As disgusting as it is, gay rights still aren’t recognized in America. It’s like the classic saying: one step forward, two steps back. When same-sex marriage became legalized in several states, it was then repealed in California, and little ground has been covered since. Hopefully, with measures in several states gaining momentum, same-sex couples will soon be free from discrimination and be able to live equal lives.
Legalizing same-sex marriage is about more than just the word marriage, or the idea of the government condoning homosexuality. Issues include health benefits, sick leave, adoption, and child support. Same-sex couples just aren’t given the same consideration as heterosexual couples. If a partner is ill, the other cannot take sick leave to care for them. If they separate, how does child custody get determined? And it is much more difficult for same-sex couples to adopt children, which limits their partnership immensely. Seems unfair? It is, and not only to these couples, but to their potential children.
So why are there still naysayers? Of course, there’s the usual “protecting the family” answer, which I thought was outdated years ago. Families with heterosexual couples are far from perfect many reasons: abuse, alcoholism and drug use, the high divorce rate, etc. Yet many still think that these problems are far less harmful than the idea of homosexual families. Larry Stickney of Protect Marriage Washington, referring to the imminent legalization of same-sex marriage in Washington, says that most citizens of the state “are uncomfortable with the radical social agenda coming out of Seattle.” Apparently, the idea that two people in love should have the same rights as other couples is absolutely radical, whereas the standard practice of tearing families apart via divorce is normal and acceptable.
Moreover, many of these same-sex marriage laws have provisions allowing members of religious groups to deny same-sex couples the right to marry in their church. With this in mind, I can only wonder why anyone would not accept these laws. Opponents say that marriage is between a man and a woman because the Bible says so, which is a valid point. However, that is the Bible, not United States law. It’s understandable that many don’t want same-sex marriages taking place in their church because their religion frowns upon homosexual couples. But it’s only fair to allow these couples to attain the legal benefits of marriage.
Equality may be scary to many Americans, but moves in this direction have already been made. Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire and Vermont have already legalized same-sex marriage. And though such laws have been repealed in California and rejected in Maine, states like Washington and Michigan are moving in the right direction. Currently, Washington has laws that allow unions similar to marriage, and citizens are voting on an initiative to legalize full marriage. Political leaders in Michigan are attempting to bring the Michigan Constitutional ban on same-sex marriage to a vote so it can be repealed, the first step toward legalization.
Same-sex marriage advocates have had their fair share of difficulties in the past several years, but equality seems to be looming on the horizon. For many, this will mean a huge improvement in their quality of life. Though homosexual couples are not yet widely accepted in the United States, there is a strong enough movement toward acceptance that I believe the day will come.