Striking a blow on behalf of ignorance and adding fuel to ever-present homophobia, the Arlington Sun-Gazette last month got it terribly wrong by rhetorically ‘rapping the knuckles’ of Arlington (Va.) County Board Vice Chairman Jay Fisette for testifying in favor of gay marriage before a committee of the District of Columbia Council.
The paper’s “Arlington Highs and Lows” stated, “For an elected official in Virginia to wade into this issue in another jurisdiction is more than a little dicey.”
When a human right is denied, no matter the jurisdiction, we are each obliged to ‘speak out’ on behalf of those who suffer from legal and social discrimination. Those who stood against oppression in the past were castigated as ‘outside agitators’ for working to end the voting, public eating, and housing laws established against African-Americans.
Are we not equally bound to stand with our brothers and sisters of all races now?
Denial of marriage to two committed individuals, regardless of their gender, is as abhorrent as denial of that right to two opposite-sex individuals with different skin colors — a legal prohibition in Virginia until June 12, 1967 (Loving vs. Virginia) — and has contributed to the atmosphere of homophobic hate that too often has led to death.
For what is marriage but the public exchanging of vows in which two human beings profess mutual, lifelong fidelity to one another? What can be more honorable or more loving?
And now — because of the ‘agitation’ or ‘wading in’ of thousands and millions from so many other jurisdictions — on December 18, 2009, Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty signed into law Bill number B18-0482, “Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Equality Amendment Act of 2009,” which, after a 30-day period of review by Congress, will allow men and women of the same gender, at last, to marry one another and live as a wedded couple in the District of Columbia of the United States of America.
Every agitator — from all jurisdictions — who worked to achieve this long-sought goal deserves our thanks for making a once far-off dream come true.