The Mango Stand

Monday, April 25, 2005

Gay Rights in Mason (or a lack thereof)

Thanks to CincinnatiBlog for starting the ball rolling. Here's my $0.02 on this.

First off, some disclaimers:

1) I am a member of the Mason Community Center, and I excercise there all the time.
2) I have an aunt who is "married" to her girlfriend, and I think it's great.

However, I think the Mason Community center did absolutely the right thing, and here's why:

1) They aren't really being discriminated against. They are allowed to join, just as individuals, not as a married couple, as long as it applies uniformly (so that unmarried hetero couples can't get family memberships either, and all hetero couples wanting a family membership have to prove it).

2) Granting them a family membership would be a violation of the Ohio Constitution. If the City of Mason decided to recognize the Stotts as a family for purposes of membership in the community center, Mason would be "recognizing a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals" under this amendment. Moreover, the Mason officials repeatedly state that they are merely following the definition of marriage under Federal law--stating at one point, "If they can claim a family dependent (on their taxes), they can get a family membership with us."

What Mason is doing is following the law. I don't agree with the law, but the referendum passed, and that's all there is to it. Mason cannot, on its own, recognize a status that neither Federal or State law does.

What Cincinnati Blog is arguing here, is extremely disingenuous. The Ohio Constitution applies to Cincinnati as well, so turning this into a city/suburban issue is just silly. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but the last time I checked, the City of Cincinnati is hardly a shining beacon of tolerance for homosexuals.

My point: I disagree with Mason's policy, I disagree with the result, but I really can't fault them for it.


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