3.28.13 Editor’s Desk

By : Steve Blanchard
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SteveBlanchardHeadshotSometimes a simple question requires so much more than a simple answer. Why, you might ask? Because cultural divides and antiquated views make things much more difficult than they need be.

Recently, when an acquaintance casually asked me if I was married, my response both baffled him and surprised me.

My response went something like this: “Well, it depends on what state I’m standing in. Here in Florida, no, I’m not married. But if I were standing in a northeastern state I could easily say that yes, I am married. I’m also married in California, but I couldn’t get married there today. So I guess my answer to your question changes depending on my travel schedule.”

The baffled, single, young straight man wasn’t sure what I meant until I explained that my marriage to my husband of 15 years is recognized in only a handful of areas of the United States. We’re legally married in California and our marriage would be recognized in nine states and Washington, D.C. However, as I sit here in front of my computer screen at my office in the Sunshine State, I am a single man in the eyes of Florida law.

The disorienting state of my marital status was something I’m sure this 19-year-old never wanted to consider, but it’s a reality that so many of us in same-sex relationships deal with on a daily basis, especially if we travel across state lines.

As I write this column, thousands of people are outside of the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. in anticipation of two days of arguments regarding marriage equality. The arguments against Proposition 8 and a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act are the first time the nation’s court has addressed marriage equality. History will always remember these two days in American history as (hopefully) a turning point for gay and lesbian rights in the United States.

Polls, politicians of both parties, celebrities, athletes and large corporations have all showed progressive thinking in support of marriage equality in the United States – and it’s about time.

The arguments against marriage equality are weak. Citing texts that are thousands of years old to make an argument today is ludicrous (especially when you ignore the other ridiculous statements in that same text), and to simply say that those who cannot procreate should not be allowed to marry is a perfect practice in stupidity. Should we outlaw the heterosexual, geriatric set from tying the knot just because they won’t produce a child? Of course not.

And to simply say that one who “does not believe in same-sex marriage should not have it thrust upon them” doesn’t even make sense. Same-sex marriage exists around the globe and couples are legally married in a number of countries and states. So, therefore, saying that one doesn’t believe in same-sex marriage makes as about much sense as saying one doesn’t believe in clouds. And there have been no indications of straight people being forced into same-sex marriages.

It’s an exhausting and ridiculous argument that will hopefully, someday, be laughed at by future social studies classes looking at American history.

But that day isn’t here yet and we have a very real fight ahead of us for marriage equality, regardless of what decision the Supreme Court justices hand down in June. Experts across the political spectrum agree on one thing: the likelihood of this decision being all or nothing for marriage equality is non-existent. It is however, an impressive stepping stone that could pave the way for America to be on the same level of equality as European nations and our Canadian neighbors to the north.

Protecting marriage is a catch phrase and a scare tactic used by the uneducated and the fearful. Embracing marriage equality is something more Americans see as the right thing to do, while those opposing it look more like discriminating fossils every day.

I am hopeful that within the next few years, when someone asks me casually about my marital status, I can proudly respond with a simple, “Yes, I’m married.” And that answer won’t be determined by where I happen to be geographically located at the time the question is presented.

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