Copyright © 2006 Henrietta W. Hay
We Are All Sneetches
October 6, 2006
This is probably the most diverse country in the world, but it hasn't been easy to live with. The English Pilgrims came over on the Mayflower and thought they finally had a place to themselves. Then they discovered that the Indians got here first. But they lived in peace for a while until more Europeans arrived and decided the Indians were a different color from us and had too much land.
During the years large ethnic groups came to America, Irish, Germans, Japanese and others. They were isolated for a while and then gradually absorbed.
But when we went to Africa and started buying slaves with black skin, they were definitely "different" and unacceptable for anything except labor. Gradually, however, the slaves and their children gained power, and we came to accept the black people, at least so far as giving them the vote in 1870. The Civil Rights movement has been long and painful for them.
Women were finally accepted into partial equality when they were finally given the right to vote in 1920. But the Civil Rights movement goes on. It is far f from over.
We have an election coming up next month. There are important decisions to be made concerning candidates for office. But this year, in addition, there are fourteen issues to be decided, seven proposed Amendments to the Constitution and seven refernda.
One of these, Referendum i, involves Civil Rights for another group.
The title is "The Colorado Domestic Partnership and Responsibilities Act." It allows same-sex couples to get a domestic partnership license from a county clerk. This license allows certain legal benefits which have been previously denied.
It would allow hospital visitation and medical decision making, as well as making funeral arrangements for deceased partners. It would allow
health insurance coverage as a dependent on a partner's policy. It would allow protections under the Colorado Probate Code, including inheritance rights, and it would make legally enforceable child support obligations. It would allow Worker's Compensation benefits for the living partner of a worker killed on the job.
Referendum i is not about marriage. It affords a reasonable legal protection for thousands of Colorado same-sex couples who have been denied basic Civil Rights. It makes no changes in the current law defining traditional marriage. The same-sex license is strictly limited, it does not undermine in any way the heterosexual marriage license.
I know, of course, of the vigorous arguments against this, both political and religious. But I believe it is a matter of simple justice. I would hope that this could be the last of the institutionalized discrimination in our country.
We have gotten so divided in this country and so intolerant of other people's views that I consulted my favorite philosophe Dr. Seuss. This is part of his answer:
"Now the Star-bellied Sneetches had bellies with stars.
The Plain-bellied Sneetches had none upon thars.
But because they had stars, all the Star-bellied Sneetches
would brag, "We're the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches."
We'll have nothing to do with the plain-bellied sort."
It was quite wrong, I'm quite happy to say,
That day, they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches,
and no kind of Sneetch is the BEST on the beaches.
That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars"
Referendum i is not about marriage, and it does not in any threaten traditional marriage. It is about legal protection for thousands of committed same-sex couples and their children. It deserves to pass.