Matt Cheuvront at Life Without Pants wrote a poignant post today about Maine's rejection of an equal marriage law. His insights are personal, honest, and straightforward. And I agree with him on each point. This is the preeminent civil rights issue of our generation.
When I moved to the "big city" of Nashville as a 7th grader, my mom asked how my first day of school was. I told her, "Mom - there were a lot of handicapped and black people there."
I didn't say this as a prejudiced or racist declaration. It was in fact quite the opposite as I found myself quickly befriending each group. It was simply that I'd never seen such an equal balance of race and ability in a school setting before.
And therein lies my hope that the gay marriage struggle will not end with Maine's voters. Hopes for an equal and diverse society are ultimately not in the hands of Boomers or The Silent Generation. They're in the hands of my generation, Generation Y.
This is true for two reasons:
- We grew up with integrated sports teams and classrooms. We elected an African-American president and have seen women lead with skill. Personal preferences and prejudices still exist and the struggle for equal rights for all is far from over. But, our generation has seen what a better tomorrow can be like, and we'll work for it.
- As Matt writes, America is still a great place. In fact, even when it resembles more oppressive countries, it's easier than those same countries to change that resemblance. We can form groups and coalitions and work for the change we wish to see.
I hope my generation will be the one to resolve every civil rights issue. If we can't do it today, certainly we can by the time my daughter is my age. I fight for things now so that she will be able to marry whoever she wants. I fight so that my friends can access the same rights that I have as a married man. While I hate to think we'll need to wait that long, I have a great hope that my daughter will be able to vote yes - along with a majority - when she has the chance to extend equal legal benefits to homosexual couples.
Unless she becomes religious. Remember - religion can provide a very racist and sexist crutch to lean on.