After last week, I decided to go update the places I’ve visited map. I still have quite a few to go, but hopefully having already been to 3 new ones this year (Budapest, Hungary; Copenhagen, Denmark; Malmo, Sweden) I’m off to a good start.
“Yes Equality” by Catherine Cronin
On Friday, May 22, Ireland will make remarkable step for a country in which homosexuality was illegal until just 22 years ago. They will hold a referendum for Same Sex Marriage Equality. A vote. Will LGBT adults be allowed to Marry, or will they be relegated to “civil partnership” and being second class citizens? Soon we shall find out. The poles are close, and every vote is going to count in this referendum. I live in Ireland now, and while I don’t have a vote, and I am straight, I look at the people around me as a woman, and I know in my heart I would vote “yes” to Gay Marriage if I could.
In my own country, the US, state by state, LGBT rights for marriage and civil partnership are slow to come – and being battled in the courts. In the US there is no vote, and just like in many other places in the world, in both countries the issue is very controversial. I think it’s important that we all have the chance to have a voice – and not force the courts to decide this for the country, something that I applaud Ireland for putting to a referendum, because it is about equality – something which civil partnerships (in Ireland) are not. Your voice in this case, is done by casting your vote. If you don’t vote, your voice isn’t being used.
There are 160 legal differences between civil marriage and a civil partnership. This makes those who are same sex couples less “equal” in the eyes of the law. Most importantly, Civil partnership prevents the “partner” as being recognized as “next of kin” in inheritance, hospital visitation . medical decisions, social supports like welfare / unemployment / disability, and for those who have children (adopted, or from previous relationships) it neglects the bonds between parents and children. Imagine something happens to your partner and being unable to inherit the house you both worked so hard to pay for, that you can’t visit your loved one in hospital, or that your children (where you’re the only living parent they have known) are taken away and put into the foster system because you’re not recognized as a parent (because you can’t be put on the birth or adoption certificate). Completely unfair – all because you are with someone of the same gender. I just can’t justify it in my mind.
I believe that love between adults and commitment knows no bounds. I believe that if you love someone and want to have all the rights that Marriage brings, you should be allowed to commit to that person legally, and have all the same rights that marriage brings. It doesn’t devalue my commitment to someone else, it doesn’t devalue my commitment to children, nor does it devalue my love for any of them. It strengthens it – because I know that there is a chance for happiness. And hey, with 50% of all ‘straight’ marriages ending in divorce – we sure can’t do any worse letting ‘same sex’ folks get married, right? If you’re committed to marriage, you are. If you’re not you’re not. That’s the long and the short of it.
I believe that in each generation, we get a chance to change the future – for the better – and reaffirm our belief in equality regardless of race, creed, color, gender, or sexuality. This is my generation’s chance to change history for the better.
Once upon a time, there was legalized slavery in the US (and many other countries). Once upon a time, women couldn’t vote or own property. Once upon a time, people of color were segregated and had to sit at the back of the bus, have different education, and couldn’t drink from the same drinking fountains. Once upon a time, it was illegal for people to marry cross color (eg. Whites couldn’t marry blacks). Once upon a time, it was illegal to marry across religions (Catholics could only marry Catholics, Protestants only marry Protestants). We have come so far that today – all of these are laughable and un-relatable points in history for most of us. As Millennials, look back at them and say “why” and “I don’t get it”? I want to add LGBT being prevented from Marrying to this list. In fact, I would be proud to add this to the thick dusty annals of history.
I want to be on the right side of history. I don’t want to have a child ever ask me why they aren’t “equal” if they love someone of the same gender, or ask me why we didn’t pass equality when we had the chance. I don’t want to tell them that they’re not “equal” or that “something” was ‘wrong’ with them because of who they are attracted to or fall in love with. When the time comes, I don’t want to be seen like those racists protesting at the University of Alabama in the 1960’s when the first black students crossed the threshold trying to get an education. I don’t want to be seen like the Nazis who committed atrocities toward the Jews in the 1940s. I don’t want to be seen as someone who didn’t stand up and “do something” or “say something” when I had the chance. No, as an American, I can’t vote. But I do have a voice. And I do have a Blog, and I do have the ability to show my support.
So, there it is. My voice in an adopted country which I have come to love very much. I strongly encourage everyone to vote. I would YES for marriage equality, and hope you will too.
As I get ready to travel and am packing up, I am reminded of when I first started sewing back in 2012. You see, I was looking for simple homemade gifts that I could easily put together. After checking pintrest, I came up with making a toothpaste roll and modified a pattern to look a bit snazzier than what I found.
Tutorial here. Once made, they are great to travel with!
Basically, what you do is you take a wash cloth or a hand towel and cut so that the top and bottom are able to fold over the height of a tooth brush. Then, you pin a piece of fabric to it and sew around the edges.
Once turned inside out, you fold up the end and add an elastic band and space stitches vertically to hold your toothpaste and tooth brushes.
The end product is pretty cool because it not only folds over from top to bottom on the toothbrushes (and keeps them clean) but it also rolls up for easy packing.
Oh – and one other idea – I made a bunch of these as Christmas gifts. Mom didn’t like the idea that it was for toothbrushes, so she made it work for her earrings and necklaces. Viola. Magic.