You wake up to the phone ringing at 1:00 a.m. It’s the hospital calling to tell you that your loved one was in a head on collision caused by a drunk driver. Quickly you rush to the hospital only to find out that they have gone into a coma. Panicked, you plead to see them. The nurse asks if you are a spouse or relative, “No, but we have been together for thirty-five years we are partners.” The nurse replies, “I’m sorry, but only spouses or family can see her.” Because it is illegal for homosexuals to marry in many states, lifelong couples such as this one are deprived of countless rights.
The issue that I am researching is the issue of same-sex marriage, in particular same-sex on the legislative level and how it is a civil liberties issue. Meaning that I am in favor for the United States as a whole to pass the law that grants homosexuals the right to marry each other. The fundamental issue that comes up is one of equality. The writing of the constitution the Declaration of Independence says that: “all men are created equal,” but is that really the case today? The issue of gay rights has come up today and many view the gay rights movement to be similar to the civil rights movement in the sixties for African American equality. The banning of same-sex marriage is a violation of civil liberties, because it mirrors that of the civil rights movement in the 60’s, religion should not determine law, and it is unconstitutional.
The legalization is inevitable for the movement mirrors that of the civil rights movement in the 1960s for African American equality. Even though in 1948 the thought of interracial marriage was unthinkable, that same year the Perez vs. Sharp case made legalized interracial marriage in California. Even though California’s voters may have not been ready for interracial marriage the courts recognized that the banning of gay marriage violated the U.S. Constitution. It took nearly twenty years for the U.S. Supreme Court to follow suit, legalizing interracial marriage in 1967. Powell relates the Perez vs. Sharp case to the recent Perry vs. Schwarzenegger case. Much like back in 1948, merely because the voters do not agree with the idea of same-sex marriage does not mean that the motion cannot go through. Powell further explains that while same-sex marriage may become legal in the state of California it may take many years for it to be recognized by the United States as a whole. However, from recent polls taken by major networks such as ABC, CNN, and CBS, the legalization of gay marriage has an average of a 54 percent approval rating. What is the most interesting is that while these percentages maybe only halfway there, it took society till 1991 for 46 percent of voters to approve of interracial couples. It is quite possible that this shift in acceptance can possibly be explained by a recent poll by CNN, finding that “49 percent of Americans said they knew someone who is gay.” (Ponder). As more Americans come into contact with more openly gays this percentage will increase greatly.
Another reason why same-sex marriage should be legalized is that, religious beliefs only hold so much ground in the foundation of our countries law making. The most common argument for the banning of gay marriage is the religious one. The religions that primarily ban same-sex marriage are western religions. However not all religions believe in the concept of banning the marriage between two individuals. Interestingly enough Buddhist literature viewed all marriage as a choice between the two individuals involved. One model of marriage argues that committed partnerships on a sexual level (whether heterosexual or homosexual) are important. They bond two individuals together creating stable households. It is these very households, which “form the foundation of a productive society.” (Encyclopedia Britannica). Another perspective is that “the devaluation of same-sex intimacy is immoral because it constitutes irrational discrimination, thereby damaging the community.” The Republican Party is so closely tied to the Christianity that it has become nearly impossible to separate the two. Their crusade on integrating the word of god into our country’s law books is undeniable and they have made it gay marriage their prime target. However what Republican’s should really be campaigning against is divorce and adultery. While a same-sex marriage causes no harm to those around them divorce and adultery can have devastating effects on those around them. It is in the Republican parties best interest to legalize gay marriage for they would recruit a lot more voters if they were to lighten up on the issue and focus on more pressing ones. One of the main arguments against gay marriage is that it somehow destabilizes heterosexual marriage. In an interview by campaigning lawyer Elizabeth Birch, she asked the three-times-married conservative representative Bob Barr, “Which marriage are you defending? Your first, your second, or your third?” Also the argument of marriage for the purpose of procreation is becoming increasingly invalid. Many straight couples, especially older ones, marry for the deep bond that it creates between two people. The same cannot be said for so many celebrity and reality stars, who blatantly marry for the publicity.
The most important reason is that it is unconstitutional to ban same-sex marriage, because it infringes on homosexual’s right to equality. On February 7th, 2012 the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled Prop. 8 unconstitutional. In 2008 Proposition 8 was passed, banning the marriage of same-sex couples. Judge Stephen Reinhardt said, “Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.” There is no evidence for the claims from the sponsors of Proposition 8 and that by banning same-sex marriage it would promote children’s welfare or responsible procreation. Furthermore, there was “no legal basis that would warrant the exclusion of an entire group of people from marrying merely because of tradition. The California Supreme Court found this to be true and soon the US Supreme Court will come to the same conclusion.
The banning of same-sex marriage is a violation of civil liberties. The legalization of gay marriage is inevitable, because it mirrors that of the civil rights movement in the sixties. Secondly religion should not be what determines law in country founded on religious freedom. Finally the banning of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, because it is a direct violation equal rights granted by the U.S. Constitution. As quoted by a dear friend of mine, Randy Jimenez “God it frustrates me when I see the protesters on the streets with their “GOD Hates Fags” signs. I believe that God made gays for a reason and that is to make people more tolerant of each other and to learn empathy. The love between a man and a man (woman and woman) is no less real than between a man and a woman. It’s a lot like saying because I’m Pilipino I can’t marry a white person. Just because we look different does not mean one of us is less than the other. It’s that way for gay marriage, just because it may not seem “traditional” doesn’t mean it’s not right. Every adult has the right to live their life the way they see fit.