Same sex marriage ruling a step in right direction

By Margaret Poe 2004

Ahh, a wedding day. Rings are gleaming, rice is flying, flower girls are strewing rose petals right and left. The world is being polluted by the Electric Slide. Such bliss is allowed, encouraged even, for couples in heterosexual relationships. Yet as of now, there is no “I do”-ing for men who love men or for women who love women. Thankfully, however, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is trying to change things.

The court made a monumental decision last week when it proclaimed same-sex couples’ rights to marry. Unfortunately, many Americans want nothing to come out of the closet but clothes and no one to experience the bliss of holy matrimony but people like them. Massachusetts has made a landmark move, but it’s up to the rest of us to take it from here.

The uproar about the issue is deafening, a cacophony of election politics, expressions of conservative Christian’s outrage and gay rights supporters’ cheers. But to me, it funnels into one pure, unadulterated idea. Isn’t marriage supposed to be about love?

It’s wonderfully idealistic, the makings of a tear-jerking Hallmark card, yet it’s true. But this issue is not about love, or marriage at all, really. It’s about politics. the 2004 elections loom, and when facing a modern Roe v. Wade, politicians know they need to make a smart decisions. Making an unpopular one would prove far more dangerous than coming out on national television — without even the redeeming value of winning an Emmy.

Yet some are committing to a side — using the polls to determine the American way. What is the leader of our country’s excuse for his conservative belief? President Bush wants “to defend the sanctity of marriage.” I am left wondering: Is that the sanctity flaunted by the “King” in Vegas 24-hour-drive-through wedding chapels? Or is it best demonstrated in the short-lived, yet blessed, union between Anna Nicole Smith and J. Howard Marshall II? It seems as though the sanctity of marriage leaves something to be desired. And yet we forbid homosexuals from marriage because they might compromise its holiness?

Other Republicans have taken the timeworn “We’ve always done it this way, so why mess things up now” approach. Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney solemnly declared, “I agree with 3,000 years of recorded history. Marriage is an institution between a man and a woman.” An interesting concept, perhaps, but not without its flaws. What about the thousands of years of slavery — that was recorded history. What about recorded history in which came nowhere near the polls? If we had let traditions completely lead our lives, only male white property owners would be voting for you, Mitt. Would you agree with recorded history then?

But this issue isn’t only discussed by guys with elephants on the pickup trucks. Some Democrats have jumped into the debate, yet support of the issue is split 50-50 within the party. In this intensely political situation, gay rights activists find little help from either Republicans or Democrats, leaving them alone with their overwhelming desire to open Americas’ closets.

For many Americans, this issue is not an issue at all. They believe the Bible renders this into obscurity; if the book doesn’t support gay marriage, neither do they. Yet they forget the value of critical thinking. Christianity influences every American’s life, but we cannot let one religion sabotage our ability to think. People justified slavery with the Bible — how else could they have cleared up their consciences? We cannot just declare that it’s wrong to love someone of the same sex. We need to think beyond ourselves and our interpretations of religion. We need to think about humanity.

Straight people aren’t perfect, and neither are gays. But if people love each other so much they want to sanctify their vows in marriage, how can we not let them? Politicians muddy the issue in their never-ending pursuit of the vote. Americans put their beliefs on a pedestal, never stopping to consider that they’re talking about human beings. The issue of legalizing gay marriage is intense and complicated, yet it shouldn’t be. Everyone should have a fair chance of doing the Electric Slide.

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