Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fifty Years in the Making

The philosopher Hannah Arendt once said that "The right to marry whoever one wishes is an elementary human right . . . nearly all other rights enumerated in the Constitution, are secondary to the inalienable human rights to 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence; and to this category the right to home and marriage unquestionably belongs."

That was in 1959, and Arendt likely didn't think it would take nearly 50 years for her theory to begin to catch on. But yesterday, in California, thousands of happy couples showed that, half a century later, her idea is still fundamental, like the right she so passionately believed in. And it's about time.

All of us at PFLAG join our families, friends and allies in California in celebrating, and congratulating, the loving couples who have warmed our hearts over the past 24 hours. History will never forget the unforgettable image of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon as they took their vows in San Francisco, even as Mayor Gavin Newsom jokingly reminded the couple, who have been together for more than 5 decades, that marriage "is not to be entered into lightly, but thoughtfully and seriously."

Throughout the day, loving, committed couples from Crescent City to San Diego - and every community in-between - showed Americans from coast to coast that marriage is only strengthened when marriage equality is available to us all.

And, as we pointed out in this morning's USA Today , images matter. Stories matter. And over the coming month, as PFLAG works with our allies on the ground to battle a divisive ballot initiative that seeks to turn back the progress we have made, the stories and images of PFLAG families will be a powerful tool in defeating those who seek to tear our families apart. It's why we're so committed to working with our chapters, and each of you, to get those stories told and make our voices heard.

The coming months will be critical to making marriage equality a permanent part of California's history, and a viable reality for us all. I hope you'll be part of PFLAG's efforts in the state by volunteering your time on the ground, or making a gift in support of families in California and across the country.

We have come so far since Hannah Arendt had the radically simple idea that marriage equality is a right that should be available to us all. We cannot allow a half-century of work, and the love of couples who have been together even longer than that, to be torn apart now.

1 comment:

brittoo said...

The right to marry whoever one wishes is an elementary human right.
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