I received an email from the ACLU’s executive director, Anthony Romero. Well, it wasn’t a personal email. It was an email to ask ACLU supporters to point out to “Uncle Harry” what’s wrong with Prop 8 if he brings it up over the Thanksgiving dinner:
Here’s my biggest piece of advice for when Prop 8 and gay marriage come up over the Thanksgiving dinner table: Don’t shy away from the conversation. Do what I’m hoping thousands of ACLU supporters will do over the holidays. Talk to someone you’ve never talked to about same sex marriage and explain that it’s just not right to deny someone their freedom because of who they are or who they love.
I’d like to add that it’s not right to deny someone their freedom (and rights and privileges) because of the type of ring they’re wearing.
I really got mad, though, when I read that the ACLU is fighting to “secure equal rights for everyone.” They’re fighting to secure the right to marry for some people but they’re going to be leaving out those people in the LGBT community who don’t want to marry. Actually, they are leaving out everybody who doesn’t want to marry or doesn’t have the opportunity to marry. They are leaving out the unmarried, whether gay or straight or anything in between. They are ignoring those families that are bound together by love and respect without a marriage certificate, including close friends.
So, I replied to Mr. Romero:
According to the Governmental Accounting Office, there are over 1,100 rights given to people simply because they are married. These rights and privileges are denied to unmarried people. By fighting for the right of the LGBT community to marry, you are simply moving the dividing line between married and unmarried. You are not “securing equal rights for everyone.” Marital status discrimination will remain and those of us who do not marry for whatever reasons – including unmarried people in the LGBT community – are giving up rights and privileges. When will Uncle Harry learn that every individual is valuable and should have equal rights no matter what our relationship status is? Our rights should not be dependent on whether we are married. Human rights are bestowed upon us by virtue of being human, not by virtue of our marital status. It is time to move beyond the fight for marriage and start to fight to secure equal rights for everyone, where everyone really means everyone, not just those who want to get married.
I look forward to seeing the ACLU join the fight against marital status discrimination! Only then can you justly claim to fight to “secure equal rights for everyone” because nobody is left behind.
It seems so obvious to me that the fight for marriage leaves out a big chunk of families. Unfortunately, it is not obvious to those who proclaim that they’re fighting for rights for everyone. We need to remind them again and again that we are here. We want to see a country where everybody has the same rights, no matter what their relationship status. Such a vision includes the right to marry for everyone who wants to get married. But it doesn’t stop there. It values all families, no matter how they’re defined.