(It’s So Close but…) We’re So Far Away

Earlier today, the Supreme Court came to the monumental decision on marriage (I’m deliberately not referring to this as same-sex marriage), namely deciding whether homosexuals have a right to constitutionally marry or whether state bans on same-sex marriage can remain in place. It’s perhaps as monumental (at least close to) as the 19th Amendment that passed in 1919 that allowed women the right to vote. It’s perhaps as monumental (at least close to) as the Voting Rights Act in 1965 that allowed blacks the right to vote. This could – perhaps like those other two monumental decisions – change the way an entire group of Americans are treated in this country. This could finally mean equality for all: women, minorities, and the LGBT community.

I mean, after all, we’ve recently seen the way that racism has nearly ceased to exist in America since 1965. We’ve seen the level of equality that women have achieved since 1920. I mean, we have, haven’t we?

“So because a black dude doesn’t work hard enough to get a good job that pays well and effects these stats, that’s proof that they’re somehow discriminated against? Companies are required to hire a certain percentage of minorities. If they can’t get and keep a job, that’s hardly any white persons fault. Black folks not owning a home doesn’t speak to anything except their choice of job, or expenditures, or child support. Stop making excuses for people that use those excuses to justify their station. Life is hard. No one alive today was a slave or slave owner.”


“So now there’s gonna be women’s football on FIFA 16, why do women have to interfere with everything we do?!”


“Yes, in the unhinged mind of popular culture, a man puts on a pantsuit and suddenly he’s a brave, strong, courageous, amazing, history, legendary, superhero warrior savior. He went from a D-list reality TV celebrity to Jesus Christ, and all because he said he wants to be a she. This is demented. The whole thing. All of it. It’s worth noting, too, that it doesn’t generally require ‘courage’ or ‘bravery’ or ‘strength’ to do something that is sure to result in television deals and roaring applause from a sea of adoring fans. Usually, courage is not defined as ‘the willingness to endure immense popularity, esteem, fame, and profit.’ I’m not saying this was all a marketing ploy, but his bank account and reputation are certainly reaping the rewards. So, heroic? Hardly. Amazing? This old man with cerebral palsy using a typewriter to paint the Mona Lisa is amazing, but Bruce Jenner? Sorry, I don’t see it. I think the better word would be horrifying. And sad. And depressing. And despicable.”


“We are now ONE STEP CLOSER to Christian pastors being FORCED BY PENALTY OF FUCKING LAW to SIN AGAINST THE BIBLE. Thanks, everyone. I’m glad your victories are being celebrated.

We wanted MARRIAGE To remain a divine act as a GODLY union between a Man and a Woman. If the homosexual community wanted something in fairness as viewing each man created equally before the law, then they should have created their own damn union. But no, now instead of gays proclaiming the tyranny of being ‘Oppressed’ by Christians for us merely protecting what we believed a Holy act, trying to avoid the Government having even a single reason to impose anything on the Church before.

But no. Blind selfishness and hate have now driven the U.S. one step AWAY from Freedom and Justice for all.”

Perhaps not. The first quote was posted on Facebook in response to a post regarding the abusive treatment of black teenagers by a white policeman in McKinney, Texas. You can see the whole thread here. The second was a tweet sent out in response to the announcement that the latest FIFA video game will contain women soccer players. I’m pretty sure you can guess what the third quote is about, but in case you didn’t, it’s from this article in response to Caitlyn Jenner. The final quote is a response to today’s SCOTUS ruling from someone on Facebook.

Then again, we do have items like this fantastic blog post from my fiancee about her sister, which is almost enough to make me forget about what I quoted above.

Almost.

The sad reality is that laws don’t change minds. Even though – legally – blacks have the same legal rights as whites, there’s still too many people that think blacks are just lazy, disrespectful losers. Even though – legally – women have the same status as men, they still make 78 cents to the dollar that a man makes. The sad reality is that there are still plenty of people holding events like this.

The sad reality is that as I’ve been composing this blog post over the last couple weeks, a 21-year-old white man shot down nine African Americans in a church in South Carolina. The sad reality is that while I’ve been composing this blog post, there’s still people trying to argue that the confederate flag isn’t a symbol of oppression, slavery, discrimination, and prejudice. The sad reality is that there are many people who think that today’s decision is a sign of a coming apocalypse.

Almost every person today who I’ve seen celebrating this decision today has said the exact sentiment I’m expressing here. This is just the first step. The reality is still that the fight is far from over.

The 14th Amendment, which was adopted in July of 1868, says, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” All persons. Why did it take us 147 years to reach the “monumental decision” that members of the LGBT community are considered a part of “all persons”? Were they not “persons” before? Have they not always been “persons”? And why, 52 years after the adoption of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 – which prohibited wage differentials based on sex – women make 78 cents to the dollar for the same position held by a male? And why, 51 years after the adoption of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin – there’s still people who believe they are more deserving or entitled to basic human rights?

In the future, I’ll get more into the very misguided notion of “traditional marriage” as a religious institution and how if you believe in marrying for love at all (even heterosexually) you believe in progressive marriage, but that’s a lot to get into right now. Right now, I’ll enjoy the celebration that members of the LGBT community are recognized as citizens entitled to the same rights as any other. I’ll gladly participate in that celebration even though – like The Onion so wonderfully expressed – it’s a sad statement that this is something that had to be fought so hard for.

When the shooting in Charleston took place, I posted on Facebook a video of Jon Stewart that I said perfectly reflected my own thoughts. Here it is:


A few days after that, another favorite of mine – John Oliver – addressed the confederate flag. The video is unable to be embedded, but you can view it here. John Oliver also addressed the seemingly very positive step that a woman’s face is going to be added to U.S. currency. I used “seemingly very positive” for a reason. That video is also unable to be embedded, so again you can view it here.

The fight’s not over. It’s not nearly over, and I am very thankful for people like my future sister-in-law, who works for Lambda Legal, who continue to live this fight every day and never give up. I’m thankful for the increasing number of individuals who are recognizing that people are indeed people, just like them. I’m thankful for the increasing number of individuals who believe in true equality; people who believe that we are all entitled to the same basic human rights, regardless of sex, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, or any other possible “label” of an individual. I am hopeful that I will be able to raise my children in a world where the phrase “same-sex marriage” has ceased to exist and it’s just “marriage.” I am hopeful that I will be able to raise my children in a world that exists without institutional prejudices against minorities of any race, sex, gender, or age. I am hopeful that I will be able to raise my children in world where – regardless of what they choose to believe or whom they choose to love – they will be accepted, loved, and embraced.

We’re so close to reaching that famous happy end
Almost believing this one’s not pretend
Let’s go on dreaming, though we know we are
So close, so close yet still so far

“It’s so close but we’re so far away.” That phrase really struck me when thinking about writing this post because it seemed so fitting. Equality is so close – in many ways, legally it’s already here – yet we as a society are so far away from where we should be. Those who know me know I don’t like the word “should,” as it defines some level of standard acceptability that is more often than not defined by another. So if I’m using the word “should” it’s because I mean it. It means that we should be in a world beyond discriminating based on “tradition.” It means we should be in a world that is beyond saying one individual has more value or inherent rights than any other individual. We’re young, though. We’re learning.

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One thought on “(It’s So Close but…) We’re So Far Away

  1. Thank you for this reminder (It is 2015): “The 14th Amendment, which was adopted in July of 1868, says, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”” Again, it is now 2015: we need to work much harder to enforce this Amendment. Here’s to hoping this week’s wake-up call is just that.

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