Phobia on the ballot | VailDaily.com
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Phobia on the ballot

Matt Zalaznick

Why are so many Americans so angry about which adults their neighbors are sleeping with? Are they disappointed with their own sex lives? Are they starving for romance or intimacy? Do they just need a a dozen roses, a love ballad and a hug? And why are so many Americans infuriated if their neighbors define “marriage” as between a man and a waffle iron or a woman and a potted fern – or between a waffle iron and a potted fern? Is it because their own definition of marriage – even if it’s between a man and a woman – is a tad slippery? Is it because the word marriage defies meaning? Is it because they can’t find meaning in their own marriage?Yet it’s these poor repressed seekers of meaning and romance who want to squash the rights of their fellow perfectly happy and sexually satisfied Americans. Here in the Colorado, these uptight zealots are using religion and “values” as a cover for enshrining Jim Crow-style discrimination in the state Constitution. Hey, just what kind of “family value” is bigotry? Not one I want in my house. State law now provides ways for same-sex couples to acquire many of the same rights husbands and wives have. They can will their property to their partners or get power of attorney for a terminally ill lover, but, as a a lawyer I know puts it, it just takes them an “extra step.”Well, one time in this country blacks had to take an extra step to the back of the bus or an extra step to the “colored” water fountain. American Indians had to take an “extra step” off their ancestral land and onto the reservations. American women had to take an “extra step” past the voting booths from which they were widely banned until 1920. I honestly don’t understand why homosexuality outrages some Americans. I don’t understand why they find it distasteful or unnatural. I don’t understand why some people in the land of the free can’t stomach the idea of a homosexual running a Boy Scout troop or serving in the military or adopting a child. It all makes as much sense as finding golf unnatural or saying Americans who like pickles can’t join the Marines, making it illegal for pilots to adopt or deciding that two people who wear eyeglasses shouldn’t marry each other. Just like being gay, nobody decides to be nearsighted and I would bet many people who like golf and pickles are predisposed to their affinities. There are two same-sex-couple-related measures on the state ballot this year. Amendment 43 defines marriage as “only a union between one man and one woman.” Referendum I creates domestic partnerships that give same-sex couple equal rights. The state’s good karma depends on the resounding defeat of Amendment 43 and the approval of Referendum I. If the state passes the bigotry amendment, it’s something Coloradans will be ashamed of in decades to come. In a more progressive future era, Colorado will be on the list those backwards electorates who once befouled the highest laws of the High Country with a definition that made marriage an institution of cowardly discrimination. What have gay Americans ever done to offend or disenfranchise their straight countrymen and women? I can’t remember any fundamentalist homosexual groups putting a measure on a ballot in any state that sought to prevent heterosexuals from, say, owning pets, becoming public school teachers, playing enormous wind instruments or collecting Civil War memorabilia. Gay Americans simply don’t seem as uptight about how their straight neighbors are living their lives or being intimate with one another. Except, of course, when their straight neighbors try to keep gay Americans and their lovers second-class citizens. City Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 748-2926, or mzalaznick@vaildaily.com. His blog’s at http://www.vaildaily.com/section/BLOGVail, Colorado


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