Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Garrett vs. Equal Rights

I wrote yesterday about my belief at this point that marriage equality was due. Herb Jackson posted a nice piece explaining that once again the rest of the nation is looking to New Jersey to lead. In the piece, he highlights Representative Scott Garrett and his standing opposition:
A bill pending in the House since May that would prevent the district (Washington, DC) from enacting a same-sex marriage law has 60 sponsors, including New Jersey Reps. Scott Garrett, R-Wantage, and Christopher Smith, R-Robbinsville.
Garrett has not changed his tune much. Back in 2004 he took to the House Floor to deliver a speech slamming marriage equality:
If we redefine marriage, it will harm everyone, especially the children. It will legally repudiate the idea that marriage has anything to do with a family, and will legally embrace the idea that marriage is just an arrangement for the convenience of the grownups.

Now, I am here today to support what is best for the kids. The ideal situation for a child is to grow up with a mom and a dad in a loving, committed marriage . Mothers are better able to provide certain lessons than fathers can, and fathers in turn can provide role models in ways that moms simply cannot.

I think it is time that we rip away all the rhetoric that we have heard and know that this debate comes down to this: it is a choice of being what is in the best interests of our children over the choice of what is in the best interests of a select few adults. The choice is clear. I urge all Members to support our children by supporting the Marriage Protection Amendment.
How exactly does equality harm me? How exactly does equality harm Garrett, for that matter? Not one single opponent of equality has ever been able to explain that to me.

This is one of many sad examples of a publicly elected official assailing the dignity of individuals. The speech may be five years old, but there are countless examples that are similar.

History has never looked kindly on those who supported maintaining inequality, and this will be another example when the time comes. The Garretts of the world on this issue are probably okay with that. To some extent, you have to expect it, as unfortunate and misguided as it is.

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