It’s OK, America. The world is not going to come to an end if we do the right thing and allow same-sex marriages. To bar them is no different than telling blacks, red heads, or the left-handed they can not marry. Under our Constitution, it is nothing short of discrimination not to allow same-sex marriages. However, with that said, our Constitution allows the freedom of religion and this is where government and religion clash because marriage has evolved into two forms; that which is defined by one’s religious teachings and that which is defined by Constitutional law.
There is nothing that prevents a church from openly opposing same-sex marriages. If, for instance, a church makes it clear it will not perform same-sex marriages due to a conflict with the teachings of the church, they are within their right to do so. If a same-sex couple wants their marriage recognized by that church, it is not up to the church to change their position on the issue. While the same-sex couple is free to wish the church would change, they should not expect it.
What people who are opposed to same-sex marriages for religious reasons need to remember is those reasons are not factored in when deciding whether or not such marriages should be legal under the law. Keep in mind, our nation was founded by religious outcasts who faced persecution by remaining in Europe because of their beliefs. They went out of their way to establish a country where church and state are separate from one another and the rule of law out weighs the rule of religion. We have a Constitution that is unique in its ability to adapt to and ever changing culture, something countries like France, Russia, and China have struggled with since 1776.
Under our Constitution, all citizens are afforded the same rights, not just the ones who we agree with. It is what has allowed blacks to be counted as a full citizen and not as two-thirds of one as once was the case. It is what was used to give women the right to vote and to rid us of the harsh child labor we once relied on.
We live in a time in which the marriage rate continues to decline. More and more heterosexual couples are choosing not to marry. In Los Angeles, 54 percent of the adult population is not married. Couples cohabitate, procreate, and share finances, but they do not tie the knot, making it much easier for them to bail out at the first sign of difficulty.
There are also more marriages that only remain so in name because of the high cost of divorce and the financial challenges of living apart. Each person in the couple will see and date others while failing to fill out the legal documents to dissolve the marriage. This should be a greater concern to citizens in states fighting same-sex marriages.
Another argument made by opponents of same-sex marriage is the claim that people choose to be gay. There has been quite a bit of research into seeing whether or not there is the existence of a “gay” gene to determine the validity of this belief.
Lets just assume there is no “gay” gene and people choose to be gay. That would then mean other people choose to be straight. Sexual preference cannot be a choice for some and not for others. If straight people can choose to marry, stay single, or live together, why shouldn’t a gay person be allowed the same choices? While there may be religious arguments to support opposing same-sex marriages, there is no legal argument that justifies forcing gay couples to remain single or to live together but not to marry. Under the law, we are all allowed the same freedoms and choices no matter our religious beliefs, gender, race, or sexual orientation.
At a time when the institution of marriage is crumbling in the straight world, it should be celebrated when same-sex couples want to embrace the commitment required for marriage. Love and happiness are not relegated to just the straight world.
Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are rights for all human beings no matter what one’s religion teaches. While as individuals we are free to place God first in our lives, it should always be remembered we live in a nation founded on the principle no one person or entity is above the law.
To oppose same sex marriages is to oppose the concept that our Constitution applies equally to all people of all races, genders, religious beliefs, and yes, even sexual orientation.
Supporting same-sex marriage does not mean you approve of any particular lifestyle. It simply means you believe our Constitutional law comes before anything else. It is what allows us to accept what and who we do not like as our equal and expects them to do the same in return. It does not impose the beliefs of one over another but allows equality to everyone. It is time we all focus on more important issues and accept the fact that same-sex marriage is Constitutionally just and long over due.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.
James Moore is a life long resident of California and retired school teacher with 30 years in public education. Jim earned his BA in History from CSU Chico in 1981 and his MA in Education from Azusa Pacific University in 1994. He is the author of Teaching The Teacher: Lessons Learned From Teaching and currently runs his own personal training business, In Home Jim, in Hemet, CA. Jim’s writings are often the end result of his thoughts mulled over while riding his bike for hours on end.