Today, Monday August 3rd 2009, is a big day for several of my friends. They will stand in line at the Dane County Clerk’s office and apply for a Declaration of Domestic Partnership. The new document, a vital record created under a new state law, will go into the same category of vital records as birth and death certificates.
It’s not a “gay marriage”, as some of the hate-mongers would have you believe. It’s a document that, among other things, has been made necessary by the authoritarian actions of narrow-minded people who have denied hospital visitation rights or medical leave rights to same-sex couples.
The haters, like Julaine Appling and her so-called “Wisconsin Family Action” outfit, have taken the new law to court, calling the Domestic Partner Registry an “assault on the people”. Appling told Isthmus “we’ve been extremely tolerant in allowing them to live wherever they choose”. The “them”, of course, is gay people. Them.
There’s us, and there’s “them”, I guess, to the haters like Appling.
I still haven’t been able to figure out how guaranteeing basic human rights to gay people harms or diminishes the rights of “straight” people in any way. But during the public discussion surrounding the amendment to the Wisconsin Constitution banning gay marriage, the argument was advanced that if you allow gays to marry, pretty soon we’ll be legalizing marriage between humans and animals.
Sort of like when the nation so graciously extended the right to vote to women, a century ago with the 19th Amendment, groups quickly arose to extend the right to vote to gerbils and hyenas - NOT.
Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t tell people how to live their lives, and I don’t care for them telling me how I should live mine. To me, outfits like “Wisconsin Family Action” get their jollies by telling other folks how they should behave. Appling and her cohorts refer to gay people as “a fringe activist group”.
A month or so ago I was having lunch at a downtown bistro with a friend, and the topic of the Domestic Partner Registry came up. I said “there’s a lot of hate and fear out there, but I think it’s mainly a generational thing, and a lot of the haters are dying”. She said “it’s a matter of time, as well, with people who have friends and colleagues who are gay realizing they don’t really have the same rights”.
To her, and her friends and mine who are standing on line today, it may be one small step at a time, but it’s a major stride toward equality.