Marriage in America is about as sacred as our freedom to divorce, but this sacred sentiment is continually used as a defense against homosexual marriages. The government contends that allowing homosexuals to openly legalize the love they already outwardly express is wrong, because it contradicts social norms.
Just for the record, homosexuality can hardly be considered taboo. Television shows like NBC’s “Will and Grace” and Showtime’s “The L Word” openly discuss homosexuality. Howard Stern banks on his lesbian interviews and make-out sessions.
Homosexuals hold steady jobs, own homes and cars, and go to school. Heck, they even vote! If we had always kept such a strong hold on social norms, there would have never been a civil rights or women’s suffrage movement. Perhaps for some those were radical changes as well, but culture is meant to evolve in order to survive.
Connie Mackey of the Family Research Council criticized a Massachusetts court which ruled in November that bans on gay marriages are unconstitutional. Mackey argued that culture historically defines family as one man and one woman with the purpose of raising children. Unfortunately, she does not discuss the rights of other less controversial cultural deviants: single parents, couples unable to have children or even couples that don’t want children.
Elizabeth Birch, director of the Human Rights Campaign, told CNN the courts are not obligated to support the popular vote. She reminded us that the purpose of the constitution is to protect minority groups from the wrath of the majority. Especially when the majority is the hypocritical American public.
President Bush commented on his resolution to defend the sanctity of marriage in his State of the Union speech, which came after the court ruling. His stance is based solely on the issue of homosexual marriages. Bush doesn’t seemed concerned with the majority of married couples who divorce or commit adultery or abuse their spouses. Somehow these discretions don’t seem to break the sanctity of marriage.
Stanley Kurtz of “The Weekly Standard” argues against gay marriages because of what it might lead to. Legalizing gay marriages would be the slippery slope to legalizing polygamy and group marriage, Kurtz said. But gay marriage will not lead to the slippery slope. The slippery slope has already begun. It started when we separated church from state. It started when we stopped defining moral values for the nation. It started when we allowed people the freedom to express themselves — their minds, their hearts, their rights.
But all this presupposes the bigger issue of the government’s right to involve in marriage at all. Marriage is only sacred because it is an oath between two people and occasionally their God. The government’s consent does not make it sacred, only legal. Allowing the government to pick and choose which types of marriages are lawful gives them the right to say who we can and cannot rightfully love. If two people are willing to make such a serious commitment, legalities become mere technicalities. It won’t stop the cultural change, and it is sad that the government would even try.
Sarah Chacko is a senior news-editorial journalism major from Fort Worth.