I really hate writing this paper for one simple reason. I shouldn’t have to. This is America. We shouldn’t have to ‘defend’ gay-marriage because it should be automatic.
I remember an explanation of the difference between America and Russia when I was very young. I was told that in America we have freedom. We have the right to stand in the middle of the street and scream, “I hate Reagan!” The broadcast explained that in Russia they couldn’t do that. I remember that because it was very striking. I didn’t hate Reagan (I was very young) but I knew that I could do that if I wanted to.
The same issue is at us today: should the government involve itself in personal choices. To be fair, gay-marriage is not entirely personal. Marriage is a public union that is recognized by the state. But if we pride ourselves on living in a country where “all men are created equal,” we must wonder why the government sees fit to “grant” marriage to some, but not to others. But the issue is deeper than all men being created equal and goes back to the phrase before that: “We hold these truths to be self-evident”. It is self-evident that all men are created equal. The Constitution, and the government by extension, does not grant equality because it is not theirs to grant. We are humans, and thus, equal.
This, I believe, is what the Founding Fathers had in mind when they created this country. It is the idea that we are capable of making our own decisions. We are even capable of making our own mistakes. But we can make them ourselves. Denying people the opportunity to marry just because they do not wish to marry in the conventional sense is not, I believe, what was envisioned for this country. People who wish to marry have made a choice. It was their decision to make and the government should not interfere with that decision because it is not their place to interfere.
But here we are. We limit some while encouraging others. Why? I just wish that our dear President and all of right-wing America (as well as some of the people in the center who think that we’re all out to get them and destroy their “most enduring human institution”) would just say what they really mean: “When I think of gay marriage, I think of gay sex. When I think of gay sex, I get grossed out.”
But thats not good enough in America. At least it shouldnt be. What does it say about us when we try to limit the freedoms of someone when that freedom does absolutely no harm to us? I am fine with limiting freedoms for acts which will harm others, but gay marriage is completely harmless.
The worst part of it all is an attempt to change the Constitution to prohibit this. The Constitution is a near-sacred text that ensures, not revokes, freedoms.
So, what will history say about us? How will these arguments look in 50 years? We look back on the Civil Rights movement of the 60s and wonder how it was even possible for blacks to be treated so poorly. The very idea of segregation is appalling. But it was standard practice 50 years ago. Is denial of gay-marriage as bad as racism of the 60s? Probably not. But it is the same idea. And I believe that history will look back on this in much the same way.
We shouldnt have to have this debate. We should not have to fight for equality because it is self-evident that all men are created equal. But we do have to fight. So we will. Why? Because this is America and in America, everyone should have every opportunity to do what they please as long as they are not harming someone else. That is the real issue at hand; not the sanctity of marriage, but our ability to make our own choices. It is not the governments role to grant or deny that because we are all equal; not by government authority, but because we are humans.