Thursday, July 9, 2015

What "3% of the Population" Means to Me

I may regret posting this, but it seems to be the only way I can get this off my mind.

Shortly after the ruling declaring same-sex marriage as legal, striking down laws in some 13 states that still had laws against it, I saw a post from a Facebook friend.  It was simply this:
3% of the population.  That is all I have to say.
The comments following ranged from outrage at the Supreme Court's ruling to a few that I hope were attempts at humor that I'll not repeat regardless.

That comment has stuck like a craw in my mind.  Even now, nearly a month later, so much that it prompted me to risk writing a politically-based blog entry - worse, an entry that marks a return after being away nearly 6 months.

3% of the population.

So, what does "3% of the population" really mean?

  • About 14 million Americans, or about 4.4%, ride a bicycle more than 25 times a year, and 3.2 million, or about 1%, ride more than 110 days a year. (Gluskin Townley Group)
  • There are 9 million or so mixed-race people in the US, about 3%. (2010 Census)
  • Judaism make up 1.9% of the population, Mormonism about 1.6%. (Pew Research Center)
  • About 1 in 33 babies are born with a birth defect, about 3% of new births. (CDC)
  • About 11 million Americans are over 80 years old, about 3.5%. (2010 Census)

This is where the comment sticks in my mind.  Fundamentally, the comment is condoning the idea that there is a minimum size for a minority to receive recognition or equal treatment - but only when they disagree with that minority's position.

Everyone is entitled to their opinions.  Those opinions must not be allowed or enabled to infringe on the rights of others.

To me, this isn't a discussion about "gay marriage," no more than our national conversation about mixed-race marriages in the past.  This is about the individual right to self-determination, the right to - within a practice of law designed to protect its people - do as they wish with their lives.

This is fundamentally about freedom and equality.  The freedom to worship as you wish.  The freedom to associate with whom you wish.  The freedom to speak your mind.  The freedom to bear arms.  The freedom to smoke weed.  The freedom to congregate.

The freedom from discrimination.  The freedom from being treated differently because you have the freedom to be who you are, what you are, who you should be.

No more than I plan to get a gay marriage do I plan to do drugs, or worship Cthulu (or Jibbers Crabst).  I may not do those things, but that doesn't mean I don't support the freedom of others, and doesn't mean I don't respect those who do.

I don't celebrate gay's right to marry.  I celebrate the small step closer to equality we took by allowing them to marry, just like the rest of us.

Chris.

P.S.: Some feel the Supreme Court over-reached its power in this ruling, and that is the sole basis of their argument against it.  I won't weigh in on that opinion; it's a deeper, and more academic discussion than I have knowledge.