Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gays vs. The Terminator

     The trial of (perhaps) my life, the Federal Prop 8 trial, is under way and has been given the name Perry vs. Schwarzenegger.  At first, this repelled me, that my equal rights could be forever tied to the steroid-wasted and incompetent "governator" who has repeatedly vetoed my state's marriage equality laws.  (You know what they say about men who like big fat cigars between their lips.)

     Then the tangy taste of irony hit me.  In order to get our equal rights, we homos, the objects of millennia of bullying, will have to defeat one of the most histrionically hetero and uber-masculine icons of the twentieth century: Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

     And, we will.

     The Republican appointee U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who will decide the fate of our marriage equality future, my not overturn Proposition 8 at the end of this round, but we queers will not quit fighting.  We've lost plenty of battles on the playground before this one, but we are done meekly hiding in the bushes or staying in for recess due to a cold.  We're here to fight until we are equal, and we have not only truth, time, history, and liberals on our side, but also conservatives.

     Yes, one of the leading lawyers on the case is none other than Ted Olson, who we can all thank for getting George W. Bush in the White House.  But, this time the conservative juggernaut is on the side of marriage equality.  Many conservatives have called him hypocrite for this decision.  I call him hero.

     Here's an excerpt from Olson's case for conservative support of marriage equality for same sex couples in Newsweek.  The entire piece is worth reading:
     Many of my fellow conservatives have an almost knee-jerk hostility toward gay marriage. This does not make sense, because same-sex unions promote the values conservatives prize. Marriage is one of the basic building blocks of our neighborhoods and our nation. At its best, it is a stable bond between two individuals who work to create a loving household and a social and economic partnership. We encourage couples to marry because the commitments they make to one another provide benefits not only to themselves but also to their families and communities. Marriage requires thinking beyond one's own needs. It transforms two individuals into a union based on shared aspirations, and in doing so establishes a formal investment in the well-being of society. The fact that individuals who happen to be gay want to share in this vital social institution is evidence that conservative ideals enjoy widespread acceptance. Conservatives should celebrate this, rather than lament it.    
      Considering the Fourteenth Amendment, Olson states:
     At the end of the Civil War, to make the elusive promise of equality a reality, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution added the command that "no State É shall deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person É the equal protection of the laws."
     Subsequent laws and court decisions have made clear that equality under the law extends to persons of all races, religions, and places of origin. What better way to make this national aspiration complete than to apply the same protection to men and women who differ from others only on the basis of their sexual orientation? I cannot think of a single reason—and have not heard one since I undertook this venture—for continued discrimination against decent, hardworking members of our society on that basis.
     On the need for bipartisan support of equality:
     Conservatives and liberals alike need to come together on principles that surely unite us. Certainly, we can agree on the value of strong families, lasting domestic relationships, and communities populated by persons with recognized and sanctioned bonds to one another. Confining some of our neighbors and friends who share these same values to an outlaw or second-class status undermines their sense of belonging and weakens their ties with the rest of us and what should be our common aspirations. Even those whose religious convictions preclude endorsement of what they may perceive as an unacceptable "lifestyle" should recognize that disapproval should not warrant stigmatization and unequal treatment.
     When we refuse to accord this status to gays and lesbians, we discourage them from forming the same relationships we encourage for others. And we are also telling them, those who love them, and society as a whole that their relationships are less worthy, less legitimate, less permanent, and less valued. We demean their relationships and we demean them as individuals. I cannot imagine how we benefit as a society by doing so.
     All the best to you, Mr. Olson.  Now, go show Conan what you're made of!