Obama’s Support of Gay Marriage Could Revitalize Civil Rights Discussions.

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President Barack Obama became the first pro-gay marriage president.

Matt Brownsword

President Barack Obama became the first pro-gay marriage president.

 

In an election year, the tensions between opposing political parties are strong, with each party trying to capatalize on each other’s mistakes. Republicans and Democrats have vehemently opposed each other, creating copious amounts of speeches and attack advertisements against the opposition. On May 10, ABC reporter Robin Roberts interviewed President Barack Obama on a topic that had been brought up only two days prior by his Vice President Joe Biden: gay marriage.

Obama, having described himself as “evolving” on the topic, expressly affirmed support for gay marraige. Gay Marraige has long been a topic for debate in the circles of both parties, as there are homosexual members in each party. These gay marriage advocators seem to uniformly vote for the politicians, legislators, and laws that support gay marriage regardless of other political motives—and can you blame them?

In the presidential election of 1860, Abraham Lincoln ran on the platform on the restriction of slavery in the southern states, so that the ‘immoral institution’ of slavery would be confined to the south and would not expand to the south. That platform is lost in the southern states’ reaction, however, as they seceded because they thought that slavery was being threatened, and that the rights and livelihood of southerners were being infringed upon because the federal government was threatening to take away what the southerners held sacred.

Why is this relevant? How can the southern reaction to the election of Lincoln possibly compare to Obama’s support of gay marriage? Consider the anti-homosexual ideality: Republicans (and any other anti-homosexual people) argue that the ‘sanctity of marriage’ will be sullied by gay marriage. The institution of marriage is, by their account, religious, and since the Bible, or any other religious text, denounces gay marriage, so religious freedom is ultimately threatened. This sentiment is absolutely ridiculous. Like the south in 1860, anti-homosexual advocates are defending something that is not being threatened at the present moment. If religious text disallows a man marrying a man or a woman marrying a woman, then the churches have the right to not allow the religious process, just like the church could do with funerals.

However, the equality of marriage as a civil rights issue can not seriously be debated—just because a man is intimate with a man and not a woman (or a woman with a woman and not a man) does not mean that the pair is not allowed the rights that are given to heterosexual couples. Thirty states have some statute ban on same-sex marriages, while six states have a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and nineteen have a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and other forms of same-sex unions.

It is not always (or ever) that I denounce and rag on North Carolina, but on May 8, North Carolina voted to agree with the other eighteen other states that have a constitutional amendment banning any same-sex union. Proponents of the ban donned a sticker promoting ‘Real Marriage’ with a woman and a man on the sticker. Tami Fitzgerald, who heads the pro-amendment group Vote FOR Marriage NC, said that the vote told the nations that we “don’t rewrite the nature of God’s design based on the demands of a group of adults”. This sentiment is enigmatic—how can people who support these constitutional bans say that gay marriage threatens the sanctity of religious marriage while defending it by the Bible? What I mean is that religious freedom cannot be threatened when the proponents use religion to castigate other ideals. Clearly, the church has decided that gay marriage is wrong and is shut down within the parameters of the church—which is within the religion’s right in religious freedom—but religious freedom does not entitle religions to impose their ‘higher’ laws on the laws of society. Religious freedom promotes the ability of people to choose the religion that he or she supports, not have others’ religion imposed upon their rights outside of the parameters of religion.

Another major point is that gay marriage is not a choice, but a genetic difference. Legislators in North Carolina have decided that a person can not be guaranteed the same rights as other people based upon a genetic difference in their bodies. Can you name another instance in which certain rights were not given to a certain demographic based upon a difference in genetics? Martin Luther King had a dream “that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal’.” Our nation did rise out of the discrimination of blacks, and they were given all the rights of other people, eliminating discrimination based on skin color. Can Republicans continue to advocate for the continuance of this genetic-biased attitude because it ‘threatens religious liberty’?

The arguments against gay marriage saying that it will lead to other ‘marriage contaminations,’ such as polygamy, or, as Bill O’Reilly put it, “marrying a turtle” should not even be discussed, but sadly people use this as  reasons to be anti-homosexual. Last time I checked, people were not born with the genetic difference that made people want to marry turtles or five people, those are choices—which have clearly determined as wrong (polygamy that is, no discrimination against any turtle-lovers). Homosexuality is not a choice, like polygamy, and that is why homosexuals certainly have the same rights as heterosexuals.

Of all the issues that could define the presidential election of 2012—unemployment, the economy, foreign wars, gun policies—gay marriage is the most ridiculous issue of them all. Religious liberty can not seriously be threatened if government allows same-sex marriage to be legal, not as a religious sacrament, and gives homosexuals the same rights as heterosexuals. The religious sanctity of marriage is not ‘sullied’ and homosexuals get the same rights as regular Americans. Gay marriage support from the president will hopefully lead to his reelection and eventual legislation giving homosexuals the same rights as other Americans.

Gay Americans might need a Martin Luther King-equivalent to say that he or she has a dream that the nation will uphold the principles it was built upon, that the homosexual neighbor will be guaranteed the same rights that heterosexuals take for granted. Maybe Barack Obama can be that luminary for homosexuals, and finally set an issue unrivaled in its ludicrousness since the denial of equal rights for African-Americans to bed.