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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

On the Freedom to Marry - Part V

The shameful truth is this. We live in a classist society now.

Women and men in same-sex relationships have been granted the freedom to marry, but those freedoms are under assault. They are being challenged in the courts, in state legislatures, by private citizens, at every level in our society.

If those retrogressive forces get their way, they would deprive homosexual couples the assurance that all heterosexual couples enjoy, and expect, simply because they are married. At the most critical moments of their lives, when they are sick or dying, or when tragedy suddenly strikes, they would deprive American citizens of the right to visit their loved ones in hospital rooms, protection in court, and the right to make decisions on behalf of their spouse.

We live in a classist society right now.

It is shameful.

The division between classes is different than that which was between the patrician and plebian, the commoner and lord, the freeperson and the slave. The markers of classism in our society are less obvious than they once were. We do not mark our class by the color of our clothes, by who is entitled to wear purple or don the top hat, by who is allowed to learn to read and write, or vote. The markers of classism in our society today are different, but no less distinct, and no less defiant of reason to uphold it.

Classism in our society is not codified in law, it is upheld by cultural norms, and goes beyond the present discussion on the freedom to marry. Classism in American is promoted by the ever shrinking European American majority as means of dividing and oppressing any group of citizens in the minority; by religion, by language, by ethnicity, by the color of their skin and by their sexuality.   

As Americans, it is our duty to resist the temptation toward these old habits of bigotry. Whatever troubles the institution of marriage is having among heterosexual couples; whether it is a rising divorce rate, marital infidelity, the increasingly public exposure of spousal abuse, or simply the fact that fewer opposite-sex couples are entering into marriage; whatever social forces caused these troubles, the existence of these troubles is no reason to fear the marriage of same-sex couples.

Same-sex couples around the world who are seeking the right to marry, do so because they ardently believe that the institution of marriage is a good in and of itself. In America they fervently strive to preserve this right for themselves, a right that all of their heterosexual peers posses, and give no thought at all to whether they might be allowed to be married, or not. For same-sex couples in America, it may prove to be merely a privilege, one that can be granted or revoked at the will of a simple majority on the Supreme Court of the United States