Marriage Equality is a Fundamental Right

For those of you who have had the pleasure of not being on Facebook during the last few weeks, Proposition 8 was a California ballot proposition and a state constitutional amendment that effectively banned gay marriage. The proposition added the statement “€œonly marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California” to the California Constitution.

Proposition 8 is a significant setback for gay rights nationwide, as the vote garnered a considerable amount of national attention.

What this issue comes down to, for me, is civil rights. Marriage has been defined to be a civil right in the 1967 Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia , and thus should be given to all citizens and not be infringed upon by a government.

Just because one is born differently does not mean they should be treated as a lesser. This is the basic idea of civil rights, and it has led to the advancement of equal opportunities for people of all kinds.

Forcing one’s beliefs on another group of people is a destructive activity that rarely ends well.

If I practiced a religion that condemned the the practice of a minority exercising their rights, it would not be in my power to stop them from doing it. That’s simply out of my jurisdiction. For example, if my religion prohibited red-haired people from exercising their freedom of speech, I would not speak freely if I were red-haired. I would try to ignore those red-haired people that do.

If my son or daughter were a redhead, I would try to stop him or her from doing so. I would, however, not stop red-haired people who did not belong to my religion from practicing their freedom of speech.

The argument that the one should be against the practice of homosexuality because the Bible condemns it is flawed, in my opinion. Most everyone in our community picks and chooses parts of the Bible to follow. If you say that you follow everything, make sure that you remember to not shave, curse, or associate with women on their periods.

If you’€™ve picked condemnation of homosexuality as something to believe in as part of your religion, then you should be able to defend your decision with some amount of logic and reasoning. Gay marriage has no effect on the traditional family values of a community. A study published on Apr. 13, 2009 in Social Science Quarterly showed that homosexual marriages have no adverse affect on marriage and divorce rates, as well as (of course), abortion rates and numbers of children born out of wedlock.

The seven states with the highest divorce rates between 2003 and 2008 all had constitutional prohibitions to gay marriage. Massachusetts, which became the first state to legalize gay marriage in 2004, had its divorce rate decline 21% between 2003 and 2008.

Some say that gay people forgo their right to marriage because they choose to be gay, while this could not be further from the truth. Many different factors lead to a person being gay when they grow up, and this is the topic of much debate in the scientific community. However, the consensus among almost all contemporary scholars in the field is that we cannot choose our sexual orientation.

If you want to learn more about this, I suggest talking to a gay person about his or her experience.

Now some wonder why marriage is important to gay people. The American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and others wrote, “…allowing same-sex couples to marry would give them access to the social support that already facilitates and strengthens heterosexual marriages, with all of the psychological and physical health benefits associated with that support.”€

There are also often overlooked financial benefits of marriage, such as health benefits from your partner’s employer and death benefits from when your partner dies. But the main reason is that they would simply like the right to get married, even if they don’t plan on exercising it.

Brown vs. Board of Education ruled that “€œseparate is inherently unequal.”€ The separation here is obvious, and it implies that these members of our society are unequal. Denying same-sex couples the right to marry sends the message that it is alright to discriminate against them. Giving gay people the right to marry shows that they are on equal standing with the rest of society. Macklemore makes a good point in his song “Same Love” when he sings: “Some would rather die / Than be who they are / And a certificate on paper / Isn’t gonna solve it all / But it’s a damn good place to start.”