As I reflected on the choices that I had before me last night, I just could not bring myself to tell an entire group of people in our community that they were less important, less worthy and less deserving of the rights and responsibilities of marriage — than anyone else — simply because of their sexual orientation. . . .
I have close family members and friends who are members of the gay and lesbian community. These folks include my daughter Lisa and her partner, as well as members of my personal staff.
· I want for them the same thing that we all want for our loved ones — for each of them to find a mate whom they love deeply and who loves them back; someone with whom they can grow old together and share life's wondrous adventures.
· And I want their relationships to be protected equally under the law. In the end, I could not look any of them in the face and tell them that their relationships — their very lives — were any less meaningful than the marriage that I share with my wife Rana.
-San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders.
Those words come from a Republican mayor who has decided that gay and lesbian Americans deserve to be treated as equal before the law.
And he's a Republican.
Dale Carpenter continues:
Liberal toleration was sufficient to convince Americans (including their courts) to do away with stigmatizing and pointless sodomy laws. That's why the laws could be eliminated in a country in which the majority of the population still viewed homosexual acts as immoral. Doing so simply signaled tolerance. Liberal tolerance might even be enough to sustain support for civil unions.
But allowing gay marriage goes further because it affixes a stamp of approval. The most committed opponents of gay marriage understand this, and that's precisely why they oppose it. Maggie Gallagher once said that losing on gay marriage means "losing American civilization." Losing gay marriage for Gallagher and others means not just losing on some words in the family code or on some legal debate over how to define fundamental rights. It means losing a world-view. The advantage they have in public debate is that they address the moral questions that matter to people, while gay marriage supporters are trained to recite the oath to liberal tolerance: "The government should not legislate morality." That line worked with sodomy laws but it won't work with marriage. Americans understand marriage itself to "legislate morality," so arguing amorally for gay marriage is like arguing for touchdowns in a baseball game.
During the struggle against apartheid, Desmond Tutu is rumored to have said to some white policemen that they might as well join the fight against apartheid since they had already won. Tutu knew this system was crumbling and it would only be a matter of time.
The Religious Right's view of the world is also crumbling as more and more gay Americans come out and live lives that are, well, boring. This past weekend, I got married...to my partner Daniel. We had a wedding like any straight couple. I got to walk my mother and father down the isle, as did Daniel. We were joined by our close friends and family who celebrated with us. Maybe the most surprising was the prayer my 77-year-old father gave before we ate that thank God for this "celebration." For a man who a few years ago was somewhat homophobic, this is a big step forward.
The fact is, people are starting to see gay people as people. We own houses, pay bills and do everything that every other American does. And we also enter into long-term relationships and want to know that when bad things happen, we can visit each other in the hospital or tell each other how we want to be treated if we are very ill.
The war will be won by our side, so it's time that the James Dobson's of the world join our side.