The Great Debate

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With last week’s decision by the Supreme Court of the United States to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states, the nation was torn between celebration and revulsion, each to varying degrees. For something that much of the country believes should be a given, and has been a long time coming, there are many more who feel that this decree by the highest of courts in our land is an affront to the Constitution, to morality, to state’s rights, and to deep-seated religious convictions. The decision has even been met with brazen rebellion by the governors of certain states, who have ordered municipal clerks not to obey the ruling by the Supreme Court, as it is said to encroach upon the religious freedom of the faithful. One of those state leaders, Greg Abbott of Texas said, “No Texan is required by the Supreme Court’s decision to act contrary to his or her religious beliefs regarding marriage”, citing the state’s Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Actually, yes, they are required to follow the Court’s law. Other governors were more sensible in this case, while not agreeing with the new “redefinition” of marriage, they nonetheless decided to respectfully adhere to the ruling and begin issuing marriage licenses to eager couples. Anyone could scroll down their Facebook news feed, or the comment threads below articles that detailed this monumental act, and see the battles erupt between the religious and the realists. You’d be hard-pressed not to be put off, if not fully enraged upon sight of backhanded assurances by Christians to their “friends” that usually go something like “I still love you, we can still be friends, but I don’t support your lifestyle or your now lawful right to love and marry who you choose, and God will judge you for this…right after I’m done judging you, even though I’m saying that I’m not judging you.”

Seeing religious nuts bemoaning a recurrence of Sodom and Gomorrah, threatening to move to Canada (which if you do a quick Google search you’ll find that our neighbor to the north beat us to this punch a DECADE ago), or even in some cases declaring the desire to die by self-immolation, simply because gays now have the right to enjoy something that straight people have done a bang-up job of destroying in this country is downright laughable. It is clear that America has made a joke of the institution of marriage as it is, so maybe it is high time for a bit of redefinition. To this point, where are we left? Does one group have to continue to remain marginalized, and denied an individually important, but rather pedestrian allowance, at the hands of another group, who believe that an invisible, bearded, flying man up in the sky dictated thousands of years ago that homosexuality is a sin?

Many even employed the “slippery slope” mode of thinking when it comes to this decision, which everyone who has ever sat through a high school English class knows is a fallacy in the presentation of an argument. “If gay marriage is legalized today, tomorrow a dog will be able to marry a giraffe!” False.  It cannot possibly be proven that one thing leads to another in that manner, rendering such an argument invalid. On another front, protests have arisen due to a perceived attack on the Constitution, riding on the notion that a religious municipal clerk being forced to process a marriage license for a gay couple is being denied their First Amendment “freedom of religion”. Also, the fact that Supreme Court justices are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, rather than elected by the public, does not sit well with some when it comes to sweeping decisions such as this. Some commentators have argued that the issue of gay marriage should have been decided by popular vote and written into law as such, instead of by a group of nine lawyers who do not directly serve the public. The problem with ideal is that there are still many places in this country where the public would never vote to allow homosexuals the right to marry, or to maintain any rights at all. Despite how progressive our nation has become as a whole, religious intolerance of such progression still maintains an immobile foothold in many states.

On the topic of gay marriage, I typically fall somewhere between silent and supportive. Honestly, you’ll never find me at a pro-gay rally, or picketing outside of a courthouse, because it’s simply not my fight. However, I have never seen any reason why two gay people should not have the right to marry, to have their love recognized by the government, and reap the benefits thereof. Overall, what people need to remember most, is that this decision (unless you are gay) does not actually affect you in any way, shape or form. As religious as you may be, having to simply coexist with gays who can now official wed deprives you of no rights of your own. Unfortunately for you, the ostrich syndrome (if you don’t see it, it isn’t there) will not work well. You will see it, all around, for it is written. I understand that fielding a deluge of comments about how you’re “on the wrong side of history” is supremely grating, but your failure to evolve mentally is already well-documented. We’ll see what your deity of choice thinks about you when your mortal coil is shuffled. Then again, we probably won’t. I congratulate any and all who were finally able to profess their love to each other, and have it recognized by the government this past weekend. I hope that you always remember your vows, remain faithful, and know that love conquers all. Goodnight, and good luck.

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