I am thinking about equality today. I am waiting with hope as the Supreme Court takes up "gay marriage", which is a silly term to me in all honesty. We don't call it "rich marriage" for the well-off, or "straight marriage" for the heterosexuals, or "fifth edition in a series of failed marriages marriage" for serial grooms or brides. Whether the first or the last, no matter the circumstances, marriage is marriage. At least, it should be.
But what if the Supreme Court defies logic? What if, in its drive to be activist, it turns its back on a growing consensus that equality of marriage should be afforded to all? What if the ruling tells those who have poured heart and soul, tears and laughter into loving relationships that have not only endured the natural stressors of any relationship, but also the outside influence of visceral hatred, discrimination, belittlement and mockery, not to mention an entirely different set of rights and privileges, that inequality still stands? What if the Supreme Court does the wrong thing?
What if we aren't presenting all of the equations on the path to equality?
Forgive me for going all elementary, but sometimes the basics prove more effective than the complicated. So, let me begin with two simple word problems. (Don't fret. I hate word problems, too. But these are e-a-s-y.)
Problem One: Johnny and Mary were asked to bring apples to a picnic. Both children asked a neighbor if they could pick the apples from his tree. The neighbor told Mary she could pick 8 apples. When it came Johnny's turn, all the edible apples were gone. Mary, recognizing she could give 4 apples to Johnny and still keep 4 apples, generously divided the apples with Johnny.
If Johnny and Mary each have 4 apples, what does this make them? Equal.
Problem Two: When Johnny showed up at the picnic, his friend Tom didn't have any apples. Tom pleaded with Johnny to share. Johnny refused. Mary's mother, who knew Mary shared the apples with Johnny, saw the boys fighting.
"If you share, you will still have two apples", she said. "You will have no more or no less than Tom, but if you do not share, Tom won't have any. Is that fair?"
Johnny still refused. Disappointed in the boy, Mary's mother took all 4 of Johnny's apples and told him he could eat pea soup!
When Johnny's apples were taken away, what did that make Johnny and Tom? Equal.
If equality cannot be reached by ensuring equal rights for "gay marriage", perhaps the next step is to challenge "straight marriage" in the courts. Ridiculous idea? Maybe. But, maybe not. If the most prevalent reasoning for withholding marriage equality is steeped in religious ideology, then maybe it is time all marriage be recognized only in religious institutions. Maybe it is time to take government out of marriage altogether. No more benefits for the married. No more tax breaks. No more rights. No more government recognition.
There is more than one path to equality. Perhaps with something to lose, opponents might find something to give.