Posted by: Genny Colby | January 26, 2013

A Step in the Right Direction!

This week, Civil Unions took a huge step forward in Colorado by getting the OK from the Senate Committee.  Granted the vote was 3-2, with Republicans voting against the measure, but hey, it is moving forward!  It is not the same as approving same-sex marriage which would be ideal, but at least it is a step forward.  Democratic leaders have tried to pass civil unions for the past two years, unsuccessfully, but Democrats now control both houses and with a Democratic Governor, it is much more likely that this legislation will pass. This bill would provide many protections for same-sex couples including financial, medical, and legal benefits afforded to other married couples.

As with any debate, there are two sides.  Arguments about religious freedom seem to be most prevalent.    But really, to me, this is not a religious debate.  But one about basic rights.  While it is not a constitutional right, it is a basic tenet to American society, appearing our Declaration of Independence.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.

Now, yes it says “men” but we have come a long way since this was written and now it is a fair assumption that men and women, regardless of race, are covered by the general term of “man”.  The idea of “pursuit of Happiness” does not have any contingencies, no footnotes, no side comments that we are going to tell you what does or does not constitute “pursuit of Happiness” or that it can only be achieved in a certain way, or by certain people.

Who are we to say what, or who makes someone else happy.  I personally find that Diet Coke with lime makes me happy, but I have friends who prefer Diet Pepsi.  Does that mean one is wrong and one is right? I love chocolate and peanut butter together, this combo makes me happy.  But for those who have a peanut allergy, it is probably not a happy combo.  Does that mean I can’t have it? I found a great partner in my husband (and I hope he feels he found one in me) and he makes me happy.  But it may not make everyone else happy, because of different likes/dislikes, goals, dreams, etc.

As long as what makes someone happy does not infringe on the rights of someone else, or force someone to do something against their will, or is illegal, why does it matter?  If my friends want to get married or commit in a civil union, theirs has nothing to do with mine.  Yet their happiness at being able to commit to one another and share in the same rights and legal protections that I have with my husband, may actually bring MORE joy  and happiness to my life.

So, it is not the same as repealing the State Constitutional Amendment of 2006 that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman…but it is step in the right direction.  We may have to take baby steps, but baby steps forward are better than no steps, or steps further backward.

I know that the fight is still long, and at times hard, but I truly believe that we will one day get to the point where we celebrate the love and commitment between two people without even looking at the gender of those involved in the union.  Until them, we will celebrate the victories we do get and keep fighting for the next one.

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