Restricted Love?

By
February 12, 2004

Mills College Weekly

Last week, the Massachusetts Supreme Court stated that offering
same-sex couples anything less than marriage would be
unconstitutional, opening the possibility for legal gay marriages
as early as this spring.

The Weekly applauds Massachusetts for this landmark decision,
but we are concerned that it will mean nothing very soon. Opponents
are already scrambling to craft constitutional amendments banning
same-sex marriages to prevent further similar rulings (for the U.S.
Constitution as well as numerous state constitutions.)

Last year’s historic Supreme Court decision overturning the
Texas sodomy law and essentially legalizing homosexual sex, brought
the issue of gay marriage to the forefront of the social
policy.

Conservatives and liberals alike are currently reminding their
constituents that they do not support marriage rights for gay
couples, and this is appalling. It relegates gays and lesbians to a
sub-class of citizenship, not deserving of the “superior” rights
granted to heterosexuals. A different set of rules applied to
individuals simply because of their consensual partnership choices
is not acceptable.

Our liberal candidates are selling out on this issue, and we
cannot let them do it – just look at John Kerry. After the Court’s
announcement was made, the Democratic presidential front-runner
said, “I oppose gay marriage and disagree with the Massachusetts
Court’s decision. I believe the right answer is civil unions.”

But civil unions are simply a runaround to avoid a touchy issue.
Howard Dean has been the only one to vocalize support for gay
marriage, and his candidacy appears dead in the water.

We cannot create more separate-but-equal laws in a country that
has proven that separate is often anything but equal. Gays and
lesbians deserve the right to legally recognized marriage identical
to that of their heterosexual counterparts.

Remember, there are hundreds if not thousands of Americans with
partners from other countries. For those couples, this matter has
the added weight of immigration laws to consider. The ability for
same-sex couples to marry would mean enormous relief for thousands
who have little or no rights as far as their partner is concerned.
State-sanctioned domestic partner laws don’t apply to foreign
citizens.

There is another fact at play here as well: that marriage is
typically a religious ceremony in this country, and despite our
supposed separation of church and state, there are some religious
institutions here carrying enormous weight in public policy making.
Bush has encouraged this, and burdened us to further dig government
policies out from underneath religious moralities, after his end in
office.

If America is about individual freedom, isn’t the most basic
freedom in our eyes the right to choose who you love? Shouldn’t our
government respect and recognize that choice for everyone equally?
Why would we stand for anything less, regardless of whether our
choice is different from someone else’s?

We are all human, with the right to choose who we love, and have
that love respected by the laws that govern us as a people. Demand
nothing less from your politicians!

The truth is, and not surprisingly, that people get
uncomfortable thinking about sex that doesn’t personally interest
them and they get uncomfortable because gay marriage is the
equivalent of sanctifying gay sex in this country. But this is a
personal matter, and what makes one uncomfortable should not govern
another. Legalizing gay marriage rightly says that marriage is
about more than procreation and homosexuality is not the immoral
sin some love to make it out to be.


Restricted Love? was published on February 12, 2004 in Editorial

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