Friday, September 21, 2007

Look Me in the Eye

Amidst CA Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto to ban Marriage Equality Legislation for his state San Diego Republican Mayor, Jerry Sanders, put aside his beliefs in civil-unions and came out in support of same-sex marriage. In his heartfelt speech posted below Jerry Sanders simply states,
"I just could not bring myself to tell an entire group of people in our community that they were less important, less worthy and less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage -- than anyone else -- simply because of their sexual orientation." "Two years ago, I believed that civil unions were a fair alternative. Those beliefs, in my case, have since changed. The concept of a "separate but equal" institution is not something that I can support."

This speech comes as an interesting reminder of something that happened to me just a few weeks ago. A friend and I were having a discussion about current politics when the issue of gay marriage popped up. He firmly stated that he supports civil unions. As I tried to understand why he supports that and not marriage he said, "well, you know, it's like the same thing." I reminded him that it is not the same thing and seldom do we see 'separate but equal' work in this country. Then, I asked him to look me directly in the eye and tell me that I wasn't as deserving of the same rights as he is. He couldn't do it. Instead, he fumbled with an answer, diverted all eye contact, played with his fingers and while looking down at the ground said in a sheepish remorse, "I guess I haven't really explored the issue enough within myself." I thanked him and we continued our chat.

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