Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Today in History...

If you think about the sheer volume of world history, any given date will have seen important moments. Today is no exception. I bopped on over to History.com and Todayinhistory.com to check out what had happened on the May 26ths of the past. Of course, I found some interesting tidbits:
  • 1805 - Louis and Clark see the Rockies for the first time
  • 1864 - Montana became a territory
  • 1896 - Wall Street Journal starts publishing the Dow Jones
  • 1897 - Dracula was published
  • 1977 - Star Wars opened
  • 1978 - The first casino in Atlantic City opened

Neat stuff, right? At least if you're a geek like me. Here are some that seemed important, ironic, or otherwise relevant today.

1937 - the Golden Gate bridge opened
How ironic that such an icon of California - San Francisco, even - should open on a date that saw something beautiful close there. On May 26, 2009, the California Supreme Court upheld Proposition 8, denying marriage once again to loving couples. To citizens. I saw hope close in the hearts of many people. I admit, it was a difficult day for me too. As we research the 3 day waiting period for marriage licences in Massachusetts, I had toyed with the thought of a wedding on a beach in California. Say goodbye to my money, California. Licenses, hotels, cab rides, meals...and that's if we didn't do a reception with flowers, cake, cocktails, etc. Or take a day to see the sights. Also today, the New York State Comptroller released a report stating that if New York allowed gay marriage, they'd gain at least $210 million in revenue.

1994 - Michael Jackson marries Lisa Marie Presley
Yeah, that turned out well, didn't it? I'm tired of trying to explain what seems so simple and apparent to me. It's a civil contract, folks. It doesn't force a church to perform a ceremony. It says I'm committing to this person (in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, till death do us part) and they have the right to my stuff, to make medical decisions for me, and all the stuff that goes with a marriage. Because I love them. Why is this so scary? You can married without a church. Why can't we? Did you know there 1138 rights and privileges that come with a marriage license? That there are many we can't get through legal paperwork? That many of these protect our families, children, and assets when something goes wrong? That denying us that WHOLE list is not only separate and unequal, but that it puts kids at risk?

1938 - The House Committee on Unamerican Activities is formed
Such a symbol of the misuse of power and how paranoia can permeate our society so much that we deny basic due process and civil liberties to our citizens. The rights of the minority should never be put to a vote; it's a basic premise of democracy. Because of who I am, I am not allowed to do something most everyone else takes for granted. We can't put it any more simply. We once had laws stating that you couldn't marry someone with different color skin. In 1967 the courts ruled that Unconstitutional, though not on May 26th.

1989 - The Danish Parliament allows gay marriage
How's that for irony? Please note that Denmark has not collapsed, exploded, or slipped into moral depravity. Straight people still get married there too. The churches haven't been run out or burned down. Children are no more likely to be gay than before, and the crime rate hasn't spun out of control. So can we get over it, already? The doom and gloom is just propaganda. All that's happening now is that you're denying loving couples the same rights which you, Britney Spears, and every unfaithful or closeted politician have been flaunting while making a mockery of the institution I want so badly to enter.

I know that this, too, shall pass and that progress and momentum are on our side. So let's spend more time fighting for what should be a no-brainer because a fundie got their undies in a twist. We've got nothing better to do, like fix the economy, reduce unemployment, ensure everyone can see a doctor, fight diseases on a global scale, repair social security, end a war....get the point yet?

Here's the other thing that happened today: for a huge segment of the population, the fight is on. Remember how we mobilized in response to the AIDS epidemic? You ain't seen nothing yet. You have challenged our right to love, and straight or gay, that's a sure way to back a human being into a corner. And NOBODY puts Baby in the corner. We're not going away and we're not giving up. There were 106 rallies across the country today. I can't wait to see what we'll do next. Our hearts will not be denied and our voices will not be silenced. That would be Unamerican, and our love (and weddings) are worth fighting for.

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