Making Gay Marriage the Law of the Land

Supreme-Court-Gay-Marriage-300x198Everything communicates something!

Having 30 States in this great land with constitutional amendments preventing the legalization of same sex marriage communicates to citizens that people who are gay are not worthy of equal rights. When a society coalesces around denying rights, it does so by making a group fair game for its retribution. Justice Roberts intimates that the gay rights movement is politically savvy and will create a positive destiny without help from the courts. Tell this to the middle school student who is bullied to the brink of suicide because his or her community sees gays as a legitimately disenfranchised group. The right to marry would communicate once and for all, here and abroad, that gays are unequivocally equal to any citizen and that prejudice against them is not to be tolerated. This will not stop prejudice in the short term, but it puts it clearly within the realm of un-American behavior. The potency of this statement cannot be ignored. The alternative: decades of suffering for all those who live in states that will not only continue to bar gay marriage, but will feel free to redouble their efforts to discriminate against this group in all other ways available under the law.

Justice Alito used the argument that same-sex marriage is newer than cell phones as reason that it should be approached cautiously. However, his sentiment confuses the point. Gays didn’t just appear on the scene with the advent of the Internet. No, they have been around since the beginning of humanity itself. They have loved, and shared love. Now that they have finally found an atmosphere where they can share this love openly, it is strange that the argument used against them is basically, “Straight society has done such a good job of preventing recognition of your relationships for so many centuries. Isn’t it a bit hubristic that gays should expect us to give up our ways? After all, we have become so comfortable with our prejudice that we consider it normal?” However, the fact is that gays in committed relationships live together, have joint bank accounts, have children together, have wills to secure a transfer of wealth to one another, see each other through good and bad times, and support one another financially and emotionally. The court is not being asked to rule on the right of gay persons to do any of these things. The Court is only asked to determine if, in the self-described freest nation on the planet, these relationships are equal under the law to heterosexuals.

If the Justices are only looking at the articulate, well-spoken and affluent faces in the gay marriage debate, they have missed the true opportunity before them. Sitting in a classroom in Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi and more than two-dozen other states, are frightened and confused gay teenagers faced with community oppression sanctioned by their state. This is the chance to remove this sanction. There are moments when one is blessed with the power to undo a wrong. Hoping that it will work itself out in a generation or so is not the leadership the majority of American desire.  Nor is allowing suffering from prejudice to thrive out of concern for those that promote that prejudice. The time for bravery is now.

by William Repicci

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *