The Essence of Tolerance | Teen Ink

The Essence of Tolerance

December 6, 2012
By jjdelman86 BRONZE, Old Westbury, New York
jjdelman86 BRONZE, Old Westbury, New York
4 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace." -Jimi Hendrix

The elementary school student of the early 21st century graced classrooms with walls covered in posters that promoted very important ideals for life. Respect, striving for success, and altruism were among the morals that educators wished to ingrain in the minds, hearts, and souls of students. Yet, perhaps the most annunciated principle was tolerance. Acceptance of others, regardless of race, gender, opinion, or lifestyle choice was an expectation.

The posters worked. The youth and young adults of today accept homosexuality and gay marriage as a part of culture. Many actors, musicians, and celebrities are gay. Homosexuals are portrayed on primetime television and in film. Yet, in less than 20% of American states can two individuals of the same sex be acknowledged by the state as a married couple.

According to the Pew Research Center, in 2012, 48% of Americans supported gay marriage, while 44% opposed it. More notably, 63% of Americans under the age of thirty supported gay marriage. Young Americans are 15% ahead of the curve. The most vital question still remains, though; who’s to blame for this invasion and lack of freedom on the American people?

Some blame the church. Many religious centers still refuse to acknowledge homosexuality, and several deny homosexuals the passage to marriage in their places of prayer. While the church certainly plays a large role on this act of discrimination, the priests, rabbis, and other religious leaders aren’t to blame. The real culprits don’t have their offices under crucifixes or stars of David.

The criminals, the freedom thieves, go to work in Washington D.C. The most important role of government is to keep the people of that nation, state, or region safe. Issues such as how much of the budget is delegated to military, homeland security, and healthcare are rightfully controversial, and debated. Whichever individual, group, or political party decided that government could determine whom one chooses to marry, though, should be put to trial.

One issue is that politicians infuse their own religious and political beliefs into their decisions. According to the Pew Research Center, 304 of 535 members of Congress report having affiliation with the Protestant sect of Christianity, which has serious reservations about homosexuality. In addition, only one percent of Congress is not affiliated with any religion, while sixteen percent of Americans make up this population. While politicians should certainly use their own rationale in order to provide for the people, the job of a politician is to represent their constituents in the most accurate way possible.

Many gay marriage proponents argue that the legalization should be left in the hands of states. This is the wrong approach. Even if the majority of citizens in a particular state oppose gay marriage, this does not entitle anyone to tell an individual in that state that they cannot marry the person of his or her choosing, regardless of gender. Who an individual chooses to marry can pose no harm to anyone else, even if they disagree with the morals behind the marriage. The ability to marry anybody should be a federal mandate to all states.

How can the problem be fixed? A nationwide vote would seem to do it. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2012, 48% of Americans support gay marriage, while only 44% oppose it. A vote wouldn’t be just, though. Even if more Americans voted that gay people shouldn’t have the right to be married, homosexuals cannot be denied this right. The only true solution is to rewrite the role of the politician. When it comes to fiscal issues, the government must design a plan. When it comes to social issues such as gay marriage, though, politicians need to stop thinking so hard.

Gay marriage must become a national freedom in order for the United States to progress as a people and a country. If not, the “tolerance” posters in public, government-controlled elementary schools nationwide need to be torn down.

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