Long Beach Greens

Separate is still unequal 
Green Party calls for Universal Marriage Rights
March, 2004

Marriage is a legal distinction, a government-regulated status that means two people have decided to stay with one another and commit their lives to one another in a personal relationship. Marriage is also a religious institution, and the lack of clear distinction between legal marriage and religious marriage is part of what is exacerbating the current crisis. We have to be honest about what is at stake.

In America, Church and State must be separate, so that no religious group is persecuted or favored. This is one of the most fundamental aspects of America's democracy. Separation of Church and State means that no government entity in America could ever tell a church - any church - how it will define religious marriage. It also means that no church can tell the government how to define the legal status of marriage. For example, no church gets to decide what the tax benefit for married couples is, or whether a former spouse is entitled to alimony, or any of the other benefits that government supplies only to those couples who are legally married.

This is why the two are separate and distinct from one another. A couple can get a marriage certificate without ever having a religious wedding ceremony. Likewise they can get married in a church and never obtain a marriage license, which makes them unmarried from the perspective of the State. There are hundreds of rights and benefits that legal marriage status provides to a couple. Where are these rights and benefits derived from? It is not the church that bestows these rights - our government bestows them. You remember, the government that is supposedly of, by and for the people, the one that is allegedly separated from the church.

It is this legal status of marriage that is in question right now, and it is this legal status that has been unconstitutionally withheld from gay couples for far too long. In this day and age, how can any government agency even consider openly discriminating against a minority group based on their sexual orientation? In this day and age, how can any politician openly support the Amendment of this country's Constitution in order to enshrine discrimination within its sacred text?

The Long Beach Greens formally challenge Long Beach and Los Angeles County's elected officials to support equal rights for all of its citizens by passing a resolution of support for Marriage Rights for All, and immediately removing restrictions on the issuance of Marriage licenses based on the sexual orientation of the couple wishing to be married.

Just as now it is unthinkable to legally prevent couples of different races to marry one another (as was the case in 16 states less than 40 years ago), some day it will be unthinkable to deny two people of the same sex that love each other the ability to commit their lives to one another, and receive the same rights and benefits afforded to any another legally married couple. We support the efforts of gay & lesbian rights activists to make that day today.

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