A sometimes infuriating VP debate
I’m watching the vice-presidential debate right now. It should come as no surprise that I support Obama and Biden, despite their have-their-cake-and-eat-it-too approach to gay rights. They just got past a question on same-sex benefits and gay marriage, which surprised me twice in the space of just a few minutes. Biden said he and Obama are all for gay rights like hospital visitation, while Palin said she wouldn’t seek to nullify contracts between consenting adults.
I can’t wait until my boyfriend and I can sign a hospital visitation contract! How romantic! Then maybe we can start on the other 1,000-plus documents to add in some of the other benefits we’d receive if we were a straight couple, though of course none of those papers could give us things like a tax break, custody of the other’s child, or a share of each other’s social security.
First I’d like to note that Palin did sign same-sex partnerships into law in Alaska. But she did so only under a court order, and complained as she did that she’d rather not but had no choice. How thoughtful of her! I’m sure her “tons of gay friends” (like Dan Savage) were really thankful for being thrown a reluctant bone.
Of course she said tonight that she doesn’t want to “redefine” marriage, something with which Biden agreed. I guess that means that they both want men to buy women from their parents and control them utterly. I sure hope Sarah got her husband’s permission before she ran for governor. And she wouldn’t dare make any decisions, because that’s Mr. Palin’s job, right?
Now I’m not giving Biden (or Obama) a free pass on this either. As I’ve said before, it’s pretty hypocritical for the Democrats to sell rainbow Obama pins while selling us short. How would Obama have felt if he had been a voter back in the days of segregation and had a candidate selling “Africa-Americans for Mr. X” pins while preaching that maybe we should cut down on segregation a bit in certain places sometimes?
It’s extraordinarily frustrating to be sitting here in my loving boyfriend’s arms watching two major political figures agreeing on how we don’t deserve equal treatment. Sure, we should be able to visit each other in the hospital – and don’t get me wrong, that’s nice – but what about shared custody? How about not testifying against each other in court? That’s just for marriages.
If you don’t want gay marriage, you don’t really support us. Instead, you’re insisting on a definition that never was, just like Palin evokes “memories” of an America that never really existed. If you want the “traditional” definition of marriage, women are property. They have no rights.
If you think we should get “civil unions” with some of the benefits of marriage – just not all – you’re just looking to grant us a slightly better second-class citizenship. Why, exactly? Do gay people have some magic power to destabilize straight marriages within a 10-block radius, the same way we get +3 to fashion? Give me a break.
What’s that? You think civil unions should be “just like marriages, really, just with different names”? Well, look how well that’s worked in New Jersey. Most rules, codes and laws are written with the word “marriage.” Civil unions don’t work. We don’t get the same rights, as many couples around here have learned. If my boyfriend and I get a civil union and I want to put him in my health insurance, I’ll have to hope that my insurer isn’t a national group which can claim exemption. (It is, and they almost certainly would.) It’s a half-cocked solution, and it doesn’t work.
So swallow your internalized homophobia like so many of us have had to, and man (or woman) up! Show some integrity. Support your friends, neighbors, and coworkers. Do you really want to have to explain to your grandchildren how you didn’t want uncle Sam and uncle Jim to have a real marriage? Do you really think you’ll sound any different than your grandparents when they explained why their voted for someone running on a segregationist platform or made sure the “colored people” used their own, separate bathroom?