Just a few days ago, New York became the sixth, and largest, U.S. state to legalize same-sex marriage. I join in the millions of supporters when I say: "Way to go, New York!" This is exciting news and gives hope to many, many others who still do not have that freedom.
Just across the river, in my little state of New Jersey, our governor still say "No way." Normally, I would appreciate someone sticking to their guns, not giving up on their convictions or giving in to social pressures. But...this is different. This is about human rights, civil rights, and the freedoms that we should be able to celebrate in this awesome country of ours.
There was an editorial in my local paper yesterday briefly explaining who is permitted to marry in NJ and who cannot. Can you believe that first cousins can marry in NJ, as well as children under 18 years of age (with parental consent)? What is this - backwoods U.S.A.? Poor Arkansas is always the punchline of those jokes about cousins marrying, but guess what? It's prohibited in Arkansas! And still, gay couples cannot marry.
I know that not everyone shares my viewpoint or supports gay marriage. I appreciate that they have their own perspective. In fact, in a poll on CNN.com, public opinions were split 60% in favor, 40% opposed to legalization of gay marriage. But I cannot, for the life of me, understand how one can justify denying another human being liberties that they themselves are granted. And the arguments don't hold water. Let's try to break it down.
- Gay marriage defies the sanctity of marriage. What about heterosexual couples that cheat or divorce on a whim? Is that ok because they're straight? What about Arnold, John, Anthony and the countless others who have veered off the Golden Path? The public is outraged for about 5 minutes and then forget about it...maybe even forgive, especially if said-cheater makes a lame attempt at redemption via "rehab" or tries to rebuild via a talk show.
- Gay marriage goes against the Bible and God's law. Maybe. But after 12 years of Catholic school and religion classes, I don't recall reading anything of the sort in the Bible (although, as you can imagine, we received the proverbial "It's Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve" lectures). And unless those who use this as an argument personally visited God at home and discussed this topic at length over tea, I highly doubt anyone can say with any certainty this is how it should be. And if that's not enough for you, think about the Golden Rule. Now think about the Ten Commandments. Now, repeat the line in either one that states that gay marriage is wrong. Go on, I'll wait.
I thought so.
- The purpose of marriage is procreation. Is that all? Man, am I in trouble. So are the countless others who either don't have children or can't have children. And all this time I thought I married my husband because we loved each other and wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Boy, was I a dummy. What about those people who have children within the sanctity of marriage who neglect or abuse their children, or worse? Are you not outraged by that more so than if a gay couple married?
- Marriage is a sign of commitment and gay couples cannot commit. Really? I know gay couples that have been together longer than most straight couples. Also, do you realize that the divorce rate in the U.S. is 50%? That's a big number. Many people I love dearly are divorced, and I realize that there are a multitude of reasons for it. To assume that heterosexual couples are immune to these issues, or that gay couples are subject to them, is just plain absurd.
My point is not to offend. My point to make people think. Isn't it time that we move along with the times and realize that a change has to come?