“For some people, this is a simple issue. I envy them. It has not been simple or easy for me,” Haugen said…. “I have very strong Christian beliefs, and personally I have always said when I accepted the Lord, I became more tolerant of others. I stopped judging people and try to live by the Golden Rule. This is part of my decision. I do not believe it is my role to judge others, regardless of my personal beliefs. It’s not always easy to do that. For me personally, I have always believed in traditional marriage between a man and a woman. That is what I believe, to this day. But this issue isn’t about just what I believe. It’s about respecting others, including people who may believe differently than I. It’s about whether everyone has the same opportunities for love and companionship and family and security that I have enjoyed.”
Here’s something that all you Social Conservatives should probably take note of: the appropriateness of denying others basic human rights based on your own beliefs is dying a slow and well-deserved death. The groundswell among state legislatures to legalize same-sex marriage is slowly but surely gaining momentum, the latest example being Washington State. Senate Bill 6239 would grant same-sex couples the same right to marry as heterosexual couples. For some of us, this seems a no-brainer, a common sense recognition that, when it comes to marriage, one size doesn’t fit all.
Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen has become the 25th committed vote in the Washington Senate, meaning that SB6239 now has the votes to pass. In committing to vote for same-sex marriage, Sen. Haugen elucidated a very simple and yet very eloquent argument for why voting or SB 6239 is the right thing to do:
“I know this announcement makes me the so-called 25th vote, the vote that ensures passage. That’s neither here nor there. If I were the first or the seventh or the 28th vote, my position would not be any different. I happen to be the 25th because I insisted on taking this much time to hear from my constituents and to sort it out for myself, to reconcile my religious beliefs with my beliefs as an American, as a legislator, and as a wife and mother who cannot deny to others the joys and benefits I enjoy.”
I neither support nor oppose homosexuality, and same-sex marriage seems like it should be a no-brainer; it’s not a right-or-wrong issue for me. I cling to that because I don’t feel that I have any right to pass judgment on who or how someone chooses to love. Homosexuality is not a lifestyle I choose for myself, and same-sex marriage is not an option I’d consider…but that’s neither here nor there. That’s my choice, and I live my life based on the choices and decisions I make for myself. I would never pretend to have any right to force others to adhere to my standards.
This is a free country; if others choose to live and love differently…well, more power to them. None of us have the right to force our morality, whatever it might be, upon others who may think, believe, live, and love differently. You don’t have to agree with it, you don’t have to support it, and you may even be repulsed by it; that’s your choice as a free person in a society. What you don’t have is the right to force others to accept and live by your definition of what’s right or wrong, appropriate or inappropriate.
I applaud Sen, Haugen for voicing this very basic concept and explaining that she recognizes that her morality and lifestyle is hers and hers alone. She understands that not all people will conduct themselves in ways that she might believe in or support.
Unfortunately, not all states are pursuing such an enlightened path. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie wants to refer this issue to the voters for an up or down vote. The question of the appropriateness of a majority voting on whether a minority class can enjoy what should be a basic human right seems lost on Christie and those who think like him. They seem oblivious to the reality that they’re on the wrong side of history. A growing segment of American society is coming to believe that same-sex marriage is not a threat to the sancity of marriage (cue the Newt Gingrich jokes….). Americans increasingly understand that society has and should have a strong interest in committed, long-term relationships.
The time will come when same-sex marriage will be described without the “same-sex” qualifier. It will just be “marriage”. Certainly, there will always be those opposed to what they define as sinful Sodomite debauchery, but I have a very simple suggestion for them:
If you don’t support or believe in homosexuality or same-sex marriage, don’t engage in homosexual activity or marry someone of the same sex. Simple, eh? It’s time to admit that your morality is no more or less valid than anyone else’s, and that you have no right to force your flavor of sexual morality upon all of us.
It’s over. You’re on the losing side of history. Get over it. Deal with it.
Hey, it’s not as if heterosexuals have done such a bang-up job of protecting the sanctity of marriage, eh?
PS- Congratulations to Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), who’s announced that he will be marrying his long-time partner. I’ve always admired Frank for his commitment to human rights, freedom, and doing the right things for the right reasons. Conservatives have long laughed at and ridiculed him, but they’ve never been able to best him in an argument or negate the force of his presence. Good luck and much happiness, Congressman…. ;-)