Evolving Marriage

A few days ago, the President of the United States said, “It is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think that same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

“It’s about time,” I first thought to myself. The fact that this is still even an issue is rather disappointing to me, but at least there’s progress.

Same-sex marriage has been in the public sphere for a while now, and there are several positions taken against it that are just not convincing.

Such as:

It’s too radical.
Since when is joining the military, getting married, and starting a family radical?

It’s unnatural.
So is plastic, and plastic’s everywhere. Plus, being heterosexual is not a magic bullet to a happy relationship; trust me on this one.

It’s against God, the Bible, or certain religious beliefs.
We don’t live in a theocracy (thank God), and while you’re entitled to your religious beliefs, they’re irrelevant to the  secular aspects of marriage. The movement in support of same-sex marriages has not really been trying to convince the church that it’s a good idea, rather it has been working to secure the same secular rights for same-sex couples that traditional couples enjoy.

It’s a slippery slope to people marrying turtles or something.
This one has its logical fallacy stated explicitly, and let me know when turtles can sign legal documents.

Children need a mother and a father.
If that’s the case, then I think the children who need the most help are those with a single parent or none at all.

It’s an issue of State’s rights.
No it isn’t.
The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution states, “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”
So, States do not have the right to discriminate.

It will destroy the sanctity of marriage.
Like how interracial marriages did in America before 1967?

In 1958, two residents of Virginia got married in Washington D.C. to avoid the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which prohibited the marriage between a white person and any non-white person. Upon returning to Virginia, police invaded their home in the middle of the night and arrested them from their bed, their crime being a white/non-white couple that had married out of state and returned to Virginia. The resulting Supreme Court case Loving v. Virginia (1967) declared that discriminating couples on the basis of race was unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause and Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.

Interracial marriages used to be illegal and even justified under God. Now they are hardly a controversy and can happen relatively freely under the law, and so I think it will one day be with same-sex marriages.

Having said all that, even though the arguments against same-sex marriages are not that interesting, the fact that some people take them seriously is. The world is a messy, diverse, and complicated place, whereas people for whatever reason are often trying to straighten things out and impose order on the world to make it easier to understand. The framing that marriage, which is deeply personal, is something special between a man and a woman can be a fundamental building block that gives meaning to people’s lives.

However, America is not really about protecting people’s fundamental assumptions. The America we are striving to be is about supporting freedom and equal rights, and discriminating a minority of people based on their sexual orientation is inconsistent with that goal.

Also, if people never learned to think outside the box, there would be no progress, as uncomfortable and vulnerable as coming out may be.

Michael Barrett

About Michael Barrett

I'm an Environmental Studies major, the president and co-founder of Introverts United and the Multi-Ethnic Student Society (MESS), and a co-founder of the Interfaith Club and Interfaith Living Learning Community. Since my start at Rollins, I have been involved with the Office of Multicultural Affairs, serving as a work-study for five of my six semesters here. I have also been a journalist for R-Net and R-Journals.

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