Imagine my shock as I return home from the pharmacy to find MRW in tears in the bedroom. Fearing the worst, and knowing that just hours prior we had returned from the ER to have emergency IV fluids infused into her system, I could only assume the worst.
“Whats wrong?” I quickly ask. “It’s this video” she replies.
“A video?” I reply, assuming that this is clearly a cat video gone terribly wrong.
“Yes, have you been following this New Zealand thing?”
Earlier in the day, and as many of you now know, the country of New Zealand passed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage. MRW, while scrolling through her Facebook feed, found the following speech from New Zealand Representative Maurice Williamson:
Obviously this is a somewhat cheeky response to what I presume has been a politically touchy subject in the country over the years (much like it has been in other industrialized nations). But it raises many of the same arguments we have heard before in a refreshingly new light.
Not tied down by the political conventions of our own nation, Williamson is able to say to us what many gay-marriage advocates in the United States have been saying for years: gay marriage does not compromise traditional marriage, more youth would be adopted, and that the bullying tactics must stop. The final, and perhaps more important point, is that all the law would do is allow two people who love each other to be married – the sun will rise and the world will go on. In the end, be ye not afraid.
MRW, seeing this, clicked on a second video about the debate, this time coming from Representative John Banks from the ACT party…The ACT party, by the way, has policies regarding individual freedom, limited government, reducing government debt, increased defense spending, increased privatization, and reducing business regulations (sound familiar?). Banks took a far more serious tone:
Banks words hit home for MRW. In particular she reflected on not only her LGBT friends, but also our own legal, heterosexual marriage. MRW received many raised eyebrows for choosing to love and marry a non-Mormon. Yes, in our own special and unique way, we had the smallest of tastes into the lives of what what loving LGBT couples live with every day. MRW constantly had to remind people of two things: first, that she should be free to love whomever she pleased, and, second, that her marriage to me in no way harmed their marriages.
“Whats the point in the Lord giving us free agency if man just takes it away?” she asked rhetorically.
As I said before, MRW had been in the emergency room the night before. At two specific points in the night the doctor on call asked for my opinion as to how to move forward - two opinions that would have been two decisions if MRW had been incapacitated, that I had the legal right to make. Two opinions I feel I had no more or less of a right to make as a partner in a committed, loving, gay relationship. Nothing makes my union and my love more or less real…aside from the fact that the law gives me certain perks that have been codified into law.
“This bill wont have any impact on your marriage, but it mean a great deal for me and my relationship.” Banks said as he read a text from a constituent. If gay marriage were to pass tomorrow, my marriage would be as strong as the day before, my rights would not be infringed, religious institutions would be under no requirement to perform gay weddings, and a class of citizens will be afforded equal rights under the law.
Equal rights – not special rights or rights of protection, but equal rights under the law.
The Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution reads, in Section 1 “… No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
In short, Equality MUST exist under our system – and, indeed, is a requirement for a just and free society.
“Will New Zealanders have more freedoms as a result of this bill?” Banks would ask “Yes.” Banks goes on: “Will freedom of religion be preserved? Yes. Will anyone’s freedoms be taken away by this bill? No. Would the God that I believe in think any less of me for voting for this bill? No. That’s why I support this legislation.”
The day will come when gay marriage is accepted across the land – not because a particular party supports it, but because a particular generation supports it. MRW and I are far younger than the average policy maker, and the stories of moral decay fall on deaf ears when we see healthy and happy homosexual couples building families and contributing to society…heck, it is almost as if they are real people too.