Guest article: Jeff Klein
Same-sex marriage is still one of the most divisive of political issues in the US, yet here in the UK we appear far more accepting. Jeff Klein (ex-The Twilight Singers/Gutter Twins) reflects on what love means to him.
Have a read after the video for 'Preachers' by his band My Jerusalem.
Love. For a simple word that's only four letters long, it's a concept that almost singularly defines our existence. It's what drives us as individuals. It can bring us together in unity or rip us apart in alienation. Love of money, love of one's idea of "God", love of one's country. Hell, my love of Rock and Roll has, at times, been as much my reason to live, as it has been an albatross around my neck. But I can't help it. The heart wants what it wants. The same idea rings no truer than in the case of falling in love with another person.
For most kids growing up in generic America, we are sold the fairytale of love early on. Cartoons, books, and toys all depict the idea of finding "true love". From Sleeping Beauty to Ken and Barbie, we are spoon-fed and marketed that our life's goal is to win the love and affection of another. And we are taught to believe that there is no greater display of those two people's love and commitment than marriage. So that's what most of us do. Oh, and we are also taught that those two people are a man and a woman. If the two people in love are the same sex, then it isn't eligible for the same legal rights and recognitions.
But as I said, the heart wants what the heart wants. We have no control over many of our basic desires. And we are all born differently from each other, thankfully. That's what makes us individuals. And as individuals we all deserve the same freedoms. If gay men and women can serve in the military and are required to pay taxes, then where is the discrepancy? Same-sex couples also have proven to be a great parenting environment. The freedom to marry whomever you choose is a fundamental right that should not have to be won or defended by anyone. Most politicians are too afraid of losing the support of hypocritical religious extremist voters to stand up for same-sex marriage, even though it violates the church-state separation. Other opposition of gay marriage, to me, seems to be hate disguised and paraded around as a skewed version of Nationalism.
I want to be proud of the country I live in. I have many gay friends. I have been invited to 6 same-sex weddings in the last year alone. All six of these couples share a love and bond that is as genuine and valid as, if not more than, any heterosexual couple I know. All of them would create perfect, loving environments to raise wonderful children. And far better than a lot of the broken, heterosexual families that litter many suburbs.
In 1931, the definition of the American Dream by James Adams stated "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement." This ethos was regardless of any circumstances of birth. For most people being Gay is not a choice, it is how they are born. And even if it were, one would think that falls under our old motto "Land of the Free". The current nation's ban of same-sex marriage in America is not far different from our shameful days of segregation. Homophobia and religious fear mongering tactics are old, dead peoples' baggage and it's about time we stop carrying it around.
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