In 2000, Vermont passed a law allowing “civil unions.” California just passed a law allowing the same in 2005. Ohio is the latest state to ban same-sex unions, and the Bushies are considering a constitutional amendment against it. Now, the Massachusetts high court has declared that nothing less than marriage will suffice for same-sex couples.
I have nothing personal to gain from same-sex marriage, nor do I have many gay friends, but since the issue has been in the news so much, I’ve gotten to thinking about it (Despite the serious problems we have in our country right now, some politicians seemingly have nothing better to do than attempt to ban gay marriage.)
Many people are opposed to gay marriage on religious grounds, or simply on their own personal prejudices that condemn gays as sick perverts. They claim that allowing gays to marry would somehow ruin the institution of marriage. Oh, please. Like heterosexuals have done such a magnificent job of maintaining the instutution of marriage (Britney and her 55-hour marriage being an excellent example).
Despite the fact that the divorce rate for new marriages is over 50%, despite the fact that couples are deciding to cohabitate for lengthy periods of time and even having kids, despite the fact that most people now marry several times, and despite the fact that most people’s parents have divorced (or they were raised by a single parent), people are still getting married. They’re still getting married and having families. Marriage is not going anywhere folks. The fact that a man can marry a man won’t change hetero attitudes towards marriage one bit.
Not to mention the fact that this is America. Although it’s easy to forget the fact in these times, we live in a country where equal treatment and opportunity for all citizens is practically an inalienable right.
There was once a time not too long ago where interracial marriages were prohibited by law. That law was finally ruled unconstitutional in 1967. There was also a time when blacks and women were not entitled to the same rights as whites and men. We take it for granted that racism and sexism are inherently wrong, not to mention illegal. But we still feel that it’s ok to discriminate against someone because of whom they choose to have an intimate relationship with (sexual or otherwise).
As much as some people may not like it, times change. Mores and standards change. Things that were considered immoral and wrong forty years ago are now commonplace (co-habitiation, interracial marriage, single parenthood, second and third marriages, etc.)
Anyone who has even a passing aquaintance with a homosexual knows that gays are basically harmless. Sure, their sexual preferences are definitely and conspicuously in the minority. They might do things in private that you care not to think about. They may have odd and annoying mannerisms, an excess or even absence of bodily hair, and a smugly superior sense of style. But anyone who has spent time in the proximity of a homosexual knows that they’re generally nice people, who just want to live their lives peacefully and have the same basic rights as anyone else. Is there anything so wrong with that?