Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Marriage Equality And Human Rights

What amazed me about so much of the support for state constitutional amendments opposing same sex marriage, such as the just upheld Prop. 8 in California, is the amount of energy which these people used which we don't see put into fighting actions related to marriage which don't involve 2 consenting adults.

If all those who worked to get Prop 8 passed had been as dedicated to stopping the widespread marital violence (primarily husband against wife) which undermines heterosexual marriage then there would be no need for a national domestic violence hotline. If all those people became as active against marital rape and abuse, with no accompanying victim blaming, that would strengthen heterosexual marriage in a way that no state constitutional amendment ever could.

So why are so many pro-marriage advocates AWOL from the effort to stop domestic violence? Too often the answer is, "Of course we are against domestic violence, but ..." Or their solution is to focus on the actions of the victims of domestic violence. Or they oppose efforts to prevent this type of violence among adults and teens because those efforts are inclusive of all types of couples. An example of this is going on right now in South Carolina.

Gay rights advocates on Tuesday protested the exclusion of gay and lesbian relationships from a South Carolina bill meant to curb teen dating violence. [...] The measure requires school districts to create dating violence prevention policies for sixth- through 12th-graders and print the policies in school handbooks or Web sites by next summer.

Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg, said the bill was hijacked by homophobia, as the House voted May 14 to add the “heterosexual” caveat. Rep. Greg Delleney, R-Chester, said he pushed for the change to “preserve traditional values in South Carolina's public schools,” and not allow for teaching about same-sex relationships. Democrats blocked final approval of the bill Thursday in the House.

This move by Rep. Delleney means that fighting non-violent same-sex relationships is a higher priority than fighting violence inside dating relationships. By excluding mention of non-heterosexual relationships in the bill those who voted for this amendment inadvertently supported creating an image where violent equals heterosexual.

A heterosexual marriage is destroyed each time a husband kills his wife or vice versa. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, on average each day in the US more than 3 women are killed by their husbands or boyfriends.

Pro-marriage advocates often oppose the work of feminists related to violence against women, but since feminists have been focused on domestic violence the number of men murdered by intimate partners has dropped by 75% from 1976 to 2005.

When a wife leaves an abusive marriage she is not the one who has destroyed the marriage, she is merely abandoning an environment which is not safe for her or her children.

If a husband built and ran a meth lab in the basement of the family's home, nobody would be scolding that wife for removing herself and their children from that toxic building before it exploded. Yet too often the traditional marriage supporters save their outrage for victims of marital violence who get divorced and for same-sex couples who get married.

I guess the problem comes down to whether your emphasis is on supporting traditional or supporting marriage. Husbands murdering their wives has a long tradition, but I for one do not want to protect that tradition. Violence within a marriage attacks the foundation of the marriage as does any system which supports that violence.

If we want heterosexual marriage upheld then we need to address what is attacking it from within. Violence is the number 1 culprit.

This video highlights that the issue of government recognized same-sex marriage is about advancing human rights.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 1:05 PM   0 comments links to this post


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