Published on The Daily Femme – Monday, Sept. 20, 2010
Contributed by Annamarya
For their October issue, Glamour ran the inspirational article, “Meet My Two Moms,” by Kate Brodoff. In the piece, Brodoff talks about the happiness & normality of her life with her two moms, the discrimination she’s faced for being from a non-traditional family, how it was to meet her “bio-dad,” and her activism. Her story is also special: her moms, Mom Maureen and Mom Ellen, not only won the legal right to parent her together in the 1993 landmark “Adoption of Susan” case, but also were the first same-sex couple to marry in the US whenMassachusetts legalized same-sex marriage in May 2004.
As someone raised by two moms, I can relate to Brodoff’s story (unlike Brodoff, mine and my sister’s biological mother was married to our biological father until they divorced in the mid-90s. Around that time, she met Mom Donna and they’ve been together for 15 years). Our “non-traditional” family is no different than our straight counterparts: we love, fight, laugh, and grow the same. And while, according to a survey conducted this year, some Americans include our family unit in their “family” definition, most hate that we exist— they tell us we’re an abomination. They cite insane social science arguments against same-sex marriage. To them, we’re a boil-ridden second head on a Frankenstein monster. We’re nothing. And like Brodoff, I can’t fathom why.
But the problem isn’t personal moral beliefs. The real issue is the government infringing on two fundamental constitutional rights:
1. Amendment 14, stating “No State shall…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” (Judge Vaughn Walker cited this when he struck down California’s Prop 8 in August) and
2. The First Amendment. While we default to the amendment’s freedom of religion/speech/press, we forget its first few words: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” By not extending rights to include marriage equality, the government is violating this very line. How so? Most lawmakers who oppose same-sex marriage often cite religiously-slanted “family values” as an opinion influencer (i.e: George W. Bush & the Federal Marriage Amendment and New York State rejecting the Marriage Equality Act last year). Even the “secular” procreation argument is still rooted in misinterpreted religious ideology. No matter how you slice it, a State’s banning of same-sex marriage based on religious morals is, in fact, respecting a religious establishment. And it’s unconstitutional.
While no law should dictate a place of worship’s activities and beliefs, religionshould not dictate law, therefore there’s no legitimate reason why same-sex couples can’t have a legal civil marriage once religion is removed from the equation. If Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden can all legally recognize same-sex marriage, why can’t the supposedly progressive and free United States (only five states–Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont–and Washington, D.C currently recognize it)?
Brodoff’s ends her article with this piece of wisdom: “I wish that people opposed to gay marriage would understand that allowing gay couples to marry doesn’t weaken the institution of marriage, it strengthens it…Letting people who are in love get married just means more happiness all around.”