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We are being punished without a conviction, without a trial.

Last week the Judiciary Committee of California’s State Assembly, Mark Leno’s Marriage Equality bill passed by a wide margin. (Still on to rest of Assembly, Senate and Governor — this was a first step).

The only argument against it seems to be that ‘we must punish the gay people or else they will do something to hurt straight people’s families.’  In other words, denying us equal rights under the law is some kind of punishment, because somehow they believe it is our fault that heterosexual divorce rates are so high.

If we’re going to be accused and punished, shouldn’t we at least have a right to be heard, to present our case, and to a fair hearing…If the reason to deny me equal rights under the law is because of the harms that are befalling heterosexual families, shouldn’t I have to be proven guilty of causing the harm, before I am punished for it?

Or, is it that the fear that if I do get equal rights, then I will do something to hurt their families?  What do they fear I will do?  I’d be happy to promise not to.

Perhaps they fear that if we are not oppressed, then we will take power, and then will do to them the same thing to them that they are now doing to us.  After all, heterosexual Americans are, right at this moment, taking specific actions to HARM OUR FAMILIES — specifically, are actively denying us equal rights to some of the most basic things people do with their spouses, such as be with one another if someone is in the hospital, or buy a home together — or any of the simple little things of daily life in a relationship.  So, maybe they fear that they must make sure to keep us down, because maybe they are afraid that we would do the same thing to them that they are doing to us. 

But, we won’t.  Really really truly, we won’t.  Gay people do not want to hurt straight families.  We are not the cause of your rising rates of abuse and divorce, though certainly, those are troubling problems that very much do need to be addressed.  Perhaps if the Country stopped blaming gay people for the rise of heterosexual divorce, it might be easier to take real actions to help heterosexual families do better.

But please, stop thinking you can heal your family by hurting ours.  It doesn’t work that way.  Love is not a limited resource — if you try to take other people’s love away, you won’t have more.

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RebKaplan

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