Thursday, February 12, 2009

Abraham Lincoln and the freedom to marry

As the country commemorates the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth, advocates of nuptials for same-sex couples have gathered in New York and around the country to protest the lack of marriage for gays and lesbians in the vast majority of states.

The New York City marriage bureau turned away hundreds of same-sex couples this morning who had wanted to apply for marriage licenses. This protest is one of dozens scheduled to take place around the country as part of the 12th annual Freedom to Marry Week. And it also coincides with Freedom to Marry executive director Evan Wolfson's op-ed in the Huffington Post that attempted to connect Lincoln's legacy to the movement to legalize marriage for same-sex couples.

An admittedly cynical argument can be made Freedom to Marry Week is little more than a self-serving campaign based around Valentine's Day, but the reality is almost certainly different. The post-Proposition 8 reality in which the movement for LGBT rights currently finds itself arguably demands heightened visibility around the denial of basic recognition and rights to same-sex couples. Gays and lesbians can legally marry in Connecticut and Massachusetts, but they cannot in 48 other states as today's protests point out... and perhaps Abraham Lincoln's commitment to equality provides a road map upon which this country can eventually recognize committed and loving same-sex couples.

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