I regularly read the Skiff and usually find the articles to be quite interesting and informative about the happenings on campus. Unfortunately, this was not the case on Thursday, August 26th. The perspective offered by Shane Smith in his piece “Same-sex marriage harmful” was extremely offending and some of the conclusions he has drawn are simply ridiculous. I hoped that the students at our school were more tolerant of different lifestyles than our own, but Mr. Smith clearly is not.
I was confused as I began reading because the first third of the article states no opinion what so ever, and then as I read the last few sentences of his second paragraph, I was outraged. He writes, “American citizens have the right to live however they choose, as long as their way of life does not harm another human being.”
I have many issues with this opinion, mostly because it isn’t true (Americans have plenty of life choices that are harmful to others and still more harmless choices are against the law), but I’ll focus only on its application to same-sex marriage. He then goes on, writing, “Same-sex marriage is harmful to social roles and relationships of today’s youth.” To say that one person loving another person is harmful to social roles is completely absurd. To which “social roles’ is Mr. Smith referring? The same “social roles’ of men in the 1950s to be the bread winner for their family and his housewife whose sole responsibility was to put dinner in front of her husband and take care of the children? It seems to me as though “social roles’ have changed dramatically over the years and the changes have been for the better.
Mr. Smith further comments that our society has no boundaries or value sets and children should not grow up in such a society. There are more pressing issues than same-sex marriage regarding the destruction of boundaries and value sets in America. Children are being pelted with messages of consumerism, unhealthy lifestyles, body image, etc. every time they turn on the TV or use the Internet. To say that children should not grow up in a society with same-sex marriage is insulting.
I truly hope that Mr. Smith is not insinuating that children should not grow up with same-sex parents. In my opinion, it is more important that children grow up in a loving home with people who care about their well being, that they have food to eat and a place to sleep at night, that those who love them make sure they go to school, and help them with their homework. All of these things and countless others are much more important to a child growing up in America than who their parents are and whether or not they happen to be gay. Being in a same-sex relationship does not make you incapable of taking care of a child, just like being in an opposite-sex relationship does not make you a fit parent.
I am also going to conveniently skip over the third paragraph like Mr. Smith skipped over the fact that several of the founding fathers were deists and anti-religious, Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin for example.
The next few paragraphs state the fact that overturning Proposition 8 goes against Supreme Court precedent as an argument for its negative effects. This logic is flawed. If judicial precedents were never overturned, America would still have slaves, interracial marriage would be illegal, and our schools would still be segregated. Perhaps most importantly to Mr. Smith, would be the ruling of Tinker v. Des Moines which gave students the right to express their views and opinions while at school.
Same-sex marriage is not a religious issue or a “values’ issue, or an issue about “social roles’ in America. Same-sex marriage is an equal rights issue and to deny the rights of any American is to deny the rights of all Americans.