Saturday, June 16, 2007

Visibility – our best weapon, James Dobson’s worst nightmare

On Thursday of last week there was an article written by a Massachusetts State Senator explaining why she changed her position and voted against the same-sex marriage ban this time around. The article underscores why I believe visibility is our best weapon and James Dobson’s worst nightmare in this battle.

Gale Candaras, a Democrat from Wilbraham, had voted in favor of a constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage in January when she was a representative in the state legislature. But during the time between that vote and the one last week Candaras had both a change of political stature and a change of heart about that vote in January. Candaras came back to a new legislative session as a state senator and voted against the ban last week.

Candaras concedes that there are “many compelling arguments on both sides of the same gender marriage debate” (really?) and that there has been several years of “open and vigorous debate on this issue”, but ultimately what changed her mind is quite telling. It boiled down to a couple of things:

For me, what all this comes down to is this: Same gendered couples are taxpaying, law-abiding citizens, who are important community contributors, well-loved and well-respected by their families, friends, neighbors and employers. They deserve and are entitled to the same legal protections enjoyed by all others citizens of our state. ..

Despite dire predictions, there has been no adverse societal impact from this decision and most people now express little concern about same gender marriage.

Springfield and Western Massachusetts needs these families, and all our families, to help rebuild our neighborhoods and the peaceful and productive society to which I know, whatever our differences on some things, we all aspire. As a practical matter, I believe we simply cannot afford to marginalize our human resources. Most importantly, I feel strongly that no child should ever be made to feel "less than" or "second-best" nor should any of our children be exposed to a public campaign focused on adult matters of personal privacy. There is altogether too much unseemly information brought into our homes and schools already. It is in the best interests of our children that we accept fully these new families.

And then the Senator goes on to address an issue that pushes these so-called Family Advocates and Religious Zealots to near heart failure, gays and lesbians adopting children:

Same gender couples have been adopting children and building families here in the Commonwealth for about twenty years. In many instances, same gendered couples have adopted children with severe challenges, children no one else wanted, and they have worked miracles with them. These children would have lived lives of despair without these families. This underscores how we cannot afford to marginalize any of our people; make anyone second-class citizens. We are all precious resources to each other, and to generations yet to come.

Ok, so Senator Candaras has had an epiphany, but what is she hearing from her constituents? Surely they are concerned about the grave danger to their marriages and families --- right?

Well… not so much:

I have been most impressed by the number of individuals who have called me and asked me to change my vote because they have changed their minds. One grandmother told me she had changed her mind and wanted me to change my vote in case one of her grandchildren grew up to be gay or lesbian. She did not want any of her grandchildren to be denied the right to marry the person they love. This is exactly the legacy we will leave to generations beyond us, and the example we can set for the nation and, I daresay the world, which is certainly paying attention to what we do and say here today.

And so there you have it, proof that when people actually see that gay marriage is not a threat to society or a detriment to people’s marriages or families as the religious right and family advocate frauds so desperately want them to believe, you get good people coming forward and admitting they have changed their minds and making the effort to right the wrong.

No wonder the Religious Right felt there would be dire consequences if we didn’t get a Federal Gay Marriage ban on the books a.s.a.p. They just weren’t being honest about who would be the ones suffering the dire consequences if gays and lesbians were allowed to marry --- them.


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