STAND UP with us on February 14th!
On Wednesday, February 14th, Marriage Equality USA will host the 3rd Annual Marriage Equality Demonstration in downtown Fresno at the County Clerk’s Office. This action will involve same sex couples, along with allies and supporters, gathering at the County Clerk’s office to request marriage licenses.
Under current California law, all same sex couples will be refused that right, and will be turned away. This is, however, not a pointless mission. In fact, this political action draws vital media attention to the current discrimination same sex couples face in California, as well as across the country. It’s critically important that the GLBT community continues to make our presence known in all aspects of social structure. Without optimum visibility, our goals of equal civil rights in America will be much more difficult to attain.
Currently the only state in the US which has legally recognized same sex marriage is Massachusetts. That state, however is currently undergoing an assault by conservatives to place a ballot measure before voters which has the potential to overturn this revolutionary law. If overturned, current same sex marriages would remain in effect, but there would be no such marriages allowed in the future. While there are many battles raging across the country regarding same sex marriage, a defeat in Massachusetts would be a difficult and harsh blow to the cause.
Whether or not, as an individual, you believe gay people should or should not be allowed to marry is not the issue. This is a constitutional matter, an American principal and an issue of equality, and as such, should be supported by every citizen of this country. If we are to uphold the principals we claim to be so proud of, this groundbreaking country of freedom, fairness and equality cannot allow conservatives and the religious right to decide who’s granted equality and who isn’t. Traditional marriage is only the current tradition because the majority of Americans have decided it to be so. Although the “will of the people” is also a vital founding principal in the United States, it should not be wielded as a weapon in order to deprive a minority their equality. While the GLBT community is definitely one of America’s minorities, we are still Americans. Given that marriage in America is not a religious act, but a civil one, our principals demand that it be applicable to all without restriction.
Judges have been unfairly, dishonestly and prejudicially labeled “activist” by a certain group of Americans simply because they are making decisions based on our own Constitution. Ironically, we’ve come to a time in our history when accepted prejudices are no longer silently upheld and ignored. In the past, these conservative and religious groups have pretended the Constitution granted them the rights to restrict others. Now, with unlimited information accessible to all, these same groups claim judges are violating this country’s principals. In fact it’s these conservative and religious groups that are violating the Constitution. If we turn off our emotions long enough to reason this through, there’s no other conclusion to come to. Religious belief cannot be allowed to trump civil rights.
Given that the legalization of same sex marriage has absolutely zero effect on heterosexuals or their marriages, it should be easy to see that their opposition is self serving, in that they wish their “truths” to be the only ones legitimized by the government, very clearly an anti-American stance. The longer this goes on, the more embarrassed we should be as a population. Many other countries in the world are already far ahead of us on this issue. How do we expect to be an example for the rest of the world if we cannot even grant all of our citizens equal rights?
Visibility is something we can all accomplish on a daily basis. Risking the vulnerability of the spotlight in a country that maintains and perpetuates ludicrous prejudice in the light of overwhelming self bravado, is well worth the price of privacy. All GLBT Americans today, and there are millions of us, have been placed at the forefront of this war on equality. Historically, we find ourselves in a niche unlike any time before. We live at a time when it’s possible to reverse hundreds of years of bigotry and oppression. Our gay brothers and sisters in the past fought bravely in order to secure the rights we now have. We cannot now decide that we are “free enough” and be done with it. Equality is not definable as anything less that equal. If we are not completely equal in our access to legal rights, then we are not equal.
We urge any and all same sex couples to join us on Wednesday, February 14th, 2007 at 2:30PM in front of the Fresno County Clerk’s Office. Once gathered, we will proceed inside as any other heterosexual couple would do, and request our equal rights as American citizens. Upon refusal of those rights, we will have accomplished something vital in this ongoing battle. We will have taken the damning spotlight so often shone onto us and reflect it back onto them, if only for a few moments, to illuminate what it is that they truly stand for.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 14TH 2:30PM
FRESNO COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE
2221 KERN STREET FRESNO
CONTACT MARRIAGE EQUALITY WITH QUESTIONS