Photo: At our wedding, July 19, 2010
We just experienced a disturbing weekend here in France. I didn’t see anything negative firsthand but, despite being insulated in my bubble with Michel, I was well aware that forces were mobilizing against us. Both Saturday and Sunday, opponents of marriage equality — ginned up primarily by the Vatican and its conservative allies in France — took to the streets of Paris and several other cities to demonstrate against proposed laws that would grant marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples. If enacted, these laws will finally bring France in line with other Western European democracies like Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, and Portugal. If defeated, same-sex couples in France will remain second-class citizens in their own country.
To be honest, it’s been difficult to follow the news since Saturday; I even get anxious when Michel brings the subject up or when I see something about it in my Facebook newsfeed. The polemic emanating from these so-called “defenders of the traditional family” is simply too much to handle; their words are hateful, repugnant lies about people like me, and their tactics have even become violent in the face of counter-demonstration. In spite of this, I remain confident that France’s legislators will hold firm and recognize that the fundamental rights of this country’s gay and lesbian citizens are more important than catering to the irrational hysteria of the minority over an issue that doesn’t even concern them. I have been gripped by my own anger over this situation, but I search for equanimity. And, so, my response to this ugliness will not be more ugliness …
Not long ago, I came across a video from a marriage equality campaign in Australia. There are no words — just images and music — so the message is truly universal. It has become my response to this weekend’s angry voices and clenched fists. Please take a moment to watch it, and then share it with everyone you know.
The marriage equality debate is not about politics or religion — it’s about love and respect. It’s about the real lives of real people, who simply want the integrity and security that other families already enjoy. It’s about our friends, our neighbors, our sons and daughters, our sisters and brothers. It’s about all of us.
Unlike the contorted logic and ugly rhetoric of the argument against marriage equality, the argument for it is simple and beautiful.
Marriage for all. It’s time.
P.S. — Read what happened next!
© 2012 Samuel Michael Bell, all rights reserved