Monday, October 20, 2008

Our generation's Civil Rights Movement

I, like most of the people I know, am following the election. I am pretty sure of who and what I am voting for, but today, I read something that made me think. Sarah Palin has said that she thinks gay marriage is wrong and that she believes there should be a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. While this doesn't surprise me at all, i have yet to find someone who can describe to me a rational and logical reason to ban gay marriage. There are people everywhere who are for banning it based on religious beliefs, as well as moral beliefs, but no one has really brought me a good reason as to why it should not be allowed. Then began to wonder if this is what it was like for the Civil Rights Movement?

In 1958, a black woman and a white man in Virginia married outside of the state and, after returning, they were indicted on being in violation of Virginia's laws prohibiting marriage between people of different races. They were sentenced to one year in jail, which was suspended on the condition they do no return to Virginia together for 5 years. They took their case to the Supreme Court, eventually getting the decision overturned in 1967, ending racial based marriage bans. The reason I bring this one up is because I feel the reasoning in this case is extremely similar to the reasoning I hear against gay marriage.

In the case, the judge cited the Bible by saying (and I'm paraphrasing here so don't sue me) that God put all of us on separate continents for a reason, and that God does not want them to intermix. Now, people are saying that marriage should only be between a man and a woman because that's what the Bible says. It's what their religion teaches them, and while I am not faulting them for believing in the Bible, I am faulting for them for making decisions that will affect millions of people in this country based on their religious beliefs.

I am not a religious person nor am I a gay person, so i feel that maybe I don't have the best perspective on the subject. I believe that marriage should be between two people who love each other, regardless of their sex, race, religion, disabilities, height, weight, etc. If two people want to be married, I think they should be allowed to and it is really hard for me to grasp why that is so difficult for people to accept. I cannot understand how people can be so angered by racism, yet not see this as just another form of discrimination. It makes me very sad that people think that being allowed to marry someone you love and have that marriage be acknowledged legally should only be a right straight people have.

I am, of course, open to rational, non-discriminatory, non-religious points of view, but so far, the only ones I have gotten stem from religion. My dad is the only one who says he doesn't think it's a good idea for California because then everyone will come here and our population will increase even more than it already has, causing greater problems within our state's economy. But, overall, as a country, I haven't heard a good reason not to allow gay people to get married. Until I do, I think this issue is going to continue to frustrate me...

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