Tuesday, December 08, 2009

When the majority is wrong ...

It would seem to me that if something’s right, it’s always right. Doesn’t matter what day it is or what year it is.

Slavery was wrong. It was always wrong. It was just as wrong in 1801 as it was in 1865 … as it is today. Slavery didn’t become wrong. We just eventually figured it out.

Just a few short decades ago, there remained laws in many states that prohibited inter-racial marriage. Those laws were wrong. Wrong now. Wrong then. We eventually figured it out.

And in 2009, gay marriage is illegal throughout the majority of our nation, including New York state, allegedly one of the most liberal states in the union.

And, frankly, that’s wrong. And our state senate had an opportunity last week to show the world they had figured that out. But instead they chickened out, voting 38-24 in opposition to legalizing same-sex marriage.

Every member of the Republican party voted against it. And every member of the Western New York contingent voted against it, save for Antoine Thompson.

I can’t recall ever being proud of Antoine Thompson before. I was last week.

Opponents will say that marriage is between a man and a woman … as God intended. I say if this is a religious issue, the state should have nothing to do with it. Let the churches decide if they wish to perform same-sex nuptials. Neither force them to, nor prohibit them from. Kind of … oh, what do they call that? Separation of church and state.

Opponents also say that same-sex marriage destroys the “sanctity” of marriage. With a greater than 50 percent divorce rate among heterosexuals, I think the “sanctity” of marriage can be questioned without the help of the gay community.

Opponents will say that if we allow homosexuals to marry, the next step will be to allow for polygamy … or for people to marry their pets. Probably exactly the same logic employed when inter-racial marriage was a hot topic. ‘Cause obviously if a black man wants to marry a white woman, he’d be equally inclined to marry a Shetland pony.

Opponents say that the majority of people don’t care about gay marriage. Never mind the fact that the reason we’re a republic instead of a democracy is to allow cooler, smarter heads to prevail and not allow the majority to trample the rights of the minority.

Most data suggests that approximately 10 percent of the population is gay. So the other 90 percent can pretend they don’t exist? I’ve also read that 10 percent of the world’s population lives with some sort of disability. Can we ignore them, too? Only 6 percent of the U.S. population — including yours truly — has red hair. Should I be shunned or ignored?

If you’re on a deserted island with nine other people and they decide that you would make a good dinner, that doesn’t make it right.

To sum it up, each and every one of us is in the minority on occasion. That doesn’t make us wrong. And it doesn’t mean our voice should be silenced.

If our good state senators oppose gay marriage for themselves, so be it. But to prevent 10 percent of the state’s population from being able to marry the one they love due to their own homophobia, lack of understanding, lack of compassion or simply kowtowing to the “majority” is just wrong.

If they were capable of being ashamed, I’d say shame on them. But we all know they’re not.