Today is the 4th of July, the day when the sovereign state of the United States of America celebrates shrugging off the rule of an oppressive power and striking out boldly on its own.
As befitted a new young state, the men in charge wanted to lay everything out clearly so everyone could see where they stood and wrote it all down in a constitution. One of the most cherished tenets of the Constitution is that all men are equal and deserving of the same rights under law, the same consideration from the state and the right to lead their lives in happiness and fulfilment.
Unfortunately the good intentions expressed in this Constitution were blurred by definitions. What is a man? Could a man who is not white, or is not heterosexual, or for that matter is female, be allowed the same freedoms? Slowly, slowly the initial ‘noes’ have become yesses. There’s still a way to go but every decade, every year, we creep closer to the ideal of life, love and liberty for all.
I live in the UK, which is quietly tying itself in knots over the same-sex marriage question. For a country where church and state are widely divided we sure are getting in a pother about it. This is where a Constitution would be very useful. We don’t have one, you see. Instead we have Common Law, formed in courtrooms and in Parliaments dating back to the 12th century, where things are tested to destruction again and again until a workable compromise is reached. Then and only then it goes on the law books. Does anyone else find it odd that a country that prides itself on fair play is still looking at the fundamental rights of its citizens through a legal magnifying glass formed 500 years ago?
Equality means equality – no ifs, buts or maybes – and I sincerely hope that soon it will be possible for all human beings, both sides of the pond, to plight their troths to each other in the way that pleases them both best, or not if they would sooner not, and their rights as spouses be recognised equally with the rights of people like me and my husband, married for 35 years and counting. For two young people who love each other to marry does not affect my marriage one bit, but to deny them that right on my behalf diminishes me as a civilised human being.
Please comment to show your support for equality across the board and I’ll do a draw at the end of the hop and send the winner a $10 gift card. If you want to have a chance of winning some of the terrific prizes being offered by Queer Town Abbey, don’t forget to add your email addy to your comment.