Man Woman Symbol*From time to time we’ll enter a User Name on the computer and receive the prompt, ‘Sorry, that user name is taken, please select another.’

So we continue until we come up with a unique name that the computer accepts. Now suppose the computer was not programmed to differentiate, and multiple users were allowed to use the same access names. That would create confusion and chaos.

Someone said in effect ‘America is great because of its multiplicity and the opportunity for equality.’ It’s amazing how just a few short years ago the so-called polls revealed that the majority of Americans were against same-sex-marriage. Today those same polls show the majority in favor. It’s seems to be the latest fad just like the latest i-pad, or (for those who remember) when The Beatles first brought their music to our shores. Sadly, because not everyone is catching the wave, some people are being labeled bigots and homophobic. Is that the American way? It’s like a ‘coming out’ reversal – first the gays were hesitant to ‘come out,’ now opponents of the use of the term ‘marriage’ for gay unions are hesitant to ‘come out.’ What gives? Are we not allowed to have our own opinions anymore?

The LGBT community in America has fought long and hard from the Stonewall riots of the 1960’s, the Gay Pride parades that emboldened more and more to ‘come out of the closet,’ to many legislative victories. So why after all the struggle are they now trying to lose their identity as a recognized distinct group? They say they want civil rights just as Black Americans gained in the 1960’s, but the difference is Blacks did not, rather could not assimilate and become invisible as is what is sure to take place if gays call their union ‘marriage.’

Should the courts recognize same-sex unions as ‘marriage’ then eventually the gay or same-sex handles would be dropped or substituted for ‘I’m married’ or ‘I’m engaged.’ Where’s the Gay Pride in that? James Brown told Blacks, ‘Say It Loud: I’m Black And I’m Proud.’ So, LGBT’s what’s your unique handle for your union going to be? Sorry but ‘marriage’ is already taken. The forerunners of your movement fought for recognition that you are different – and you are – so why disguise yourselves and dishonor what they fought and stood for? Hypothetically, what would happen if down the road you created two classes of LGBT’s – those who are married (‘the marrieds’), and those who are not? Are the seeds of classism being sown?

Today, more people than ever before are accepting and respecting civil unions recognized by the courts just as it was for Black equality during the civil rights movement. The difference is that no amount of legislation will stop the bigotry of those who choose to see color. If there was a mixed audience of Blacks and Whites at a recital where audiences are usually calm, still and quiet during performances, no one would know who was gay, but everyone except the blind would know who was Black. Blacks have gained rights but maintain the struggle by rote – it’s in their psyche, and they can’t get away from it. No matter how hard they try – the best behavior, the best education, becoming President of the United States – they cannot assimilate to the degree that the collective LGBT movement is clamoring for. There is no comparison. Their struggle is not your struggle – that too is taken. When Blacks won their freedom, they did not ask to be reclassified as another race on the census. They were proud and maintained their African heritage, and they respect and honor the sacrifices of their forefathers and ancestors.

So, if the LGBT community wants to be recognized in their own right, and for their own unique struggle, they may want to reconsider the use of the term ‘marriage’ for their civil unions.

Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” (Steuben Pub)  E-mail: [email protected]    Visit the author at (213) 220-8101

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