I don’t often write about politically charged issues, but hey, it’s an Election year. So in the spirit of Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin, I thought I’d voice a topic close to my heart, gay marriage.
If you do your research and look into the history of marriage, it is anything but romantic. Marriage was not a mere personal matter concerning only a husband and wife, but the business of their two families which brought them together. Most marriages were arranged. The wife had fewer rights than her husband and was expected to be subservient to him. Marriage was also seen as an economic arrangement. Procreation and cooperation were the main marital duties. Sweet, huh?
Things have changed. We can have or adopt and raise children on our own. We can start and run our own multi-million dollar corporations. We do not need to legally bond ourselves to someone in order to survive. Most Americans know this. Therefore, the idea that marriage should only be viewed as a contract to ensure kids and money is preposterous. Again, most Americans know this, in fact, I would argue that most of world knows this – though it may not be practiced or spoken of so freely.
Marriage now is entered into for love. Your wedding is the one day of your life that you get to stand up in front of your family and friends and tell them all how much you love this other person. You love them so much, that you are willing to legally bind yourself to them forever. We dance, we eat, we drink, and we celebrate the love of two people.
The Constitution of the United States says nothing specifically about marriage itself, so how can one say whether bans on gay marriage are constitutional? The Constitution does mention equal rights to all citizens. Is it not unequal to offer legalized marriage to one couple and not another? Was it unequal to keep black and white citizens separate? Was it unequal to not allow women to vote? I believe the problem lies in the fact that so many Americans (in particular) do not view marriage as a contract between two individuals who love each other; they view it as a contract between two individuals who love each other AND God.
Guess who isn’t mentioned in the Constitution? That’s right, it’s God. In fact it is written in the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." Separation of Church and State, baby! So, according to the Constitution, religious establishments can choose not to marry a same sex couple, but the government intuitions cannot. The way I see it, it’s unconstitutional to ban same sex marriages.
However, I not only see it as unconstitutional, I see it as callous. Assuming there are no legal barriers to same sex marriages, there seem to be only religious/moral barriers. Though I no longer consider myself a religious person, I do remember what I was taught. “Judge not lest ye be judged”. From what I know of religion, in the end, it is not we who decide if we go to “heaven” or “hell”, is it not we who decide what is sinful or not. We are not the final judgment, God is. So, as mortal individuals put here on earth by God and instructed by God to judge not, where do we get off telling people they cannot marry someone they love because of their sexual preference? We are all human beings. We all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Perhaps if we practiced tolerance instead of prejudice the world would be a little bit of a better place.
An estimated 1.8 million people worldwide died of AIDS in 2010. According to the United Nations about 25,000 people die every day of hunger or hunger-related causes. Cancer kills roughly 1,500 people per day in the US. These are the issues we should be worried about. These are the issues that are changing the world. Throwing up arms in response to two same sex individuals legally marrying each other seems a bit petty to me when you look at the big picture. But as Americans we’re good at that aren’t we, turning our heads at the ugly, shielding our eyes from the bad. I don't know about you, but I think it’s time we took the blindfold off.