which is still commonly done, and is in fact the tradition, in many parts of the world.

To deny a woman or man the freedom to marry a person of their own sex is just as wrong as denying two people from two different ethnic backgrounds the freedom to marry one another: a person of European descent the freedom to marry a person of African descent, Asian descent or Native American descent.

It is wrong.

At an earlier moment of our history, in different places of our country, this kind of discrimination was legal. We permitted our prejudices and fears to overwhelm our sense of justice and thereby denied women and men the right of self-determination.

We moved past this because it was wrong, because it is Un-American, because it strikes against the basic notion that all people are created equal, equally loved by their creator, equal in dignity and equally entitled to make free choices regarding how they worship, and where; regarding who they associate with and love.

In America, according to our best traditions, our way life changed and our laws eventually caught up with our conscience. We overcame this form of bigotry, this fear of mixing the “races,” this racism and racial discrimination, but we have not overcome bigotry all-together. We still fear, hate and discriminate against our neighbors. We tolerate it when it is directed toward our friends and family when the issue is human sexuality.

It is one thing to discriminate against people in your private life. As Americans, we have the freedom to assemble with people of our own choosing. No one can force us to befriend people we do not want to befriend.

It is sad to live in fear; I think it is, sad to watch someone who nurtures hate, intolerance and bigotry. However, I am moved by more than sorrow when those people seek to enshrine their fear and bigotry in the laws of the United States.

I am moved by anger when I see injustice, and moved by pride in my American heritage to fight against it.

I am moved by the ideals of the founders, moved out of desire not to be shamed by the generations of Americans who went before me, who gave their lives in the struggle to guarantee freedom and equality for all citizens, for all people

I am moved out of a desire not to be shamed by those Americans who are fighting and dying still, for the protection of those same rights, especially those Americans serving in the armed, defending the nation even though many would have us return to treating them like second class citizens.