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Politics

Same-Sex Marriage and YOU!

California gay marriage ban is ruled unconstitutional on Tuesday. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that a lower court was correct in upholding the voter passed Proposition 8 was a civil rights infraction against gay and lesbians wishing to marry.

In a word, it means voters were wrong in banning gay marriage in California. California got it right in legalizing same-sex marriage and screwed the pooch with passing Prop 8. Today was a pretty good day in the long road of equality for same-sex people.

I’m going to help out the 9th Circuit Court with a quick definition of marriage. Marriage is between two people who want to be in a relationship and register their lives and possessions together. It means they are given equal footing in dealing with banks, hospitals and employment. The rest of the stuff that goes into a relationship between two people is none of our business.

Seems simple enough and you want to know why? Because what the Hell do I care what two people do that doesn’t involve me? Why should I burn a solitary calorie worrying about what two lesbians do in their apartment filled with cats and softball bats? My level of interest in what two gay guys do on vacation is the exact same that I have for a straight couple. Zero. Zip. Nada. I don’t care what people do with each other because I assume they don’t care what I do.

The only difference being is that as a straight man I never had to defend my decisions. For too long, gays and lesbians have had to hide in the shadows of fully recognized equality where I have never had anyone tell me who I can love. Gays and lesbians might be different in who they want to spend time with between the sheets but the fact that laws are written to prohibit them from making those decisions is embarrassing and humiliating for this country.

Next Tuesday Erin and I will be celebrating seven years of being together. For seven years we have been in a committed relationship sharing a home, vacations, meals, bills and the remote control. We don’t have children but we do have three dogs. Neither of us wear any jewelry marking our relationship but more importantly, nobody questions are relationship. We’re treated as if we are married in every respect.

The fact that a similar couple to us that share a gender doesn’t get the same respect is horseshit. People should be allowed to make a life with whoever they want without government getting in the way. The problem is that we are looking towards the past in citizen’s equality instead of the future. Much braver and harder working people are fighting the fights that will make total equality throughout this country and I fully support their work.

I was born in 1974. Richard Nixon was president, Godfather Part II won the Academy Award, a gallon of gas cost $0.55 and the Voting Rights Act was only nine-years old. To put that into context, it would cost next to nothing to fill your car up to watch Michael Corleone in an integrated theatre. Less than a decade before I was born, segregation was still legal in the United States. The Voting Rights Act was the last hurdle in the civil rights movement in relationship to equality with blacks in the United States.

And I ask the question: how much weaker of a country are we with African Americans allowed to vote?

Of course we’re not. In fact, we’re never stronger than when every citizen is given the same opportunities and allowed to co-exist on the same playing field. The fact that slavery ended a hundred years ago in 1965 and blacks were finally allowed to vote is a black eye that will probably never disappear from this country. Let’s try and not make that same mistake with gay and lesbian rights.

There is a general hypocrisy with people oppose to same-sex marriage is that they just don’t come out and say they hate gays. They dance around the subject using language that talks about the sanctity of marriage instead of just saying that homosexuals bother them. They talk out of both sides of their mouth

You know who I don’t like? Republicans, Laker fans, Affliction T-shirt wearers, supporters of the Twilight movie franchise and chiropractors. Why? Because they are obnoxious. Are there gay people I dislike? Absolutely  but there are a lot of white liberal Democrats that I want in the bottom of the Mariana Trench. I dislike certain people for the same reason you do—they are obnoxious to be around and you’d rather be with people with similar beliefs.

You know who should be banned from being allowed to marry? How about meth-users? How about people cruel to animals? Or child molesters? Banning people from marrying simply because they have the same gender is moronic. My answer to those opposing gay marriage is as simple as this: Don’t like gay marriage? Don’t marry a dude.

I know there is talk about gay-marriage being a slippery slope and as soon as you let Adam and Steve get married we’ll be opening up the floodgates for polygamist and other unique relationships. Seriously, the people afraid of this are the same one who believes the Earth was created in seven days. It is insulting to compare consenting adults getting married to what Warren Jeffs does within his community. Using the argument that gay marriage is invalid because it doesn’t produce children is garbage.

I honestly wear glasses with Martin Luther King Jr. lens in them. I don’t see color or gender or race or religion. Frankly, my humor doesn’t work if I don’t treat everybody the exactly the same way. Behind the bar, it’s the color of a person’s character and their actions that determine my opinion about them. Act like a human being when you’re ordering a drink and we are cool. Act like a tool bag and we’re going to have problems. For those that spend a single solatary moment hating on a group of people that doesn’t impact their lives must live their lives completely exhausted from all of the wasted energy.

We have too many important things to address in this country besides gay marriage. Let’s take a note from Clint Eastwood’s halftime Super Bowl commercial and start looking towards the second half. Let’s make the adjustments to continue making this country great. Squabbling over who can marry has the same gravitas of a TMZ episode. Are we so free of problems that we need to spend a single moment on continuing the prohibition on same-sex marriage? Ben Franklin wouldn’t stop vomiting if he knew that we were spending so much energy on a non-problem and failed to address the things that impact the lives of all Americans.

Americans are an interesting group of people. We have a ton of guilt mixed in with a little bit of violence and short-sightedness. Growing up in the 1700s after a nasty divorce from Europe wasn’t easy but we’re figuring it out. We’re fixing the mistakes of our beginnings. It might not be fast enough but I believe we are moving in the right direction. I think it’s because we are a nation of mutts. We cling to ideas from where our families immigrated from but ultimately we embrace the American identity that has been forged for over 200-years.To me, this new forged identity is one where all citizens are equal until their actions determine otherwise. Today’s ruling is the first step in getting to where we need to be.

Generations from now, people are going to look back to our era and won’t stop shaking their heads when it comes to gay and lesbian rights in this country. The black eye of segregation will come back in Technicolor when people try to understand why tax-paying citizens of the United States of America were denied the right to marry who they wanted. History won’t be kind to us but hopefully they be understanding that as a society we’re doing everything we can to right a wrong.

Ben Raskin bartends at Keys On Main Wednesday through Saturday. Follow him on Twitter @BennyRaskin. Check out his new podcast, the Salt Lake City PubCast. And yes, his first date with Erin was on St. Valentine’s Day.

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About Ben Raskin

Born in El Cajon, raised in Las Vegas, educated in Reno and living in Salt Lake City. I bartend, write, box and live in Sugarhouse UT.

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