A blog on progressive news and politics on both the California and Nevada sides of Lake Tahoe which aims at helping to elect Democrats and Turn Tahoe Blue. The blog is written from Germany by a former German exchange student at George Whittell High School in Zephyr Cove, Nevada.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Equal Rights for All

"Equal Rights for All" is a line that needs to be said more often. Especially, now that the Republicans are once again pandering towards their base in advocating limiting rights by amending the constitution. So, while Bush et al are busy touting their hypocritical amendment (Mary Cheney, anyone?) I figured it would be worth taking a closer look at what candidates in the Tahoe area have to say about this issue. Today I'll start with the US Senate candidate Jack Carter from Nevada. Here's an excerpt from his statements on personal freedoms:

As a Christian I believe that Jesus loves us all, and that we are not here to judge others. As an American I believe our government must respect individuals regardless of our differences. I believe that gay couples who enter into a loving and lasting relationship should be entitled to all the rights normally associated with civil unions, i.e., the right to visit their loved one in hospitals or to add them to their health insurance.

I do not advocate gay "marriage." Marriage is a sacred vow sanctioned by the church and long recognized by governments around the world. It's endowment should not be subject to government/secular control.

In my opinion Jack Carter is right in saying this. Let me elaborate. I live in Germany and we've got a little different situation here. If you want your marriage to be recognized by the state you need to go to your local town hall and get married there. The ceremony taking place there is the only one that matters to the government. It doesn't care whether or not you get married in church. Of course, after the town hall ceremony you can still choose to get married before God. With this clear separation missing in the United States gay marriage is a bigger issue in the United States than it was and is in Germany. Here we have a form of a civil union which is called the "Registered Life Partnership" which was enacted in 2001. It doesn't grant all rights that heterosexual married couples have yet but it gives gay couples some security.

Now, to why I basically agree with Jack Carter. In my opinion for there to be something called "gay marriage" you would need to have the same separation between church and state on this issue that Germany has. With that not being the case in the US it will do to call it a civil union instead and grant gay couples equal rights under the law. If there are churches that would do wedding ceremonies than I'm all for that. And if churches don't want to do so, than that's their right under what is called "religious freedom" (however I do not believe religious freedom covers gay bashing or advocating hatred towards any other group).

And that's pretty much what Jack Carter advocates: give equal rights to gay couples and protect religious freedom. Can't argue with that. And if anyone might wonder, yeah, I'm gay myself and looking forward to the day when I'll get married or partnered or whatever you wanna call it. In the end, the only thing that counts is that you are able to commit to your partner legally and that the relationship you have is validated by society.


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