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Marriage Equality

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Marriage is an important part of our society. A civil and emotional bond between two lovers, the strongest and most sacred there is. Imagine how indignant we would be if we as Americans were denied this essential right. Fortunately, this is the land of the free, and most of us have the legal and social privilege to get married and raise a family. Unfortunately, there are about 11.7 million people who get left out of this deal because their partner is the same gender as they are. These marriages are no different from other legal marriages, yet we still refuse to recognize them in the United States. A miniscule six states have made these marriages legal. The main reason is that there are opponents of marriage equality with concerns as to the consequences of allowing marriage equality. Present here are the largest concerns of the opposition, accompanied by compromises and solutions which are backed by research and dispelling of common myths and misconceptions.


Many people rationalize their bias against marriage equality with the claim that non-heteroexuality is unnatural. We are a nation of progress. We are always innovating and inventing and bringing new things into our culture. Are SmartPhones and iPods “natural”? Are polyester and air conditioning “natural”? Are the medications keeping our our loved ones in the hospital alive “natural”? No. The American lifestyle has adopted these “unnatural” things into its culture and seen great progress. These changes have not hurt America, and neither will marriage equality.


After all, the definition of marriage has gone through many reforms and improvements throughout the course of our history. Let us hark back to the Loving v. Virginia decision of June 12th, 1967. Before then, many couples were denied marriage on account of their race. Whites couldn’t marry blacks. Now, 45 years later, more than 2.3 million interracial couples have happily married and started families. This hasn’t damaged the foundation of marriage, and neither have the countless other reforms such as recognizing women as individuals rather than property and the legalization of divorce. Eliminating marriage discrimination on the basis of gender would provide many couples with the gift of marriage yet would not hurt the institution of other marriages in any way.


Often to come up in discussion is the “slippery slope” argument. Opponents of marriage equality fear that if same-sex couples can be wed then as a result people will eventually be able to marry their pets or marry several people at a time or engage in pedophilic marriages. There is a simple solution to this consideration: Proper wording. There is a piece of legislation known as DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), passed in 1996, which describes marriage as “Between a man and a woman” and does not require states to acknowledge same-sex marriage. By repealing DOMA and replacing it with legislation that describes marriage as “between two consenting adults”, marriage equality would be achieved while still preserving the monogamy, age appropriateness, and general sanctity of marriage.


Some people believe that non-heterosexual marriage in and of itself will undermine the institution of marriage regardless of other consequences (or lack thereof). If same-sex couple can get married, would straight marriages become less special? Perhaps. That’s a matter of personal opinion. According to the data, though, it does not. Massachusetts, a state with marriage equality, has the lowest divorce rate of the entire country (1.8 people per 1000). Connecticut, Iowa, and New York, three other states with marriage equality, are all on the top ten list of states with the lowest divorce rates. This helps to show how same-sex marriage isn’t really hurting the country at all.


Despite the statistics, though, many people believe that homosexuality is wrong and should not be acknowledged as marriage due to its inherent immorality. The centerpiece of this dilemma is religion. The majority of marriage equality opponents are conservative Christians, and according to Leviticus 18:22:


“Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.”


This is a valid basis to disagree with homosexuality and oppose marriage equality for some. All due respect is given for such beliefs. Believing that non-heterosexuality is wrong is protected under the First Amendment as freedom of religion. Nevertheless, according to the principle of Separation of Church and State upon which our country was founded, the government must pass legislature on the basis of secular decisions rather than on theocratic ones. Someone who opposes same-sex marriage has the all the freedom in the country not to have a same-sex marriage of their own. Someone who supports marriage equality, on the other hand, should also have the freedom to marry in accordance to their idea of what is right rather than have that determined by the belief set of someone else.


That is what America is all about. Freedom. Freedom of choice. Freedom to express our rights as human beings and as Americans. As people who value these liberties, we have a responsibility to ensure that they are provided for everyone. Appreciate your freedom by respecting the freedom of others.



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