As the Supreme Court recently took up California’s Prop 8 case, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own path to viewing marriage equality as a civil right.
I admit that for years I was indifferent. My church was famously opposed to it. But I felt I needed to have a deeper understanding of its implications before rendering a stance either way. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) further confused my quest because it resulted from Congressional bipartisan support during the (seemingly Democratic) Clinton administration. I began to feel secure with a pro-civil union attitude that evenly negotiated two sides of the question.
But as Prop 8 was passed and then overturned, it was revealed that the Mormon church– and to a lesser extent, the Catholic church – played a significant role in funding the anti-equality effort. That was a significant turning point for me. I felt those institutions had no right to interfere in the political and personal will of the electorate. They could enforce their own doctrine in the confines of their religious education programs or pulpits. It was the covert manner in which they funneled money that subverted the communities of members/parishioners they represent. After all, citizens were voting for a legal contract to be recognized between two loving and committed adults.
Then it came home. When I became aware that I was the parent of a gay son, the lens through which I saw the world changed. I knew socially he would face discrimination in some forms. But I did not believe he and his eventual partner should be deemed less than deserving of the nearly 2,000 legal rights and benefits afforded to heterosexual couples. In his eyes, I saw clearly the dignity entitled to all humans.
I believe that marriage equality, along with legally recognizing LGBTQ as a protected population, is a civil right. As a mother, I won’t accept anything less. As citizens of what is considered the freest country in the world, we shouldn’t settle for less.