Okay…I’m getting ready to rant, so if you can’t take it, just scroll on past.
This week, the State of Virginia made a huge mistake in staying the decision to honor gay marriage in the Commonwealth. What is our Government thinking? To deny an individual the ability to love whom they want is a direct violation of civil rights and frankly is just downright mean.
There are some people who believe that homosexuals do not need marriage licenses, “just a good lawyer to draw up Powers of Attorney and medical directives and to address issues.” (Kotulski, 2004, p. 4). Today, heterosexual couples have access to over 1,300 rights, privileges and benefits and these same rights are denied to homosexual couples on the basis of who they choose to love. Before the government decides to deny homosexuals the right to marry, perhaps they should take a look at the types of heterosexual marriages that are actually legal. Here’s a little food for thought: In this country it is legal for a man to marry –
• His first cousin (in 20 out of 50 states)
• His ex-lover’s adopted daughter (remember Woody Allen?)
• At the age of 100 (and leave his estate tax-free to his 18 year-old wife)
• If he is in prison for rape, multiple murders, child molestation, kidnapping or corporate scandal.
• Another man in Texas (as long as that man is a female to male transsexual) ???????
This does not seem logical: A rapist, a murderer, a child molester and a kidnapper can marry whomever they want – while still in prison – and never even have to live with their spouse, but two same-sex people cannot exchange legal wedding vows because it is viewed as “immoral”? Is everybody in our so-called government on crack???
Although society has offered many reasons (for lack of a better word) against gay marriage, I’d like to take a moment to argue the ones that come to mind:
- Marriage is an institution between one man and one woman: Although it is the most often heard argument, it is also the weakest. Who says what marriage is and by whom should it be defined? “The concept of not denying people their rights unless you can show a compelling reason to deny them is the basis of the American ideal of human rights” (Kotulski, 2004). The key words here are “compelling reason”. Many of the arguments against gay marriage are not reasons, merely a reflection of society’s fear and bigotry.
- Gay relationships are immoral: The most common answer to this is “the bible.” Freedom of religion is also freedom from religion. “The bible has absolutely no standing in American Law, as was made clear by the intent of the first amendment, and because it does not, no one has the right to impose rules on anyone else, simply because of something they perceive to be a moral injunction mandated by the bible” (Baunach, 2011).
- Marriages are for procreation and ensuring the continuation of the species: If that is true, then why is it legal for infertile couples to marry? “Again, such an argument fails to persuade based on the kinds of marriage society does allow, without a second thought, and why it really allows them. Marriage is about love, sharing and commitment; procreation is, in reality, a purely secondary function.” (Baunach, 2011).
This country has been through many periods of discrimination over the past hundreds of years: Slavery, the Holocaust, segregation – do we really want to continue down this same road? We as a society are supposed to be moving forward…not backward and if we want to teach our children anything it is tolerance for others.
Wake up and smell the cappuccino folks; it’s 2014! There are other things more important in our government that need to be fixed. Stop worrying about who is loving who and take the high road. Trust me, the view is much better.
Baunach, D. (2011). Decomposing Trends in Attitudes toward Gay Marriage, 1988-2006. Social Science Quarterly, 92(2), 346-363.
Kotulski, D. (2004). Why You Should Give a Damn About Gay Marriage. Los Angeles: Advocate Books.