Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Why It's So Important for Same-Sex Couples to Have the Right to Marry in Arkansas (and Similar Places)

I'd like to share with you all one more comment about the same-sex marriages now taking place in my state of Arkansas (albeit in very limited areas: almost every county in the state is still refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and several that initially did so have shut the process down. I have absolutely no doubt at all that they're receiving very serious threats from the evangelical right, the Catholic bishop, and Republican leaders in the state). 

This is a comment I made earlier today at Jayden Cameron's Gay Mystic site, in response to Jayden's observation that many lesbian couples raise children unwanted by others. I replied to Jayden:

Jayden, I love your point about how laws that level the playing field protect mothers raising children, many of those being mothers in same-sex relationships. I saw many couples of men and couples of women with children being married on Monday in Little Rock.

These folks come from small towns around the state, where they have no legal protection and face church-fueled discrimination constantly. The discrimination affects the children they are raising.

I am so happy they now have the right to marry, since that affords them a layer of legal protection they and their children did not have before—and which they sorely need to lead full, humane lives in places like Arkansas.

As I said previously, in response to Catholic Bishop Anthony Taylor's extremely dubious claim that he and other Catholic leaders love and welcome gay folks  (excuse me: homosexuals) and defend our rights, Arkansas is one of many states that afford gay people no legal protection at all from discrimination. But the way in which same-sex couples, many of them with children, flocked from around the state to the courthouse in Little Rock on Monday morning to marry should remind all of us that, throughout this small, largely rural state — and throughout many rural regions of the nation — there are gay couples living everywhere.

They contribute to the well-being of their communities in manifold ways. They and their children deserve to be treated like human beings for a change and to have their contributions recognized. The law permitting these couples to marry legally takes a critically important step in that direction. It would be tragic to revoke that law, no matter what the men of God insist to the contrary, as they babble on about love for homosexual sinners and support for rights of the marginal which they have never defended or said a single word about up to now, when it comes to their gay brothers and sisters.

The graphic: a photo of Kristin Seaton and Jennifer Rambo, the first same-sex couple to marry in Arkansas, who married last Saturday at the courthouse in Eureka Springs. It's from the GLAAD website.

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