Women and African-Americans have gained their equality through civil rights. Now it is time for the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender community (LGBT) to receive theirs. Within America’s past ten years, the definition of marriage has become a prevalent issue that has swept across the nation. Love has no limits, yet Clinton’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) of 1996 and California’s Proposition 8 have restricted the ability for same sex couples to extend their love to more than just a commitment. Until marriage between same-sex couples is legalized, equality has not been achieved.
Currently nine states and 11 countries permit the legalization of same sex marriage, yet the majority of our nation doesn’t recognize it. The federal government has undermined the civil rights of the LGBT community, which they rightfully have as citizens of the United States. In 1996 congress passed DOMA, which has prohibited federal agencies from recognizing same sex marriages. In 2008, California passed Proposition 8, which banned same sex marriage in the state by a vote of 52.3% to 47.7%. Now five years later, the White House wants the proposition over turned and the DOMA eliminated. With these limitations beat, the LGBT community will be a huge leap closer to equality.
Marriage is a privilege that many heterosexual couples take for granted. Through military benefits, fiancÃ© green card legalizations and baby on board reasoning’s, many couples will cheat the system for their own good. In 2009, the movie “The Proposal” was released, serving as a prime example as to how the privilege of marriage has and can be cheated and abused. The plot is based on Sandra Bullock and how she forces her assistant, Ryan Reynolds, to marry her in order to keep her Visa within the United States. Through a series of questions and a few days together, the two were able to trick the government by convincing them they were in love.
Like the movie, any heterosexual couple can fake love to marry, but homosexual couples, who have been partners for years, are being denied this right. Due to the high divorce rates of this day and age, people argue that same-sex couples will weaken the respect of the institution of marriage. We like to think otherwise. In 2004, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriages. According to gaymarriage.procon.org, the divorce rate in Massachusetts declined 21 percent between 2003 and 2008. Consequently in 2008, Massachusetts was recognized for the lowest divorce rate. As a state that legally marries same-sex couples, the unions have proven to not hurt their state, but help.
“You can can do what you want to do, live how you want to live,” Saddleback student, Robert Haudenschild, 25, said.
As a nation, we agree that everyone is free to believe in whatever religion they want and validate it by being baptized or performing other ritual ceremonies (depending on the religion), but not all of us are free to feel or to love and make our love official. Religion aside, Christian theologian and author, James Killen brings up a good point.
“Those who want church weddings can have them, but marriage is a matter of civil law,” Killen said. “Since it is unconstitutional to deny equal civil rights to citizens, it is unconstitutional to deny to homosexual couples the right to marry.”
People are selfish, as many assume that same-sex marriages would directly affect them. Instead of respecting that all citizens of America should obtain their civil rights, some people are worried about their tax-cuts being cut in half, because more couples would be getting married. But the truth of the matter is, there is no difference between thousands of homosexuals getting married to thousands of heterosexuals getting married.
The population of America is still the same. Lezbihonest, it is the fact that people can’t grasp that being gay isn’t a choice. The majority of the LGBT community has had to live in fear of not being accepted in our society. The people of the U.S. owe them their rights, and an apology in my opinion. This is discrimination. It is as simple as that. This is something we are going to look back at and be amazed how close-minded society can be. Similar to women’s rights and civil rights, the fight for same-sex marriage is going to be one of those things in history where the next generation will be appalled that we even had to fight for it. Let’s just not make it take so long this time.
The thought of same-sex couples makes the good majority of all generations feel uncomfortable. Yes, religiously and socially, we have been raised to recognize marriage between a man and a woman, but that is because society hasn’t allowed for anyone to think otherwise. Times have changed. The idea of same-sexed marriage is a prevalent issue that will continue to be addressed until it is achieved. Similar to Martin Luther King, the LGBT community has a dream. If today’s generation legalizes same-sex marriage, it would no longer be a dream, but a reality. It is time to hang DOMA, Prop 8 and the definition of a traditional family in the closet. Lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgender, they are still human and should be treated as one with equality.
Looking to hear more on this matter? Check out the same-sex marriage debate Thursday March 7th from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.at the McKinney Theater.