The Issue with Same-sex Marriage

*Disclaimer: I believe that marriage is a right that belongs to every consenting adult.  I support state, federal, and international recognition of same-sex and different-sex marriages as well as the marriages of those that do not fit into binominal gender categories.

However I have had many conversations with people who are against the government’s recognition of same-sex marriages.  It is important to understand where they are coming from.  In parts of this entry I present common arguments against same-sex marriage in a -hopefully- unbiased manner.  I don’t want to offend anyone but I do wish to respectfully summarize the opposing view before pointing out their flaws.

The Issue:

In the last election, four states voted on the issue of whether to legally recognize marriages between two members of the same sex.  This discussion has been a public issue in the United States since the peak of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) rights movement in the 1980s and continues to hold national interest as states pass and reject laws regarding same-sex marriage.  Because marriage is the basis of the family structure its definition holds many legal as well as social implications.  Adoption procedures, child custody cases, and taxes are only some of the instances in which the legal recognition of marriage is a deciding factor.  The question is one of opposing moralities – the immorality of threatening the family institution against the immorality of denying gay men and women the right to marry.

Arguments Against: The ma and pop definition of marriage

Arguments For: Equal rights for all families

Recognition of the rights of LGBT americans and people around the world is slowly increasing.   However people are still being attacked, jailed, and humiliated because of something as intrinsic as  love and attraction.

How to Help:

Voting is power! Register to vote and make it to the polls every election.
Contact your local and state congressmen.
Educate yourself.
Learn about the discrimination and criminalization of homosexuality in the US and internationally.

And most importantly… Talk to people! You can be an advocate for marriage equality.  It is the personal conversations we have that creates change in the world.  Don’t shy away from the discussion of same-sex marriage.

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Christmas Trees of DC

Washington DC is beautiful during the winter. There are wonderful decorations, diverse celebrations, and snow covered marble everywhere you look. New York can get dreary in the winter with grey snow and too many tourists but DC gains a magical quality.

Here is my celebration of our nation’s capitol with my favorite holiday trees of the city.

My favorite DC Christmas Tree is the Norway Friendship Tree

My favorite DC Christmas Tree is the Norway Friendship Tree.
A gigantic Tree is given to the United States every year from our northern pals in Norway as a thank you for our help in WWII and after. The tree comes decked out in Norwegian and American flags and is set up in Union Station.

The Norway Christmas Tree came complete this year with The Scream ornaments

The Norway Christmas Tree came complete this year with The Scream ornaments

Next up is the classic Capitol Christmas Tree.
Also known as The People’s Tree, it is decorated with handmade ornaments from the residents of a particular state. Mostly children take part in creating the 5,000 individual ornaments which adorn the tree but here and there you can see the touches of local artists and adults. In these pictures you can see the purple and pink ribbons covered with loved one’s names.

The National and State Christmas trees are celebrated with the National Christmas Tree Lighting.
I arrived a day too early but just in time to be blocked by the event set-up from enjoying the trees.  Each tree is uniquely decorated with  state specific ornaments. This year, the New York tree was decorated with our state bird, the Eastern Bluebird. I got to hear the bands preparing for the Tree Lighting Concert but was confused when they started up with Crazy Train – Ozzy wasn’t invited!

Obligatory photo of The White House. These kids were part of a school group admiring the president’s decorations from afar.

Kids gawking at the White House Christmas decorations

Kids gawking at the White House.

And finally, not a Christmas Tree but a very pretty and very old one that I’m going to call the Love Tree.

I love this tree. Right outside the Capitol Building

I love this tree. Right outside the Capitol Building.

It was one of those occasions when juvenile graffiti comes off as romantic.  And the thick trunk covered in carvings of infatuation and forever commitments was in various stages of healing.  I’m sure most of these relationships did not last as long as their public declarations did.  But maybe there’s still a couple out there who hacked their initials into the tree decades ago.

I dubbed it the Love Tree

I dubbed it the Love Tree.

Thus ends this short collection of Washington DC Christmas (and not too Christmas) Trees.  If you ever get a chance go and visit the capital when they’re calling for snow.

Quote

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Nelson Mandela
– Long Walk to Freedom (1995)

“For Love Comes More Naturally…

Image

Sweet Kisses

Gay Pride Parade NYC

Kisses

Kisses