I’m new to the Harrisburg capitol scene, where the ACLU has been lobbying recently against the Marriage “Protection” Amendment. It’s a wake-up call – like hearing an alarm go off in your dream and then realizing it’s for real – to sit in front of a Representative who has no qualms telling you that well, yes, he supposes when you put it that way that he is writing discrimination into the Constitution. That this is what his constituents want. That we’re never going to find any common ground.
And it’s like getting an unwanted pinch on the butt to hear a lawmaker tell you “the gays” are great, but they shouldn”t get married or French kiss in public. That marriage doesn’t implicate religion but, oh, by the way, the Bible gives a great definition of it. That enshrining man + woman in our state Constitution is somehow going to strengthen family life. Listening to these arguments makes me feel dirty – like I want to stop the unwanted advance, but I’m not sure how.
Some of our lawmakers seem to wish the proposed amendment had never reared its ugly head and that it would slip quietly away and let them go about the business of passing a budget. Okay, I agree. But it’s here with us now, an uncomfy reminder that we haven’t figured out a way for all of us to be secure in our right to love and partner as we choose and enjoy the legal rights that protect our long-term intimate relationships. So as long as this amendment – and the mean-spiritedness that drives it – won’t go away, it looks like we’ll need to keep sitting down with our lawmakers and the people who elect them and talking about how discriminatory legislation like this not only impacts LGBT people, but picks away at the separation of church and state, mocks our ideals of equality, and leaves us still hungry for substantive responses to our most pressing issues rather than facile political maneuvering.
Jess in Philly