November 4, 2009

Maybe It's Me: Equality, or, Maine: The Way Life Shouldn't Be

I love the state of Maine.

After living in several different countries and travelling extensively through North America, it’s always Maine in which I return home to. It, to me, is the most wonderful state in the union filled with an unparalleled charm, breathtaking sights through all seasons and counties, fabulous eateries and local music, and the most kind-hearted, welcoming, friendly folks you’d ever meet.

Or, so I thought.

Today, with a heavy heart, I am both ashamed and disgusted to call myself a Mainer.

May 6th, 2009 our state’s legislature passed a law that allowed same-sex couples to wed. Six months later, yesterday, our state – the people of which are known for their hospitality, independent thinking, and non-judgmental ways – repealed the law, taking one step forward and two steps back into an era where equality is apparently meaningless.

What happened, fellow Mainers?

When did we become as discriminatory and exclusive as everyone else?

I haven’t, not from the very beginning of this, understood why gay marriage was even an issue. Throughout our country’s history we’ve absolved traditions and institutions that denied equal legal rights for our fellow man. In the 1920’s the nation passed the 19th Amendment allowing every person, regardless of sex, to vote. And in the 1960’s the Civil Rights Act prohibited discrimination of all kinds based on race, color, religion, or national origin.

But in the Aught’s we’ve seem to suddenly regress socially, politically, and mentally once and are again of the mind-set that while every living, breathing soul should be treated equally, not every living, breathing soul should be treated equally.

Who would have ever thought that homosexual marriage – the simple act of choosing and marrying the person you love – would actually be more offensive to people than the enslaving and torturing of another human being?

If you were in favor of banning gay marriage, my question to you is: how does this even affect you? Especially women, who were just granted the right to vote not seventy years ago after fighting hard proving our worth; especially African Americans, who only forty years ago won the anti-discrimination century long battle. By allowing gay marriage, what about any of YOUR worlds change? I’m relatively sure that the answer is nothing. Nothing about you or your marriage is altered.

None of your rights are being taken away.

You’re just taking them away from other people.

In a way, we’re suddenly back to enslaving people.

Enslaving them to injustice.

One of my biggest sorrows through this whole thing was how so many people were misled with the advertisements that proclaimed gay marriage would be taught in school. This was bogus information and it saddens me people actually fell for this ploy – more assurance that mankind really are sheep who can’t think or reason for themselves. When I was in school we most certainly didn’t learn about gay marriage, let alone anything at all about the institution of marriage.

As a matter of fact, most everything I learned about marriage I learned at the kitchen table watching my parents interact, not always so, with one another. If anyone should be disillusioned about marriage it should be children of divorce – and yet, most of the one’s I know are all for marriage.

Because we’re filled with hope.

Hope for excellent marriages for ourselves and for everyone – EVERYONE - else who loves abundantly.

Because love, cliché as it is, is a mighty powerful source.

Maybe it’s me, but I rest-assured knowing that while we lost the battle, we haven’t lose the war. After all, only six months ago, gay marriage was legal. For now, in my own quiet way, I will continue to fight the good fight for equality in the state that I love despite the recent smokescreen that’s clouded our good people’s views through the lies they’ve been manipulated with from false information, deceitful advertisements, and out-of-stater’s who do not know what is best for us and our state (please, stay out of our business Massachusetts).

If you see me around town, look for my rainbow colored scarf . . . which I don’t foresee taking off in the near future.

Welcome to Maine, the way life should be.

For some of us that is.