Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Why the proposed ban on gay marriages scares me- and I’m not gay

A state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and civil unions has been approved by both chambers of the Wisconsin Legislature. The final step is that the legislation must clear both houses again in 2005 before going to voters in a statewide referendum. The referendum would put the issue of gay marriage into the hands of Wisconsinites who, I feel, need to know the affects the ban would have on people (heterosexuals included) before they could vote.

This act would establish that marriage is between one man and one woman and would do away with domestic partnerships rights. This is frightening because as a result of the new constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in some states, such as Ohio, domestic violence laws no longer protect unmarried straight people. There is also language in Kentucky that actually says, "A legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized." In other words, if you are not a straight married couple you don’t matter and the government has no obligation to protect your rights. Additionally, common law marriages (such as the one my own mother and step-father had before he died) would not be recognized and no voice would be given to a partner who was left behind after a tragedy.

So I, an unmarried straight female, can be beaten up by an overly aggressive boyfriend and I am not legally protected from him because Conservatives have an issue with what grown people do in the privacy of their bedroom. Thanks a lot guys- knew you wouldn’t let us women down again.

I believe that marriage, in the strictly legal sense, has zilch to do with religion. I am a devote Christian but I am also an American and to me the idea of imposing a highly religious ideal on a secular nation is not only wrong but dangerous.

If Wisconsin citizens should be called on to vote on a ban on gay marriages it will not be a referendum on defending marriage and family values. It will be an attempt to, not only, impose religious morals on others but to marginalize an already vulnerable minority group through a poorly drafted (and somewhat mean-spirited) state constitutional amendment which will have immeasurable and unintended consequences on people of all sexual orientations.

I digress, on women of all sexual orientations.