Tuesday, August 07, 2007
I recently read a short story suggested by a friend who is fond of early examples female literature. Later that week I read an article on the same sex marriage debate. It occurred to me later how the problems in both works are similar. Has America become less tolerant since 911? I heard a liberal journalist ask on public radio. I could not help but notice he used the word tolerant instead of equal. Tolerant or tolerance means to allow, while equal means to be of the same quality. The question should be why are we speaking of tolerance instead of equality? Why when every document attributed to the founding of our nation speaks of equality and justice, does the same nation struggle to accept these concepts?
In the Barbara Kantrowitz article “The New Face of Marriage” she explores the debate of same sex marriages. We read different view from different sides from various individuals with different agendas. Each interested group seems to have a base belief which justifies or negates same sex marriage. Issues are plentiful from those who oppose, they hold traditional and institutional ideologies will be destroyed. One camp opposes on the grounds of religious belief that is somehow ingrained into our countries very structure. Those who support same sex marriage do so based on just as many justifications with some pointing to states rights and constitutional grounds. While others point out that the oppositions traditional and institutional ideologies are already foundered.
While this is a prominent political issue it is just another segment of the overall issue of prejudice against homosexuals. This in itself is just another segment of overall prejudice in America, which has existed since the first European trespassed upon the continent of North America.
Kantrowitz speaks of those who would oppose two humans to marry because they are a minority.
In Kate Chopin's "Desiree's Baby" a fictional story we face the same issue prejudice against a minority. People motivated by their fears that another culture who they think inferior will by use of institution present themselves as equal. The parallels between the two literary works are obvious as we have in both the majority dictating to the minority. The strong denying the weak basic rights the strong take for granted.
In Chopin’s fictional story we face the same issue the nation debated in the not too distant past. She examines the social and personal fabric covering the marriage of different races.
While prejudice is still very much alive against this particular issue, common ethical legal pressure
prevailed. Just as architecture can not deny physics legal systems can not denies the basis of ethics they were built upon. While it would be look upon by some that our morals had finally prevailed the sad truth is it was basic legalities. The same sex marriage issue will most likely in the future be decided in the same way. Sadly however the prejudice pointed out in both of the author’s works will still remain strong.
"We struggled against apartheid because we were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about. It is the same with homosexuality. The orientation is a given, not a matter of choice. It would be crazy for someone to choose to be gay, given the homophobia that is present." Archbishop Desmond Tutu