Gay Marriage: Everyone’s Issue
When taken at face value, many Americans would not think that forbidding gay couples to marry affects them. What many fail to recognize is that these kinds of discriminatory laws reach out and touch every life in this country. For a nation to intentionally and blatantly tell one group of people that they are not entitled to the same rights and protections as other groups of people sheds a dark shadow on the rest of the nation. If the government can interfere so wholeheartedly into the lives of those it is supposed to serve, then none of us are safe. Very few people actually understand why gay marriage is an issue. The overwhelming trends of “changing values”, abandoning religion, and the adaptation of new lifestyles have brought this issue to the forefront. So, if everyone is so against gay “marriage”, the nation needs to extend the rights of marriage to gays, even if it means that it needs to be done under a different title. The Legislative Branch is responsible for making the laws which govern the country. It is never possible to please all of the people, but fairness is always an option. While the traditionalists and religious majority are claiming that “Marriage is a holy union between a man and a women with vows taken before god” ("Same Sex Marriage?"); the government needs to find a position somewhere in the middle of protecting the traditional marriage, and allowing for equal rights and protections for all of its citizens. When the government stepped in and became a part of “marriage”, they essentially needed to remove the religious aspects of it in order to adhere to the long standing policy of “separation of church and state”. This was never done, and because it was never a problem, it has remained a government/religious union that many felt the need to protect because of the religious attachments. Well, it is a problem now. There are hundreds of thousands of American citizens being denied rights and protections because while they are a strong and powerful part of our population, they are still heavily outnumbered by the religious majority seeking to protect the institution of marriage.
To see what must be done by the legislature to right the wrongs done by anti-gay legislation, one must understand the history of this battle and the causes for the recent influx of gay marriage supporters. This battle has been raging since the 1970’s when gay individuals first started questioning why they were not allowed to get married. At that time, most reasoned that they (gays) would just go away, that they were just looking to have the wedding, but cared little about actually being married. No one could have guessed that forty years later, the “gay” population would be doubled in size, the American idea of the “traditional family” would be drastically changed, the religious majority would be experience a major power shift, and that our supreme court would be hearing these cases on a regular basis. If one were to ask the opponents of gay marriage how we got to where we are today, they would likely respond with some kind of comment regarding the demise of the traditional family, or how integrative teaching has changed the expectations of marriage (Sharp 71). Those with a more liberal view may state that, throughout the years, science has opened the eyes of many to be more understanding of homosexuality and may therefore link it to a better tolerance for progressive ideas towards gay marriage (Bornman 30-33).
The increase in the size of the “gay community” has made this an issue that must be addressed. In the 1970’s when the gay marriage debate began, it was fueled mainly by gay males, and lesbian females only. Since then, the “gay community” has increased to include gay men, lesbian women, bisexual men and women, and the transgendered community. The additions of these groups to the supporters of gay marriage, has called for a numbers increase of great magnitude. An example of this...
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