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Commentary: Gays have the civil right to marry

Branden del Rio, News Editor

Although there was nothing close to it on the Nov. 2 ballot, gay marriage is still an issue that must be dealt with. And by that I mean it should be legalized. The fact of the matter is there is no real argument against legalizing gay marriage.

First, there is no point in “protecting marriage.” That is not to be taken negatively, but the truth is that the institution of marriage is no longer what it used to be. It is far less religious than it was originally.

Today, people are able to get married in a city hall without any mention of God at all if they choose to do so.

Marriage is no longer the means necessary to procreate and begin a family. It has experienced a great change since government became involved and began granting rights to married couples such as the ability to file joint taxes, medical benefits, estate benefits and benefits upon one spouse’s death.

There is nothing wrong with granting these rights to gay couples because currently the only unions they are able to enter do not guarantee these rights. Some opponents claim that domestic partnerships are the gay equivalent to marriage, but that is not so.

Domestic partnerships and civil unions do not grant gay couples the same rights that marriage grants same-sex couples. In some states these alternative unions are not even recognized. Marriage is recognized in all 50 states and even over international borders.

So please, stop trying to “defend marriage” from the gays. The holy sanction is far from what it used to be. It was broken a long time ago when the first married couple was allowed to divorce.

It is difficult to understand those who say they are OK with homosexuality, but are against same-sex marriage because of their religious background.

Not to point fingers, but Christians often cite the Biblical definition of marriage, saying that marriage is a life-long union between a man and a woman, the purpose of which is to build a family.

It is wonderful when this idealized version of marriage takes shape, but often this is not the case.

So what does that mean? Should the right to marriage be denied to couples who do not wish to or cannot reproduce? Should it be denied to couples who do not follow the strict definitions of a religious text? Should divorce become illegal? The simple answer is no.

A religious text should not be the rule of the land and the “because the Bible says so” argument is a weak one.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people should have the exact same rights that straight people are given. Denying LGBT couples the right to marry is discrimination; there is no arguing that it is not.

A group of people being denied a civil right because of who they are or the lifestyle they lead is discrimination in its purest form.

Also gay marriages would not harm anyone physically. According to 2008 data from UCLA’s William’s Institute, nearly 11,000 same-sex couples wed in California when the unions were legal. And nobody died. Not one single opposite-sex marriage ended because same-sex couples were allowed to married.

The religious or moral backgrounds of some should not determine the legality of gay marriage. Even if these people hold strong religious beliefs, the unions should be legalized.

Weddings do not have to take place in their place of worship and those who oppose do not need to attend Adam and Steve’s wedding.

There needs to be universal respect. LGBT couples need to respect that these people have strong religious convictions, but religious conservatives also need to respect the fact that their religion should not be the law and that gay couples deserve equal rights.

As many were saying back in 2008, “If you don’t like gay marriage, then don’t get one.”

Branden del Rio, a sophomore English major, is news editor of the Campus Times. He can be reached by e-mail at branden.delrio@laverne.edu.

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