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The Real Gay Agenda

By Mary Shaw

27 March, 2007

John and Chris have been together for three decades. They've raised two healthy and well-adjusted children, who have themselves grown up, gotten married, and provided John and Chris with two beautiful grandchildren so far.

When they were in their twenties, Chris worked two jobs to put John through medical school. They've stayed together through good times and bad. Their love and their devotion to each other have remained strong even as most other residents of their suburban Philadelphia neighborhood have divorced, remarried, and in some cases divorced again.

Sound like the ideal marriage? Yes, it might, if only John and Chris could get married. But, you see, John and Chris are both men, and Pennsylvania does not recognize same-sex marriages.

Some might suggest that they move to nearby New Jersey, where marriage-like civil unions recently became legal. But it's not so easy to uproot a family. There are homes and careers involved. Besides, telling John and Chris to move to Jersey to find equality is like telling someone to move out of the country if they don't like the way their tax dollars are being spent. Moving to Jersey would mean giving up on Pennsylvania. Better to stay and fight for equality at home in the Keystone State.

And equality is really all they want. That's really all there is to the so-called "gay agenda". Simple equality. No special privileges, just the same privileges as everyone else.

Those who oppose same-sex marriage say that it would undermine the institution of marriage. But isn't heterosexual infidelity already doing that?

I fail to see how legalizing same-sex marriage would have any effect on heterosexual marriages. As James Carville once said, "I was against gay marriage until I found out I didn't have to have one." No, anyone who feels that his own heterosexual marriage would be threatened if gays could marry obviously has some very deep issues that can't be fixed through legislation.

This country was founded on the principle that all people - not just the heterosexual ones - are created equal. It's time to make that principle a reality. It's time for the homophobes of America to stop worrying about what consenting adults are doing in the privacy of their own homes. After all, time and time again we've seen that those who want to control what goes on in other people's bedrooms seem to have the most to hide in their own. (Can you say "Ted Haggard"?)

Our soldiers are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden is still on the loose, and 13 million children in this country suffer from hunger due to poverty. Don't we have more important things to worry about than what the gay couple down the street might be doing behind closed doors?

And aren't the principles of freedom and equality better for this country, and for humankind in general, than a policy of bigotry and hate?

Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist. She currently serves as Philadelphia Area Coordinator for Amnesty International, and her views on politics, human rights, and social justice issues have appeared in numerous online forums and in newspapers and magazines worldwide. Unless otherwise noted, the ideas expressed in this article are the author's own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Amnesty or any other organization with which she may be associated. E-mail:


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