Who Am I?

Exploring your identity.

A National Case of Identity Foreclosure

Identity Foreclosure, Failure of Imagination, Empathy, Same-Sex Marriage

Today's national election results indicated that 52.8% of voters in Maine agreed that they "want to reject the new law that lets same-sex couples marry and allows individuals and religious groups to refuse to perform these marriages". I can't help but wonder if these folks have considered how it would feel if the same question were placed on the ballot but 'same-sex' were replaced with 'opposite-sex'. Is this utter lack of empathy not just a failure of the imagination, but a national case of identity foreclosure? It could be, given it can be easier to ignore how our needs (i.e., for our family to be secure) might be similar to those needs of others, no matter how dissimilar we may think we are to them. Failing to explore and consider seriously the lives of others as well as our own has practical consequences too. Legal changes have historically expanded rights, not taken them away from people in order to deny them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Perhaps this is a call for all of us to be more thoughtful and more considerate of others' rights, particularly when the right to love someone and tend to them (e.g., in the hospital when seriously ill) does not interfere with others' rights.

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Kristine Anthis, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology at Southern Connecticut State University.

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