Marriage. It’s a simple word, containing eight letters, four vowels and four consonants. Yet for many nowadays is the verbal equivalent of a powder keg, simply because one group is still trying to earn the right to do something that the rest of have been doing for years.
Among the many hot button topics that face our country nowadays, gay marriage may be one of the most unique ones that we have to deal with. Unlike issues such as illegal immigration and terrorism, same sex marriage deals with our own citizens. We can’t just put up a wall and try to keep it out.
It boils down to this. Gay couples want to marry and enjoy all the same benefits and status that is endowed to straight couples. Some groups and individuals however, especially religious and conservative personas, are vehemently opposed to the idea. They claim that marriage is an ancient and sacred thing, and that neither God nor state should honor and recognize such a union.
Now I’m not completely oblivious to the reasons religion has for its opposition to gay marriage. Religion is a very deep meaning thing to many people. People turn to religion to find comfort in times of crisis, and to strive to explain their place in the universe. And marriage is a big part of most religions. So if the tenants of a religion states that only a man and a woman can marry, than that’s its prerogative. Freedom of religion is one of the great privileges given to us by our forefathers, and I would look pretty damn hypocritical to deny them that right.
But on that same token the State refusing to recognize a marriage of two people, regardless of gender, is a direct disregard for our country’s freedoms. Even if people can’t be married in the eyes of their god or gods, we still as human beings should have the ability to accept and support the union between two men or women. We should be able to stand up and say “We have found two people who love each other so much that that wish to be joined in our eyes till death do them part!” And we should be able to record that for all of human history to see, to teach future generations that just because something is different doesn’t mean it is to be feared or scorned.
There are of course the voices of the protractors of gay marriage. Many claim that if we allow gay marriage many couples would only marry for benefits like insurance. Well guess what. Many straight couples don’t exactly marry for love either. Many couples get together for money, convenience, or just because they’re afraid to be alone. So yes probably some gay couples will marry for financial, not emotional, reasons. At least they wouldn’t be alone.
Some others who protest these unions state that allowing gays and lesbians to wed could lead to a slippery slope. These naysayers claim that allow same sex unions could lead to the eventual legislations of such extremes of marriage between adults and minors or even more perverse things like, and I kid you not, marriage between man and animal. As ridiculous as these claims sound, there are people who believe that gay marriage is just the first step down a road of unending twisted acts.
I am reminded of a quote by Thomas Jefferson. “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” As a people and country I think we can always understand what is and is not acceptable. Sure contact between young people and adults is bad, and we (I hope anyway) will always be able to see that such things are always inexcusable. But really gay marriage between two consenting adults doesn’t hurt anyone, and might actually make two people happy. And in the end, wouldn’t it say more about our society that everybody can end up happy and content rather than letting a few close minded individuals push their beliefs on hundreds of others?