OPINION: Marriage equality is essential to a truly free America

Supporters of marriage equality stand before the Supreme Court to express their views (photo courtesy of Taylor Jervis/Flickr).
Supporters of marriage equality stand before the Supreme Court to express their views (photo courtesy of Taylor Jervis/Flickr).

Hundreds of people gathered in D.C. last Tuesday, March 26, to show both  support and opposition as the Supreme Court began its hearings on California's gay marriage ban. Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman, overturning California's Supreme Court decision previously legalizing same-sex marriage. The issue here is to determine whether Prop 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act violate the 14th amendment, which guarantees equal protection under law. But there's a bigger issue here that questions what the United States of America really means when it proclaims "equal rights for everyone." And now the outcome of one of America's most controversial issues depends on the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court.

But in today's age, why is this such a big deal?

The equal right to marry whomever you please should be a basic American liberty. Gay and lesbian Americans are—and should be—allowed to love, to live together and to raise children. However, the opinion on same-sex marriage has been shifting in favor of supporters; therefore, we may one day see gay marriage become a reality across the entire country. This isn't really surprising as it seems that most social change in the U.S. has arisen after years of opposition and protests, as seen in the civil rights and women's suffrage movements.  Perhaps this is just history repeating itself and we are just following it out to its inevitable conclusion: equal marriage rights.

Marriage should be a decision between any two people who love each other to join together in union and in holy matrimony. That's right—two people. Therefore, what they decide to do and who they decide to marry is between them. No danger will be inflicted upon us. Pigs will not fly. And just as you wouldn't want people to be scrutinizing your marriage and who you’re marrying, same-sex couples don’t want to be judged by you. Our country was founded on equality. We took the steps—and still are—to fight opposition to make that equality happened for blacks, women, religious groups and other minorities. So what's the difference here?  Nothing. We’re all people and we all deserve basic constitutional and human rights, including our right to marry.

One argument that opponents make is that they want to uphold the sanctity of marriage. I'm a Christian, so I've heard it before. But it seems like the opponents are taking verses out of context and molding them to fit their standpoint. I'm not going to get deep into the religious aspect of the argument for many reasons, one being because not all that oppose same-sex marriage are Christians. I'll just add my two cents and leave it at that.

So for those that do use religion as their point, I will leave it at this: sin is sin in the eyes of God, no matter how big or small we perceive it to be. And we all sin. So, as Christians, we have no right to judge another person. But Jesus' sacrifice was the atonement for all of our sins and, as Christians, we are to love people from all walks of life. For Christians, John 14:6 in the Bible clearly expresses that no one gets to the Father but through Jesus, not through who they decide to marry.

Going off of that point, our country is founded on liberty, equality and the Constitution. No matter what the percentage of Christians  that live in the U.S. is, the United States does not have an established religion; therefore, using it as the basis for an argument is invalid when discussing the U.S. as a whole.

It's not about whether  you support same-sex marriage or not. It's about supporting the fact that those who are in same-sex relationships deserve the same rights as everybody else—it's about equal rights for everyone.

We have to evaluate what is really meant when we say "constitutional." Does it really mean equal, or is it equal for the majority? The 20th and 21st century has been full of achievements towards the road to equality, but there is still a long way to go before we can truly declare ourselves free. In freedom there is equality, including the freedom to marry the person we love—whether the same gender or different. 

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