This started as a simple Facebook status , but for some reason, a Facebook status can only be 420 characters long. My submission was 628 characters long and when that wasn’t accepted I was forced to move the whole thing here.
It all started with a few expressions of disappointment some friends made about Maine voters repealing a state law that would have allowed same-sex couples to marry. While I shared their disappointment, I was becoming increasingly offended by the descriptions of the repealed law that all included something similar to the description above about “allowing” or “permitting” same-sex couples to get married as if “we” all knew better and had decided that it was OK for “them”. I found myself in a weird situation of being offended by a law that I had hoped would stand.
Here is my original status message:
Why does same-sex marriage need to be legalized? Was mixed-sex marriage ever legalized? Was mixed-race marriage ever legalized? Trying to “make it legal” assumes that without legislation it is illegal. That’s backwards. It’s ceding the right and then asking for it back. Freedom to marry, or not marry, resides with the individual and cannot be granted or infringed by the State. We need to insist on this and take down any laws that say otherwise. We can’t legalize marriage any more than we can legalize happiness. It is one of our unalienable rights. As unfortunate as the decision in Maine is, I think it’s for the best.
The law legalizing same-sex marriage in Maine has been repealed, but I think it was a dangerous law to begin with. It’s because laws can be repealed that something as important as marriage shouldn’t be legislated. It opens up to debate that which should not be debated. Rather than fighting for something that should already be, we need to defeat that which denies it. Rather than passing laws that legalize same-sex marriage we need to rewrite or repeal laws that say it is illegal. We need to challenge the people and institutions that stand in the way of what is already ours.
So, while I’m disappointed that people in Maine have voted to deny rights to same-sex couples, I’m even more disappointed that they thought that this was something they could vote on in the first place.