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I was recently discussing the quest for marriage equality in the US with a buddy of mine, who happens to come from Pennsylvania (the significance of which will become apparent below). My friend asked "why do gay people need to be married? With many states recognizing civil unions and many companies providing domestic partnership benefits, don't they already have the equivalent of marriage?".

Join me over the fold to see how I answered...

Here's what I said:

How would you feel if the government said you can't get married because you're from Pennsylvania? We'll let you do something that's kind of like being married (but isn't really) and it has most of the rights and privileges of marriage (but not entirely) and when your kids ask why you're not married you'll have to tell them it's because you're from Pennsylvania and your kids will go "huh?".

The point being it's easy to think of civil unions as being "good enough" when you're not one of the people being told who you can or can't marry.

This lighthearted video from Ireland makes the point eloquently (hat tip to Ballgame9from whose diarythis video link is shamelessly stolen):

Those of you living outside of Washington state may not know about our Referendum 71 - it asks voters to reaffirm or deny various domestic partnership rights already approved by our state legislature. Similar to California's infamous Proposition 6, it's an attempt to circumvent the established law by taking the question directly to voters. I just filled in my WA state ballot, and I voted "Approved" to affirm our state domestic partnership laws . If you live in WA state, I hope you do the same thing.

If Referendum 71 passes, I'll be happy. But it will be just one more step toward the real goal, which is a time when civil unions are unnecessary, when everyone in America enjoys the right to marry the person they love. I'm not sure when that will happen but I think it's coming soon. As Barack Obama once said: "Nothing can stand in the way of the power of millions of voices calling for change." If you agree with me, please make your voice heard.

Cross-posted on my blog.

Originally posted to Thunder Road on Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 03:26 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  I missed this diary (0+ / 0-)

      I wrote a similar one today.  I just found out about this referendum!  It was not well publicized, at least not in SW.  Nobody I talked to knew this was up for vote.

      If ref 71 is defeated, after the CA fiasco, it will be added momentum for discrimination.  Tipped and recd.

  •  Awesome diary. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SSMir

    Our day in the sun of equality and freedom will be here sooner then any of us think. We have to keep pushing forward and know in our hearts that we are on the right side of history. The leaps forward in 2008 and 2009 are just the beginning of our final push towards full equality and equal treatment before the law. I wrote a diary a few days ago that included some poetry, links, and general empowerment about LGBT issues. There are many people in America, Liberal and Conservative alike, who are finally understanding these are issues of fairness.

    The road maybe full of many obstacles, but it can never stop our will to create positive change. Thank you for the excellent diary.

  •  another reason... (5+ / 0-)

    why marriage equality is important to us:

    my boyfriend and i can't legally be together because he's from germany.
    if i were hetero, we could marry...we could be happy.

    instead, i'm broken-hearted.

    122 Americans will die today because they don't have health insurance!

    by ridemybike on Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 03:31:11 PM PDT

    •  It's a huge tragedy in the lives of many (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ridemybike

      Sorry for you ridemybike...Hope you don't mind me asking, what are the laws like in Germany? Any progress there? I know it's always been hard emigrating there for everyone. I thought it was difficult partnering with my man with him in the police dept. So many exceptions to the union bylaws and such, and don't even get started with the inequities in the pensioning contracts. sigh One step forward two back it seems sometimes.

      "But then, liberals always were a little fond of mind control, assuming of course that it was put to good use." -DKos troll

      by teloPariah on Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 05:13:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  thanks for your reply (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teloPariah

        ...things in germany are actually pretty good. i could go and stay with him, legally. they recently  changed their civil union laws allowing for immigration and partial benefits (healthcare, etc.)

        of course this is not without caviot; a friend referred me to a very well known law professor at university of pennsylvania (who specializes in immigration law)...he was nice enough to lay the facts down. he said that going to germany and marrying him was definitely an option, however, it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for him to ever be able to return to the u.s. with me. even for a vacation. the assumption would be that he's intending to stay. with me listed as his spouse, he probably wouldn't be granted a visa.

        my mom lives in miami (i'm in philly) and with her getting up there in age and being disabled, i'm scared to be too far away. for now there's great comfort in knowing that i'm only three hours away (with 10 or 15 flights per day) from being with her.

        hopefully i will go to germany for a visit...maybe christmas...

        anyway, thanks for listening.
        for now, i guess we'll have to keep taking that one step forward ...

        122 Americans will die today because they don't have health insurance!

        by ridemybike on Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 07:02:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  i almost forgot (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SSMir, Liberalindependent28

    thanks for posting this.

    it's very encouraging to see so many diaries on lgbt rights, and for many of us (myself included) we need all the moral support we can get.

    :)

    122 Americans will die today because they don't have health insurance!

    by ridemybike on Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 03:35:55 PM PDT

  •  Washington is a toss-up... (0+ / 0-)

    It's frightening to me that my rights in Washington State are up for a vote.  But then, I never thought it would happen in California, either.
    Right now the Yes and No camps on Referendum 71 in Washington are statistically tied.  I don't understand how this can be, but I live in Seattle-land which is an island of progressiveness in an otherwise conservative state.  I also suspect there are a lot of Seattleites who want to be politically correct and SAY they'll votes yes for 71 but will be far less charitable on the actual ballot.
    I love this place, but remember this folks:  LGBT in Washington did not have workplace protections until 2006.  That's right, people could be fired for being LGBT in Washington until 2006.

    Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo. - H.G. Wells

    by Skylarking on Sat Oct 17, 2009 at 05:11:27 PM PDT

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