Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Victory!

I'm thrilled about Obama's win last night! Not being a citizen I didn't get to vote, but I'm very proud that my sister, who lives in Sweden but who has dual citizenship, did vote for him – in one of the swing states no less.

Empire State turned blue when it was clear Obama had won. I saw it on the TV and outside the window (yes the actual building outside that window, not a reflection from the TV :)) 


As a gay man, I'm especially thrilled about Obama's victory because he lend his support for marriage equality earlier this year and many said this would cost him the re-election. 




Yesterday's election finally showed that being pro-equality in the US is no longer that risky. For the first time citizens of several states voted FOR marriage equality when they got the chance -- both in Maryland, Maine and Washington, while citizens in Minnesota rejected an amendment limiting marriage rights to opposite-sex couples.


On my way home last night on Broadway. 

It is amazing how far we have come in the last few years! I used to say that if the US gay rights movement had just focused on equal rights for gay couples and not insisted that it be called "marriage" we would have had that now -- just by a different name. And then, in a few years, when everyone gotten used to this -- we can work to up the status to call in marriage.

This is exactly what happened in Sweden when "Registered Partnership" was granted 1995, which gave gay couples the same range of protections, responsibilities, and benefits as marriage. Since they still referred to it as marriage and to their partner as husband or wife, everybody got used to gay people being married -- and there were no protests at all when the gender-neural marriage law passed in 2009.

It's just crazy to me that there is still no way for an American to sponsor a foreign-born same-sex partner for a greencard. Thousands of lesbian and gay binational couples are kept apart, torn apart or forced to live in fear of being separated. Being a foreigner in the US, I have myself lived with those fears (and even made a movie in which a gay man from France marries his lesbian girlfriend to be able to stay in New York with his American boyfriend: Between Love & Goodbye).

 

Kyle (Simon Miller) and Marcel (Justin Tensen) not getting married on Marcel's wedding day in "Between Love & Goodbye"
Many other gay people in the US got angry with me though when I suggested that it was more important to worry about the rights than the wording. That equal but different is not equal at all. I still believe that we would have gotten the rights sooner if that had been the focus -- as many people recognize the unfairness of the current laws but, for religious reasons or whatever, can't imagine changing the definition of marriage.




I must say though that I very much admire the fight, of so many, to change people's minds about the definition of the word marriage. Thanks to them, over 50% of the American population now approve of marriage equality.  And the results in this election prove to me that we will get full marriage rights in every sense of the word. It might still take a few more years, but we will get there!






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