Friday, October 19, 2007
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'' These words written by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence still ring true today, especially in the wake of so many arguments about same-sex marriage. Based on Jefferson's statement, same-sex couples should have the same rights as everyone else, including the right to marry.
There are about 15,368 same-sex couples in Michigan, according to the 2000 census. Nevertheless, because of the Defense of Marriage Amendment from 2004, an amendment many other states have also passed, marriage in Michigan is only allowed between one man and one woman.
This amendment to the Michigan Constitution also outlawed civil unions, a partnership similar to marriage, and partnership benefits, such as inheritance and hospital visitation rights. With this amendment, more than 15,000 couples are without the equal right to marry, a right the United States is supposed to protect. I think Jefferson would be disappointed that the nation he helped to found is now so blatantly disregarding one of his most important tenets -- the right to equality.
Many are opposed to the legalization of gay marriage because of their religious beliefs. The Bible says that homosexuality is a sin. However, in 1948 the Supreme Court ruled that the United States shall have separation of church and state. In keeping with this doctrine, religious arguments should have no place in Congress, or a role in deciding the fate of thousands of same-sex couples.
If the United States truly wishes to uphold the ideas set out in the Constitution, the Defense of Marriage Act should be repealed because it prohibits equality for everyone, which goes against the very foundation of our country. In order to truly have equality, same-sex couples should be allowed to marry just like everyone else.
Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.'' Throughout history, this passage from Leviticus 18:22 has defined our policies on gay marriage and gay rights. Why, in a country supposedly founded on the ideals of equality, is an entire group of unique individuals forced to conform to an archaic view of homosexuality?
The answer to this question is ignorance. Many people simply don't understand the nature of homosexuality. We are too preoccupied with the physical truth to notice the spiritual truth. A gay guy loves his partner in the same way a straight guy does. It's just that the physical expression of that love is different.
Until recently, there was little to no research on how homosexual relationships work or why they happen. This left the Bible unopposed in its outdated viewpoint. Modern research, however, has shown that homosexuality is a normal part of nature.
There are numerous cases of homosexuality occurring in the animal kingdom. For example, 1,500 species of animals, including dolphins and primates, have exhibited homosexual behavior. This points to genetic causes, as these animals lack the reasoning capabilities of humans which might lead to selective homosexuality.
Gay marriage opponents say it would debase the American concept of the family. This is, once again, an unsubstantiated claim. Denmark has allowed gay marriage since 1989, and the law has had many positive effects: a reduction in suicide, a reduction in the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and in promiscuity and infidelity among gays.
Clearly, gay marriage is opposed purely on an antiquated claim that it is evil and immoral. However, science and social experimentation have shown it is quite the opposite.
It can have a very positive effect, making society more accepting and empathetic to those who are different than the majority.
Marriage is considered the ultimate display of affection between two loving partners. But, recently, it seems love isn't enough. Now the government thinks that whom you marry is just as important as why.
Though gay men and women have an undeniable love for one another, the states, except Massachusetts, deny them the right to marry.
Homosexuality is really just a matter of preference. Just as somebody may prefer a certain food or color over another, gay men and women just happen to find their own gender more appealing than the other. So what gives us the right to tell homosexuals it's wrong to be attracted to the same sex?
Those who do not believe in same-sex marriage have many excuses why it should not be allowed. Many right-wing conservatives say this is a pro-marriage concern, but it is actually an anti-gay issue.
Another argument is that gay relationships are immoral. Who says they are immoral? The Bible? I am sure freedom of religion includes freedom from religion. In fact, not all religions shun homosexuality. Many sects of Buddhism actually celebrate gay relationships so wouldn't outlawing gay marriage outlaw their right to freedom of religion?
Plus, religion should never have a hand in politics. However, our government chooses to do the sensible thing by upholding the sanctity of marriage, because keeping our prejudices is far more important than other issues we are facing today.
The most logical way of ending this debate is to legalize gay marriage. For those right-wing conservatives, gay marriage will not diminish your values and God will not smite them once married.
If you look at it for what it really is, outlawing gay marriage makes just about as much sense as outlawing cursing. It's ridiculous and unnecessary.
© 2007 Michigan Live. All Rights Reserved.
© 2007 Michigan Live. All Rights Reserved.