Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Raging the Machine Forward and More

Marriage Equality Discussed on Minority Matters

On yesterday I was asked to participate in a round table discussion on AETN's Minority Matters talk show hosted by Sylvester Smith. The topic was concerning the marriage equality question with Rev. Wendell Griffin of New Millennium Church and myself representing the favorable position with
Family Council President and lobbyist, Jerry Cox and Rev. Aaron Agnew of the Word of Outreach Christan Center who are opposed to the measure. Now let me be clear, I'm not exactly sure if I was the best choice to discuss the matter but nevertheless I got the opportunity to at least try to share my concept of the issue. The week prior to the appearance I was a bit torn as to what will I say and what will they say that I may need to have a response to. Although I had done media appearance previously, I wasn't spooked about that aspect but rather being prepared to discuss marriage equality as a single issues as opposed to my view that as a people we are not "single silo" dedicated bur rather a wide berth of issues ranging from economic parity to food justice.

Yet marriage equality has become the "hot button" topic that is being discussed all over the place. As usual and as I had suspected, Mr. Cox and Agnew took positions rooted in their evangelical background. Especially the "slippery slope" tactic that marriage equality will cause marriage to suddenly go into decline. Then Agnew rolled out the tale of "Sodom and Gomorrah" which is a favorite diatribe of those whom oppose anything LGBTQ. Rev. Griffin cited that religion has been used as a means to deride everything from Galileo to marginalizing communities.

My distinct points were that if we are a nation that chides other nations on their human rights abuses and the lack of civil rights being extended then how can we as a country continue to deny a segment of its citizens the fundamental right to choose who they love and how that love is to be celebrated. Cox retorted that we are tyring to "redefined marriage," of which I don't agree. Marriage for many years has been redefined by heterosexuals in many ways including those who are not formally "married" with no papers or ceremony. Ultimately everyone will be awaiting the decision of the Supreme Court in its ruling concerning DOMA ( Defense of Marriage Act) and California's Prop 8 which was recognized the one man/ one women recognition.

Furthermore, there are long distance marriages, loveless marriages, and those who have had multiple marriages. Of course there was no way to sum this complex issue up in about 27 minutes. However, I felt good to at least have had the chance to chime in on the discussion while keeping a positive image in the public eye.  To help further the discussion and your awareness of the issue I'm posting some key points for your consideration. If you got observations, comments or viewpoints to share, let's hear them!!


Civil marriage will give same-sex couples the same economic security, protections and peace of mind that is enjoyed by heterosexual married couples.
There are 400 state benefits and 1,100+ federal benefits granted to married couples. Here are just a few:
  • Access to employer-provided health and retirement benefits for partner and nonbiological/adoptive children.
  • Access to partner's coverage under Medicare and Social Security.
  • Ability to visit or make medical decisions for an ill or incapacitated partner.
  • Right to sue for wrongful death of partner.
  • Ability to sponsor one's partner for immigration.
  • Marital children gain family stability and economic security because of their parents' legal marriage that is inaccessible to nonmarital children, including the enhanced approval of marital children in society and streamlined adoption processes.
  • Access to health benefits and inheritance from both parents.
  • Right to maintain a relationship with the non-biological/adoptive parent in the event of the death of one parent (in states without same-sex second-parent adoptions).
  • Joint insurance policies for home, auto and health.
  • Joint parenting and Joint adoption.
  • Bereavement or sick leave to care for a partner or child.

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