This week the US Supreme Court will hear two of the most important cases in history. Even though these cases directly impact only gay Americans, their real impact will be felt for ALL Americans.
These cases are about the very essence and core of what America means and why this nation was founded. For the pursuit of happiness, and for freedom.
This effects me and you, gay or not.
The first case, entitled Hollingsworth v. Perry, is a direct challenge to California’s Proposition 8 and addresses on the principle that Americans should be legally allowed to marry the one they love regardless of sexual orientation– that marriage in the eyes of the government as a contractual institution, should not discriminate against same-sex couples.
The following day, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the Windsor v. United States case which targets the Defense of Marriage Act. There are currently more than one thousand federal rights, benefits and protections based on marital status that are denied to lawfully-married same-sex couples.
Included are things like access to Social Security and tax benefits, family and medical leave, immigration rights, federal health coverage and other basic American rights. Exclusion from these benefits not only affects the partners within these unions, but the hundreds of thousands children being raised across the country by same-sex couples.
To my hyper-religious and ultra-Christian friends– no one is beating down the doors to your churches and asking your priests to perform same-sex weddings. This isn’t about you. This is about the government to which I pay taxes, giving me and millions of people like me, the same rights that I deserve.
I don’t want to get married in your church. Nor do I want to change your dogma, canons or religious traditions. I’m not talking about any of that. All I want is my government to recognize me and give me the same rights, benefits and legal standing that my brother and his wife enjoy. Don’t make this a religious issue, or a moral issue– because it isn’t.
When I was born this way, the conversation changed from “acting” a certain way or making decisions of a certain lifestyle versus “being” who I am. And because I am who I am, and if you also believe in God and that I am “of God,” then your God, and mine, made me this way. But I digress. This isn’t about religious rights…
This week isn’t about special rights, either. It’s about American rights. I don’t want special treatment. I am fabulous and can achieve “special status” on my own, with my own talents. I just want my American rights.
It may not impact you– but if you love America, call yourself American and are proud of what this nation stands for– it does impact you.
And because my posts would not be complete without a Greek shout out– I’m dedicating this post and sending all of my positive energy in the world this week to Theane Evangelis Kapur, who is part of the legal team arguing the Prop 8 case on Tuesday. In an interview with The Pappas Post, Theane called the gay marriage issue “the last frontier of the American civil rights movement.”
In another interview, she described the importance of this case to her, and for the nation.
Good luck Theane. You’ve inspired me since the first day I met you and this work you do for the down-trodden and those who are discriminated against makes you a hero in my book.