Gay Marriage and Barbara Jordan

As part of a school assignment related to Black History month, I assisted my niece with her paper on Barbara Jordan.  Of course, in my family who is the go to guy for black history but me? Probably the people that I love who experienced the vile betrayal of Americanism that was segregation may be better, but from a broad perspective I ain’t too bad.

Personally, I dislike Black History month as it segregate a crucial aspect of American history into a single month instead of the integrated daily celebration that it merits, as I practice it.

Politically, there are many differences between Barbara Jordan and myself; however, in the context of the subject of this post, the similarities are much more important.

Let’s level set. My niece did not know Barbara Jordan, and maybe you do not either, so let me quickly review her highlights:

  • She was elected to the Texas Senate after the Civil Rights Act of 1965, where she later served as president pro tem of the Texas Senate.
  • She was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972.
  • During the Watergate hearings, she served on the Judiciary Committee investigating President Nixon.
  • She chaired the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform beginning in 1994.

However, there is another more personal aspect of Jordan that I would like to focus upon.  She was in a 30 year long lesbian relationship, and was prohibited by law from getting married.

Consider that, Jordan was at the forefront of black political empowerment following the civil rights movement, but she could not marry the woman that she loved.

While I think that the argument that civil rights for gays is akin to that for blacks based upon the concept of immutable characteristics is invalid, I ask from the standpoint of choice and volition, “If a person is willing to make a life long commitment to a person with the same fun parts, why in the hell should the government stop them?”  For the record, that puts me on the same side of this issue as President Obama, and I have to say that it is about time that he got something, anything right…seriously, he is worse then a broken clock.

Last year, my daughter got married.  Given her age, there was a lot of discussion between us about why it was so urgent for her to marry her totally awesome man.  Our discussion focused on fundamentals about what marriage is and how marriage relates to civil rights.

One take away from that discussion is that the divergence or similarity of the sexes involved in the union is irrelevant.  Seriously, without reference to a God who is both irrelevant in reality and in American government, what is the basis for legally prohibiting gays from marrying?  This issue is not whether we as a society should sanction the choice of two individuals of the same sex, but whether we should not only deny their choice but to also deny them the legal protections of that choice?

Barbara Jordan was an advocate for civil rights as a protection of individuals.  Yet, she was denied the opportunity to marry her long term partner because they shared the same fun parts.  Consider the totality of her life and their relationship, upon what basis should the government deny the legal protections of marriage to her and her partner?

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