A Delaware image to sum up 2011

    Newsworks asked Rob Tornoe to draw what he thought was one of the main images of 2011.  Here’s his spin.

    I’ve drawn my fair share of cartoons on why civil unions are a step-forward, but gay marriage is the way to go if you’re looking for true equity. 

    But as Delaware prepares to become only the 8th state in the country to allow civil unions on January 1, I thought about all the gay couples that will now be able to endorse their relationships equally under state law, and it softened me up a bit for this cartoon. 

    The fact that it’s not called “marriage” is secondary to the fact that for the first time in their lives, many Delawareans will now be able to share benefits with their partner, perform a joint adoption, care for their partner when they’re ill and many more of the things married couples take for granted. 

    I still stand by my assertion that by calling it something other than marriage, same-sex couples continue to remain “separate but equal,” not only in the eyes of the law, but by those that truly oppose their lifestyle. There are those that would prefer to castigate gay people, bisexuals and anyone else that doesn’t fit their social norms to some dark corner of society, never to be seen or heard from again.

    Nothing has changed my mind that we should just remove the term “marriage” from the equation for same and opposite sex couples alike, and let everyone get a civil union. Save the term “marriage” for the religious folks who read a thick book preaching peace and tolerance, yet can’t seem to extend a compassionate hand to people who are just a tiny bit different. 

    If only they devoted as much time to reading history as they do hating homosexuals, they might find that contrary to popular myth, Christianity’s concept of marriage hasn’t been set in stone since the days of Christ. 

    There are examples of same-sex unions being recognized in ancient Christian church documents as early as the 10th century. While homosexuality was technically illegal from the latter days of the Roman Empire on, homophobic writings didn’t even appear in Western Europe until the late 14th century. Even then, church-consecrated same sex unions continued to take place. 

    But I’m getting off the point a bit. Gay marriage’s time will come – it’s only a matter of time, no matter how many Christine O’Donnells swoop down on a broom preaching intolerance and bigotry. 

    Until then, I wish every same-sex couple in the state a Happy New Year, and offer a hopeful message for 2012 – at least you don’t live in Mississippi. 

    Rob Tornoe is the editor of the humor magazine Punchline, and is a WHYY contributor. E-mail Rob at RobTornoe@gmail.com, and follow him on Twitter @RobTornoe.

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