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I’m a pretty lucky guy…

I live on a pretty quiet street. Nice house, nice neighbors, little if any crime except for an occasional bout of vandalism. The shopping is convenient; the commute to work takes about 25 minutes by bus or 10-15 minutes by car. There’s a neighborhood saloon that I like to frequent where I’ve probably pissed away too many hours but on the other side of that coin, I’ve also made a lot of very good friends. I don’t know who wins or loses in that trade-off. Maybe, for once there isn’t a winner or a loser. Who knows?

Anyway, I got home last night after downing a couple of brews with some of the regulars and got started into my normal routine. Some of you are probably familiar with what I’m talking about. You know, figure out what to have for dinner, change into some lounging around clothes, give borgette a jingle to see how she’s doing, put on a little music or the tube. Maybe you treat yourself to either one last cold one or a nice glass of red wine, crack open the book you’re reading and settle in for a quiet evening at home. All that seems to be missing is the warmth of a glowing fireplace and your dog curled up at your feet.

Like I said, I was doing just that last night when my quiet little block was invaded by the glare of flashing red and yellow lights and the scream of a siren. An ambulance and a fire truck pulled up next-door and the men were rushing into my neighbors’ house. I thought this was odd since I didn’t smell any smoke and our houses are within spitting distance of each other. Not knowing what to do, I along with some of my other neighbors donned our coats and went outside to what was going on. We gathered outside and speculated about what was happening.

My neighbors have a son. He’s maybe eight months old. Cute as button but with a set of lungs on him that are quite capable of waking the dead. As anybody that’s been around babies probably knows, that can get real old real fast but what are you gonna do?

It seems the kid, who has been quite sick with the flu lately, took his first significant tumble. Smacked his head pretty good and couldn’t stop vomiting. I guess either his mom got scared or decided to play it safe and called the authorities. They were there within minutes.

They wound up taking the kid to Children’s Hospital for observation. Maybe he was sicker than anybody thought or maybe the bump on the noggin was more severe that it appeared. I’ll leave that to the doctors. Truth be told, I hope it was nothing more than the reaction of a first time parent who got scared and didn’t know what else to do

As the trucks left and wishes for the best were exchanged, I found my plans for my quiet little evening had changed. The whole incident got me to thinking about certain events that have occurred in my life.

I’ve witnessed the death of both my parents. Mom from Alzheimer’s Disease and Dad from a combination of too much booze and too hard a life. I’ve seen suicide knock on my front door and come calling from long distance. I haven’t spoken to my sister in years and don’t even know how to get in touch with her. I’ve suffered through two divorces and two heart attacks and the inevitable bouts of depression that are likely to accompany those little life changing events. Let’s face it, unless I hit the lottery, I’m never gonna be rich. I’ve seen too many good friends come and go over the years due to laziness on my part. There’s one thing I’ve never seen or experienced though.

I’ve never seen my kid whisked away in an ambulance and I’ve never experienced the uncertainty that my neighbors are facing right now. My heart goes out to them.

Like I said, I’m a pretty lucky guy.

So, the high court in Massachusetts decided that same-sex couples can become legally married in that state. Well, good for them.

The Republicans are assuredly trying to find ways to circumvent this ruling, you can hear the rattle and clink as the conservatives pull on their armor and get ready to go to battle over this latest liberal victory. Here in the Bible-ridden south all I can hear these days is about how "we don't want no gays getting married here", and how the "entire world is going to hell".

None of the right-wing statements I have heard lately about same-sex marriage make a logical point about why gay couples shouldn't be able to legally marry. They point to the Bible and talk about family and God, but address absolutely none of the practical, logistical or legal aspects and consequences of this concept.

Here are some level headed statements that don't call on a diety that hates gay people:

1. Gay people being married will not hurt you. Gay couples exist now, gay couples recognized legally will still be gay couples, nothing will have changed there. If gay people offend your sensibilities, fine, but guess what, idiots really piss me off.

2. Legalized same-sex marriages are just that, legalized. Gay couples will be entitled to the health and financial benefits that spouses are entititled to. They would be recongized as "immediate family" to their partner. I don't see how this threatens the immediate well being of your run of the mill Republican. Actually, I don't see how this inconveniences them at all.

3. Same-sex marriages would not be any different than inter-sex marriages. This means, folks, that the downsides apply just as much as the upsides. A gay couple wants a divorce? That means divorce court and division of mutual assets, just as it would to any straight couple. No one gets a free lunch, the same rules apply to everyone.

This seems very cut and dry to me, and I am a fairly conservative Democrat. The crux of the argument I see right now is, "We don't like gay people, and therefore they shouldn't be allowed to get married because we don't like them." There are some words that describe this argument, and I'm pretty sure that discrimination is among them.

I'm not gay.

kthejoker points out that the concept of marriage in this country is greatly rooted in religious origins. This cannot be argued. Our government has caused the institution to be given certain privileges such as tax breaks and benefits that are not afforded to those that are not married. kthejoker pointed out that this has socialist overtones and I agree. The boundary is crossed however when a state-sponsored legal entity (the "marriage") is created that affords certain persons these priveleges, and discriminates against those that do not fit a religious definition of what this marriage means. The solution: either eliminate the state sponsorship, or afford everyone, regardless of their beliefs, the ability to engage in this institution under the same rules.

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