I would have liked to believe that the idea that our rights are diminished when the rights of others are increase was a thing of the past. Sadly, that is not the case. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I mean, when women won the right to vote, it’s not like anyone stopped men from continuing to do so:
[Mr. Jones enters the polling place.]
Ms. Smith: Hold on there, mister.
Mr. Jones: Huh?
Ms. Smith: Is it true that you are, in fact, a man?
Mr. Jones: Uh…wha?
Ms. Smith: That is to say, you’re of the male gender?
Mr. Jones: Well, uh, yeah, last time I checked.
Ms. Smith: You might want to check again, just to be sure.
[Mr. Jones steps away to check.]
Mr. Jones: Yup, still a man.
Ms. Smith: And is it also true that your wife, Mrs. Jones, is a woman?
Mr. Jones: Last I che…uh, I mean, yes.
Ms. Smith: Well, according to this paper here, now that she has the right to vote, you are no longer allowed to do so.
Mr. Jones: Why?
Ms. Smith: Well, you see, when one person gets the right to vote, it means we have to take it away from someone else. You have now given your vote to your wife.
Mr. Jones: . . .
Ms. Smith: I just need you to sign right here that you understand your new lack of rights. [holds out a paper and pen]
[Mr. Jones signs the paper.]
Right. Last election, both my husband and I were allowed to vote. Funny how that works, you know, that whole “women’s suffrage” thing.
Same thing with marriage equality. The fact that the two men the next street over can now legally marry each other didn’t somehow negate my marriage. I believe the certificate is still filed away in our attic, and so far, no one has come knocking on our door to reclaim it.
And before anyone gets his or her undies in a bunch, here are a couple of things to consider:
- Yes, your church will be able to say “no” to a same-sex couple. Churches deny people marriage ceremonies all the time. Divorced people, people living together, partners of different religions, non-members. Chances are, if a same-sex couple isn’t already attending your church, they’re probably not going to go there just to get married.
- No, this isn’t ruining “traditional” marriage. There are a lot of other things that have already taken their toll. Stop grousing about this one. Don’t like same-sex marriage? Fine, don’t marry someone of the same sex. Don’t like divorce or adultery? Don’t do those either.
- No, this isn’t going to lead to people being able to marry their dogs or small children. I’m pretty sure a good case can be made that the dog and the child can’t consent.
- Yes, there’s a chance that some things may change in public school curricula so that all types of families (including ones with two moms or two dads) are represented. But guess what? Your kid, whether you know it or not, is already exposed to these things. Don’t like it? Homeschool, send your kid to private school, or tell your kid you don’t agree. It’s not all that different from having evolution taught in high schools. Not to mention the fact that no one is telling your kid to be gay, merely pointing out the existence of gay people.
I’m not telling you that you have to support marriage equality. But I am asking you not to prevent it, particularly not on the grounds that you are somehow losing your own rights. You’re not. You still have every right to get married. You still have the right to all the privileges and benefits of marriage. Giving someone else the same thing does not in any way change that. Stop using that as your argument.