Saturday, December 27, 2008

the right to marry vs. equal rights for all

x-posted from my private casbah

The point. You missed it. However, Bob Ostertag hasn't. In an article on The Huffington Post he discusses "Why Gay Marriage is the Wrong Issue". It should be read by everyone who is concerned about the recent passage of Proposition 8 in California and the steps that other states are taking to keep marriage limited to one particular kind of relationship (i.e. one man and one woman). He takes a different stance from what I've seen in most discussions on gay marriage. Ostertag says that by re-framing the fight, queer families could gain more allies and have a greater chance at receiving the important legal benefits that married people now enjoy.

Sadly, many of the people who commented on his article didn't seem to get it. Ostertag is making the point that making sure that EVERYONE can enjoy those benefits is even more beneficial to society than simply making a slight expansion to a system that is so flawed that it isn't even working for the folks who currently use it. I'm a woman in a relationship with a man and we can't enjoy the legal benefits that married couples enjoy because we can't marry. His insurance wouldn't cover the costs of treatment for my cancer because of the pre-existing conditions clause that the government allows the insurance industry to put into place. We'd love to be able to marry but if we did, then I'd die because I'd have no way of paying for the extraordinary costs of treating my ultra-rare cancer.

I know lots of families like mine. Many of them probably think that gay marriage wouldn't benefit them but they'd sure as hell ally with anyone who would be willing to take up the cause for equal rights for all kinds of families. The majority of other queer people I know don't despise people with disabilities even though they have never fought en masse for us to have the rights that they now want for themselves. It makes more sense to get both groups to see our struggles as a fight for equal rights for all. However, judging from the vitriol I'm seeing, that's not likely to occur any time soon.

As long as we allow the government to play "divide and conquer" with this country's marginalized populations, there will be no equality.

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