I heard on the radio that same-sex marriage passed the Senate in the state legislature in Minnesota. I feel kind of rueful about this, because there are so many fundamental problems in the world, and this solves one highly symbolic one for a small subset of our fellow citizens. Marriage is when the State recognizes a relationship between two consenting adults. In our country, the legal contract of marriage allows rights like shared health insurance, joint custody of children, adoption, death benefits, and the right to not testify against one’s spouse in a court of law.
With all of these rights and benefits, it was an injustice to not offer full marriage to gay and lesbian couples, because they can have monogamous, long-term relationships like anyone else. So, it’s a good day for the expansion of rights to the LGBT community. The more we can do to acknowledge the full breadth of human nature and match our laws to that reality, the better. Additionally, I’ve been encouraged that public sentiments have moved so swiftly on this issue; I can remember when it was big news that Ellen DeGeneres said, “Yep, I’m gay,” on the cover of People magazine.
But I’m a little rueful because I spent a lot of today reading about the difficulty of procuring decent work in our society, about how student debt has gotten so big for too many people, about how 59% of African-American women who have children have children from more than one father, and how while college education is more necessary than ever, academic administrators and state legislators are trying to make it so less-wealthy students don’t get to interact with actual people in order to learn (online “MOOCs” for the non-elites). It’s a real litany—no wonder I look at the headlines so seldom; they get me down.
There are real threats to our way of life, and the same-sex marriage legislation does not make me feel that much more hopeful. The American Dream just invited a few more people to the table, but if it’s a shrinking pie, I am still worried.