Friday, April 27, 2012

The Debate

In honor of the progress that has been made in the past 50 years, and as a reminder to those that have used religion to suppress the rights of minorities of all races, creeds and preferences, I re-submit a story I wrote a few years back which described the struggle surrounding another, perhaps future debate regarding rights, in this case marriage rights.

                                                                    The Debate

The debate had raged in the streets and in the Senate for the past 6 months. Parties on both sides of the issue had dusted off their tried and true arguments while painting the position of the other side in an unflattering a picture as possible.

While the specific point of the law was new, the nature of its meaning was as old as humankind itself. Those in favor cited progress, the evolving nature of society, compassion for everyone and the obvious as well as hidden discrimination that the law would eliminate. Those against the pending law cited tradition, values and the very real possibility of the end of the human race.

On Intervision, from the driest of business shows right on down to the trashiest talk shows, representatives from both sides of the issue could be seen on a daily basis, sometimes cajoling, sometimes imploring the viewing public that the bill must or must not be defeated. Every institution had weighed in, every level of political agenda was heard from, every citizen-based organization was involved. Finally, after 6 months of posturing and propaganda it was decided that today’s session in the Senate, in the presence of the world ruling counsel and with what was expected to be the most watched Intervision broadcast on record, a decision would be rendered.

At 10:00 the Senate was called to order.

The pending law was read aloud, simultaneously translated into all the languages of all the world’s peoples. Immediately, both sides as represented in the Senate scrambled to position their speakers in a beneficial sequence, as the tradition of alternating presentations would be followed. This pattern of speeches, one for, one against the new law, continued for 4 hours as was the custom. As the end of the 4 hours neared, tension in the room began to climb as did worldwide viewership of the preceding.

At exactly 2:00, the last speaker was cut off, her final words inaudible to both those in attendance and those on Intervision. All eyes turned to the seven members of the ruling counsel.

Surprisingly, counsel member #3 stood up. He was a very old Senator; in fact, his exact age was not completely known. He was not known for his speaking abilities; in fact, no one present could remember the last time he spoke publicly. But it was known that his influence was great and that his opinions, invariably made known behind closed doors, often ruled the day. The air was still, all eyes were upon him as his voice, quiet yet clear and strong, spoke these words.

“My fellow humans. Today we make a decision that will change the very course of human destiny. It is not a decision to take lightly but not unlike similar decisions made years ago by our predecessors. I know of what I am speaking because I was present for some of those momentous choices.”

Counsel member #3 paused. He looked at each of the other six ruling counselors, then gazed out at those in attendance, and finally his eyes locked on the nearest of the Intervision transmitters.

“Just as it was decided a dozen generations ago that marriage between the races of our world should be recognized, just as it was decided 2 generations ago that marriage within genders should be supported, now it should be our decision to pass this law legalizing marriage between sentient species.”

And so, in the year 2060, the people of earth and the beings of Vega officially became the first in the universe to legalize marriage between their inhabitants.

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