You have to love family…but I am reminded of that line from one of my favorite movies “Soul Food” where Vanessa Williams says, “Family, to hell with family…I let family in my house and family fucked my husband!” I was sitting with my two aunts yesterday who I must also point out are about in their late 60’s, about 120 years of living between them. Needless to say, they are both Jamaican born and raised and have seen a great deal in their lifetime. I don’t know where the conversation came up, but somehow they got on the topic of gay marriage. The conversation soon turned into a heated debate. Now, anyone who knows me is aware that when it comes to controversy of any kind, I tend to stay as far away as possible.
However in this case I did not just sit on the sideline. I can only account my venture into the conversation between these two women who have both been married, one twice, with children and grandchildren as a temporary loss of my mind. Just as I was getting ready to add my two cents to the million dollar conversation, I could not help but get a picture of my friend Paula smiling at me with that look on her face that said “Yeah you are about to get your hat handed to you boy”. Needless to say I went there.
This is my personal belief; I think that the argument over same-sex marriage is equal to if not the same as anti-miscegenation laws that prohibited interracial marriages in this country for years. These laws made interracial marriage a felony in most states in the United States up until 1967 and well after. Similar to gay marriage, there had been a number of proposed constitutional amendments proposed to enforce a ban on interracial marriage. In comparing both cases, there are a number of similarities that could be made.
The most prominent of which is the opposition coming from the churches and religious institutions that were also at the forefront of the ban on interracial marriage, just as they are in opposition to gay marriage today. Then there are the scientists and sociologists that would argue that it is not possible for a same-sex couple to provide the nurturing and caring environment a child needs. Some say that gay parents would raise gay children. There is still that old aged conspiracy theory that gays are recruiting our children because they cannot create their own. This argument however was before the invention of the turkey bastor. I wonder if the inventor knew that his invention would have caused a sexual revolution for inseminating lesbians in addition to keeping our turkeys moist.
However, I digress. The fact is that in the 1950’s most white Americans were opposed to interracial marriage and did not see a ban on it as an affront to the principles of moral society. A 1958 Gallup Poll suggested that 96 percent of white Americans disapproved of interracial marriage. However by the 1960’s things quickly changed and as the civil rights movement made progress, so did the repeal of laws that banned interracial marriage. In 1967 the U.S. Supreme court in Loving v. Virginia found such laws unconstitutional under the protection of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. 17 States immediately repealed their laws, however some took longer such as South Carolina that did not repeal their laws until 1998 and Alabama in 2000. Can you imagine that in 1999, my mother and father could have been arrested in the State of Alabama for being married?
In the end, I think that it will be inevitable that gay couples will be allowed to have a legally recognized union in the United States protected by the Constitution, and it will most likely be the 14th Amendment. In finding interracial marriage laws unconstitutional, the Supreme Court said “The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not to marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.” Will the change be immediately accepted, I don’t think that it will. Today we still see the reaction from both races to interracial couples, so I expect that it will be the same for same sex unions.
I strongly believe that two individuals in a loving and supportive relationship should be recognized. I think that it will be left up to the churches and religious institutions to decide upon whether they would perform such a union based upon their religious practices. As an individual, I have a choice when choosing my place of worship, and if as a gay man or woman, my church did not recognize my union, I would find somewhere else to worship. Fundamentally, the most basic civil right is to love the person whom you chose, and not whom society says you should choose. In the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness we must ensure that America for the people and by the people includes all people, regardless of who they love.
So I boldly added my two cents to the conversation by simply saying “If you are against gay marriage, don’t marry one”. After a moment of silence, both my aunts just laughed and agreed. Unfortunately the argument over gay marriage will not end as simply for everyone. Do I support gay marriage? Yes I do.
Remember, if it affects us, we need to talk about it….hollah at ya boi!