Before I get into this, let me explain what I mean by “mostly straight”:
I consider myself a heterosexual female. But I also believe that sexuality is not black and white. There is a lot of grey area, and I for one fall smack-dab in the middle of it.
I frequently find other women attractive. I find the female form alluring and sometimes even arousing. I have from time to time fantasized about other women. But I don’t consider myself bisexual. This is primarily because I have never once been so attracted to another woman that I would consider actual sexual relations with her…except maybe Scarlett Johansson. Because damn, she’s hot.
Some say I just haven’t met the right girl yet, but I’m inclined to think that nearly twenty-eight years of life and about eight or nine years of sexual activity have acquainted me pretty well with my own sexual preferences. I have only ever dated guys. I have only ever wanted to date guys. I have only ever wanted to sleep with guys. I’m pretty sure that leans me toward the straight side, with just a few bisexual tendencies. So mostly straight it is.
But I’d like to think that if for some reason I’m wrong about this, and I met a young woman with whom I could fall in love and decided to spend my life with her, that my friends and family could come to terms with that. They might not agree; they might (or if we’re just talking about my family, they WOULD) start praying for my soul with renewed fervor. But I’m fairly certain they would love me anyway.
However, as it stands right now in the state and country I call home, this sexual-identity altering dream girl and I would not be able to make our union legally recognized. And I just don’t think that’s right.
In my mind, the movement for marriage equality is very, very simple. In fact, I believe it boils down to two basic facts:
- We as a society are denying a right to a minority which we extend to the majority. This sort of distinction is the very definition of discrimination.
- Marriage in this context is a civil institution, not a religious one.
If marriage were purely a religious institution, it would negate any marriage not performed in a church by a religious official. Any marriages performed by a Justice of the Peace, ship captain, or other non-religious authority just wouldn’t count. And while you may believe that to be the case according to the tenets of your preferred religion, legally speaking it is not.
You see, in this country we have this handy concept known as Separation of Church and State. This means that religious institutions (i.e., the Church) do not have anything to do with our government (i.e., the State), and vice versa. Proponents of gay marriage are NOT asking the government to dictate what your religious institution is doing; no one is going to force your fundamentalist church to perform weddings for same-sex couples. It is not within the government’s rights to do so. We are simply trying to get a legal, civil right extended to a minority group whose legal and civil rights are currently being denied.
As a civil institution, marriage offers certain legal perks such as tax breaks, power of attorney, and parental custody rights just to name a few. And right now, we’re only offering those perks to heterosexual couples. That is not fair. That is not equal treatment under the law. (And don’t say civil unions, because if it’s the same thing we might as well call it marriage; Separate But Equal is not equal, friends.) And while I’m pretty sure our founding fathers didn’t really think about it in this context, our country was founded on the idea that all men—indeed, all human beings—were created equally, and should be treated equally.
Before I am bombarded with comments about how homosexuality is a sin or same-sex marriage will end the world as we know it, please take a moment to consider why you are even allowed to express those thoughts. Why I am allowed to say exactly what I think in this post. In our Bill of Rights, the founding fathers were nice enough to include two essential freedoms: Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion. Please note that I did not say freedom of speech and religion just for Christians; it’s freedom of speech and religion for everyone. Christians, Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, Taoists, Hindus, Atheists, Agnostics, Mystics, Animists—basically, if you’re not breaking any laws or physically harming anyone, I don’t really care if you believe the earth is a reality show for aliens or some Douglas Adams-ian experiment to discover the meaning of life or that our real creator was a sentient potato. The law doesn’t care either. You can believe whatever you want. And as long as you’re not threatening someone or denying them their equal right to do so, you can say whatever you want.
Denying someone the right to enter into a civil institution because they do not adhere to your own religious ideas is not a valid way of exercising your right to religious freedom. In fact, you are denying them the right to live their lives according to their own religious beliefs or lack thereof, thus denying them THEIR right to religious freedom. And because our state is separate from the church, your religious concerns have no legal bearing on civil institutions.
Despite what you may think, this is not a Christian nation. It was not founded as a Christian nation; it was founded as a place where people could be free. Where people could live their lives according to their own conscience, to seek out their own brand of happiness, and be treated with dignity and respect by their fellow man. Over the years, our thinking has progressed to extend this freedom to all human beings, regardless of race, creed, color, or gender. And for those of us who support the freedom to marry, all we want is to extend those basic rights and freedoms to another minority. A minority that currently is not being treated equally, simply because their lifestyle doesn’t match up with the tenets of certain religions. Simply because they are different from what most people consider “the norm”. That friends, goes against the rights, freedoms, and liberties expressly laid out in our constitution and our bill or rights. And dare I say it, it is un-American.
If you disagree, please feel free to say so. But keep in mind that you aren’t going to change my opinion on this; I’ve thought about it very carefully and come to my own decision based on the facts and my conscience. And I understand that what I’ve said here may not change your opinion one bit either. All I’m asking is that you try to set your religious beliefs aside for a moment and look at the legalities. You may believe that homosexuality is morally wrong, and that is within your rights. But it is not within your rights to deny anyone the same freedoms you allow yourself.
Lastly, I would like to add one more bullet to my list above. While it may not be a “fact” per say, I believe it to be not only the heart of this matter, but also incredibly true:
- Love is love.
No one can invalidate it. And so long as everyone involved is a consenting adult, I think that however you love is up to you. And it is always a beautiful thing.