You’ve probably noticed some of your Facebook friends swapping their profile pictures today in favor of an ‘equals’ sign, like this one, on the right. For those unaware and curious of the semi-organized nature of this trend, people are using this symbol today to show their support for marriage equality. Why today? Because the case is being taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court today. The court is hearing a case concerning California’s Prop 8, which calls for a state constitutional amendment to ban gay couples from getting married. The decision from the highest court in the country could go a long way in determining the future of marriage equality in this country.
I’m well aware this is an uncomfortable issue for many people. I’m well aware this is a political, personal and very sensitive issue for many of you. For those reasons, I do not take lightly when I make an overt political statement on my social media channels. And yes, this issue reaches far beyond Ds and Rs and for whom I’m voting on Election Day.
You may disagree with marriage equality, and that is your prerogative. However, is it necessary to create legislation and constitutional amendments restricting the rights of Americans?
“We must protect the sanctity of marriage.”
I understand marriage is an important part of people’s lives. But how is prohibiting a gay couple from getting married protecting the sanctity of marriage? The idea that gay couples will somehow hamper the institution is lost on me; especially when you consider the current divorce rate among heterosexual couples is about 50 percent.
And what’s more, how does another couple’s marriage affect yours? It doesn’t. You are not being asked to marry a gay person here.
“I’m against it because of my religion.”
If you choose to oppose marriage equality based upon your interpretation of your religion, fine. But marriage is not exclusively a religious institution. It may be a religious institution to you, but not to everyone. After all, a couple can be legally married in the eyes of the state and never once set foot in a church, temple or mosque. And their marriage is every bit equal to yours that was performed by your pastor. I mean this as no disrespect to my friends of faith. I’m just pointing out that whatever spiritual beliefs drive your passions are not compromised by marriage equality.
Marriage equality doesn’t mean your church must now marry gay couples against its will. It simply means the state will now marry gay couples.
“Why can’t they just have civil unions and leave marriage to straight couples?”
Part of it is a simple matter of money. A marriage license costs about $100 or less and covers a myriad of rights and benefits for the couple. Drawing up a civil union that covers those same rights and benefits can cost upwards of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Civil unions also can be challenged in court. After all that money spent to draw up a contract, it can be struck down by a judge, whereas marriage laws are universal. No one disputes the legal rights of a spouse when the other is in a car accident, for example. Civil unions or no, gay couples do not enjoy this same right. Marriage equality will settle it.
“What’s next? Marrying a dog? A child? Can three people get married now?”
Ah, yes. The Santorum argument. And much like the man himself, this argument is full of Santorum. Conflating marriage equality to bestiality, pedophilia or any other imaginary menace concocted by Rick Santorum is the very height of a strawman argument. No one is asking to marry an animal or child. The stance is simple: two consenting adults (emphasized, for Santorum’s sake) should be allowed to marry one another, regardless of gender. Any such nonsense about marrying animals and whatnot is creepy and distracting.
“I don’t care what people do, but why do they have to flaunt it?”
Ask yourself a question: did you post a photo of your wedding day on Facebook? Did you post photos of your kids when they were born? On their birthdays? At family holidays? Did you post your wedding photos again on your anniversary? If you’ve gotten married recently or had kids, chances are you’ve shared those memories with your friends on Facebook. Now ask yourself this question: are you doing it to “flaunt it” at people, or to share your life with your friends?
I’m betting your answer is the latter. So it goes for our friends and family members who are gay. Just like you, they are proud and happy to share their lives with their friends on social media. And on this day, they and their supporters choose to share their belief that now is the time for marriage equality as a show of solidarity.
Standing against marriage equality means we are that much closer to actual, binding amendments stating certain Americans do not enjoy the same constitutional rights as other Americans. I can think of only one other time in our nation’s history when such a provision was written into our laws and I don’t think anyone is in a hurry to extol or repeat that measure.
We are not flaunting anything today. We are simply saying the time is now for marriage equality.