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It's over for now, but it'll never be forgotten

by Jeremy Hooper

By a vote of 49-48, the Senate has done as expected and rejected a vote on the so-called Marriage Protection Amendment. But to the 49 who voted today in favor of cloture (i.e., essentially voted in favor of the measure), we only have one thing to say: SHAME ON YOU!

For the past three days, we've watched the debate play out on our C-SPAN-equipped TVs.

Shame on you President Bush.

Shame on you Jeff Sessions.

Shame on you Senator Brownback.

Shame on you Senator Wayne Allard.

Shame on you Orrin Hatch.

Shame on you Rick Santorum.

Shame on you Richard Shelby.

DeWine, Vitter, Lott, Frist -- shame on each and every politician supporting this divisive push shove

You, and all who are backing this discriminatory measure, deserve nothing less than dishonor on this. No matter how great your work in other areas or how good of a person you are (and we truly believe many of you to be very decent, kind people), on this particular matter, you all should be deeply ashamed. For your actions on this have robbed us and countless other homosexuals of sleep, sick with worry that you'll succeed in telling future generations that we, as gay Americans, are deserving of a status lesser than that of our heterosexual counterparts. We have had to pause our lives to debate what should be a non-issue. You have hurt us on a level beyond political discourse, cutting right into the soul of humanity. As you talk about "protecting children" by banning our marriages, we fret over how we'll ensure that the lil' loved ones in our lives are never exposed to the type of environment and thought that has led those of you who support this measure to your current places of thinking.

Shame on you.

You say this is not about divisive politics, bigotry, pandering to your base, or homophobic intent. Yet in countless ramblings in which you each invoked the phrases "protect marriage, "marriage is between one man and one woman," "marriage is under attack," "we have to protect the children" with the redundancy of a broken record, the well-being of those who this amendment would so directly affect went virtually unacknowledged. You guys are trying to BAN homosexuals from equal access to what should be a fundamental right. Deny it all you want, but it's clearly the case and it is UNDOUBTEDLY what history will remember.

Shame on you.

You use majority approval to justify your position, as if garnering over 50% in public opinion makes you RIGHT. Having the public on your side only makes you supported; standing strong against a wrong, no matter how unpopular it renders you, makes you decent. If you're going to put yourself out there and go after our right to marry, then at least have the fortitude to state the obvious: You are not and never will be comfortable with gay people getting hitched. Admit it -- this is what this about.

Shame on you.

Imagine you're a fifteen-year-old lesbian. Fearful of and confused about what you've only recently learned to be your truth, you hear words on the nightly news that tell you that if you live your reality, you're never going to know the same sort of normalcy that your older siblings enjoy. You lie awake at night wondering what you can do to change yourself, as these older, wiser men in Washington must be right. Your fear turns to anxiety and your happiness becomes depression.

Or imagine yourselves in the shoes of a gay man, part of a loving couple who desperately want the equality afforded to their hetero friends. You crave marriage. Your domestic partnership is all fine and dandy, but it is a constant reminder that your love, in the eyes of the law, is lesser than that of even the shammiest of straight unions. Your rights are not fully secure, and you have a genuine concern that if you should find yourself in a coma or rendered lifeless, it won't be the person with whom you share your life and heart who'll have control of your decisions. You file separate tax returns, despite your finances being one. You jump through hoops just to secure basic protections that other couples take for granted, and lawmakers are working to see that you always will.

Well you know what, fellas? Your humble scribe doesn't have to imagine that last one, as it is his truth. And you've all hurt me deeply. You've passive-aggressively shamed me and millions of others who are simply asking for fairness. You've wasted time on legislative waste, and you've filled the air with the kind of sentiment that truly endangers the gay community.

Shame on you.

We'll let history decide who's on the "good" team in this debate and who is in the "wrong." However, I'm confident that if I don't call you guys out on your bullsh*t and work towards a society that shuns the kind of bias that your rhetoric so staunchly encourages, then my 2015 self will look back and woefully exclaim: SHAME ON ME!

Senate rejects gay marriage ban [AP via Yahoo! News]
Vote breakdown [Senate.gov]

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