Opinion: Attorney general backs bigotry
Free Press Opinion Columnist
As someone who has spent the last 27 years rebelling against traditional weddings and discrimination against women, it’s funny to consider how best to advocate for marriage equality for same sex couples.
On the one hand, I believe with all my might that governments and churches do not have any business in our beds or our bodies. If we want to eat food free from pesticides and genetic modifications, choose our medical care, or be safe in our homes and communities, that should be our right as Americans. Choosing with whom we shall fall in love and share our lives should certainly be the most important freedom of all.
On the other hand, I have learned way too much about violence against women and the symbolism behind wedding traditions to get excited about having a wedding of my own.
Historically, weddings were considered a transfer of property. This is symbolized by a father handing off his daughter to her new owner. The word, “husband,” is defined as “manager” or “steward” and brings the skill of animal husbandry to mind. The origins of “wife” include terms like “shame” and a b-word I’m probably not allowed to type here.
Exchanging the father’s name for the husband’s seals the deal.
When recording our names and addresses on applications and assorted other forms, women have not always had the option of checking the box for “Ms.” There used to be no choice but to document their marital status with a “Mrs.” and “Miss” while men have always been “Mr.” or “Dr.”
With anti-discrimination laws popping up all over the country, more of my friends are finally able to get married or in Colorado, unite in a civil union. I quickly learned not to question any of their wedding plans as some of them began planning the most elaborate celebrations I’ve ever seen. They’re buying reams of white satin and proudly calling themselves husbands and wives.
When I confirmed the decision of one beaming bride to call herself “Mrs.” rather than “Ms.” the importance of tradition became clear. As someone who’s always benefited from white, heterosexual privilege, I can’t begin to imagine the feeling of being excluded from the traditions of my culture.
It’s easy for me to balk at wedding traditions because I have a choice. For my friends with same-sex partners, this is the first time in all of history that they are being recognized as equal to my partner and me.
And I must never forget that exercising my choice didn’t really even count because of the special privileges Colorado affords heterosexuals. Under Colorado law, opposite sex couples who live together and file taxes together are married.
For my partner and me, that has meant that he could make medical decisions on behalf of our family when I had an incapacitating pregnancy-related disease that could have killed the baby and me. It meant that he could stand by me and hold my hand when doctors wheeled me away for an emergency c-section.
It means that my partner and I can buy and rent property together and that I can be a stay-at-home mom with coverage under his health insurance policy.
I don’t understand how sharing all of that with someone of the opposite sex makes me so much more special than other people. I can’t imagine how anyone in circumstances similar to mine could be denied the same rights I’ve had simply because they love someone of the same sex.
Successful marriages and families are based upon love, respect, and trust. Those things come from within and cannot be imposed by the church or the state. Just like it’s none of my business how anyone conducts their wedding or what she decides to call herself, whom a person loves should not be anyone’s concern either.
Nine Colorado couples have just filed a lawsuit demanding marriage equality. They argue that their relationships are no less important than those of their heterosexual counterparts.
Colorado Attorney General, John Suthers, stands behind Colorado’s discriminatory laws and vows to devote his resources to oppose those who dare to demand equality.
A fourth generation Coloradan, GJ Free Press columnist Robyn Parker is the former host of the progressive community radio show, Grand Valley Live. She is a stay-at-home mom, active community volunteer and board member for local environmental and social justice organizations. Robyn may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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