By: Dani Langevin – June, 2011
My daughter just finished her sophomore year at Westfield State University. She had one more project to finish up due a week after she came back home. It was for her Ethnics class. Proudly, she chose to research and report on the gay rights movement. The first date mentioned in her power point is the 25th century BCE. Imagine that; we’ve been struggling for almost five thousand years. She ended it by asking me and my wife questions about our experience as members of the gay community. I’ve come a long way since coming out in 1994, but her questions sure brought back old emotions.
After being asked questions that dug up old skeletons and opened old wounds, I wondered why our fight for equality has lasted this long and has yet to be accomplished. Every time the GLBT community gains a right they should have had by simply being human, there is someone who wants to take it away again.
Case in point: New Hampshire couples gained the right to marry just over a year ago and ever since, there has been an effort to repeal it. In fact there is a thick wave of fear in the air about the safety of New Hampshire’s same-sex marriage law. Why? Back in February hearings were scheduled in the Legislature to do just that, repeal the law, but it was tabled until January of 2012. The reason for this is because it will be the first time there is a presidential election where the primaries will begin in two states that have legalized same-sex marriages, Iowa and New Hampshire. These primaries will take place on February 14, 2012. Interesting timing, don’t you think?
Why can’t they just let sleeping dogs lie? I understand that the voters didn’t make this decision nor should they have. The civil rights of the minority should not be determined by the majority – ever! This is why the legislature has the power to do this. However, polls conducted by New Hampshire Freedom to Marry and released by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center have shown that the citizens of the
Granite State approve of gay marriage 2:1. So, why even entertain this?
Even if the repeal does not pass and the law is kept in place, gay and lesbian couples are still not recognized by the federal government. This is yet another battle to win. There are over one thousand benefits denied these couples by the federal government. Insurance breaks, tax breaks, veteran’s discounts, social security survivor benefits, and assumptions of a spouse’s pension are just to name a few.
A number of heavy hitting Republican candidates have made it clear that they are opposed to same-sex marriages.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has been very open about his opposition and has called President Obama’s refusal to support the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.
That’s right, Mr. “I’m for family values”, who left his first wife when she was diagnosed with MS, had an affair on his second wife and left his wife when she was in the hospital with cancer, is against same-sex marriage because it will degrade traditional marriage. Sorry Newt, go back under the rock from which you slithered. Mitt Romney, who was once endorsed by the pro-gray Log Cabin Club during his run to become the governor of Massachusetts and stated that he was more pro-gay than Ted Kennedy, turned tail and is now campaigning for a ban on same-sex marriage.
One Republican, Fred Karger who is an openly gay political strategist and Republican presidential candidate stated that he’ll, “absolutely advocate for preserving the right to same-sex marriage.” He asks for his fellow candidates to focus on more strenuous issues like the economy and national security. He sounds like the only voice of reason among the Republicans.
And so our fight continues. It reminds me of the saying, “You may have won the battle, but you haven’t won the war.” What a hell of a war it is.