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A wise decision?

Stephen Tollefson, former lecturer, College Writing Programs | October 26, 2009

The plan to count married same-sex couples as unmarried partners, rather than as married couples is not surprising.  Is it wise?  Well, since it’s a political decision, I doubt that wisdom has much to do with it.  To stereotype and generalize, it’s a wise decision if you don’t believe in gay marriage, live in a rural area, or are evangelical.  It’s an unwise decision if you’re urban, support gay marriage, etc.  And I can hear the voice of Strom Thurmond  (didn’t he finally die? or was it Jesse Helms? I can’t remember) intoning, “This is a wise decision” which sends chills down my spine.

But the fact that we can even have discussions such as this one is sometimes surprising, even shocking, to me. Who would have thought twenty years ago, or perhaps even eleven years ago when Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered, that we would be having such conversations today?  For most of my  life, “gay” and “marriage” never appeared in the same sentence, unless “destroy” somehow came between them.

The fact that this is a discussion in the United States government, and not in some liberal enclave, is even more surprising, but before we get all misty-eyed about how far we’ve come (and we have), we need to look at those countries that have already legalized gay marriage, where for the most part it’s now just an aspect of life.  We’re not there yet.  There are going to be bumps and set-backs, but it’s going to happen.



Comments to “A wise decision?

  1. “I would rather admit to being gay than owning a t.v? How are they related?
    It is fine to hate tv, but worded this way it makes it seem as thought the writer would rather admit to being gay than other depraved lifestyles. I do hope that the gentleman just misworded himself.
    I think censuses are fine. I have worked as a historian in the past and do so now in my current incarnation as an advocate against dangerous pesticides, particularly soil fumigants. But, I can understand people worrying about things falling into the wrong hands.
    The Obama Administration is not a worry, but what if the spectre of Dick Chaney, or heaven forbid Sarah Palin ever get their hands on it, it could be very worrying for
    people who fall outside the lockstep of whatever the heck people of that kind of mindset consider “normal”
    Personally I do not think it is fair that dear friends of mine who have been together for close to 30 years, own a house, have good jobs and are raising a daughter together can’t get married, but straight people can drive to Reno, go for a licence, have a nice dinner and too many drinks at the casino and then weave into some roadside chapel and have their relationship be more “legitimate” then my friends.
    I know this for a fact, because that is how my husband and I tied the knot.

  2. I side with a number of other “minority” communities who advocate that it’s better to be counted –in this case, however imperfectly—than not. Some communities miss out on funding opportunities by being under-counted. While we may not see benefit of federal program monies (and who knows, maybe we will in this coming decade), a lot is to be gained by knowing how many of us are out there…which to me means that it’s just as important to count single LGBT’s, as couples. I may be on a limb here, but I think the census ought to poll for that.

    To chime in to Stephen Tollefson, I believe both Messrs. Helms and Thurmond are no longer with us. Both were among the most vitriolic haters in Congress, so we benefit from the generational change. Since we were intentionally omitted last time by the Bush administration for political spite, it’s better to see that amended with the new administration. Just today the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes bill was signed by President Obama. What a difference!

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