Just recently I engaged in a debate with a classmate revolving around the issue of marriage equality in America, which began as part of a larger argument on GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who can fairly be billed as the most stringent anti-gay rights politician in recent memory.
His socially conservative views on this particular issue, which include favoring a federal constitutional amendment barring gay marriage, are quite frankly hateful and threaten to fully erase the progress we have made in recent years to advance the cause of equal treatment for all Americans.
After thinking about this debate, I was inspired to record three of the most common arguments against gay
marriage and show why they are at their core factually inaccurate, illogical and wholly discriminatory.
An argument against gay marriage goes as follows: allowing gays to marry would ruin the sanctity of the institution of marriage. I mean, what’s next? Polygamy? Bestiality?
With the highest divorce rate in the world (4.95 per 1,000 people), I’m pretty sure loving, same-sex couples in committed relationships are the least threat to the institution of marriage.
What about Kim Kardashian’s 72 day marriage or the 2004 marriage of Brittany Spears, which lasted just 55 hours? Where are the proponents of “the sanctity of marriage” in these cases to call foul?
They are clearly too busy focusing their venomous attacks on those who want only the same thing heterosexual couples want: a chance to be devoted by marriage with the person they love. Allowing more people to marry can do no harm to the sanctity of marriage.
And as for the slippery slope theory that claims allowing homosexuals the right to marry will lead to individuals wanting to marry animals or more than one person – it speaks for itself in just one word: ridiculous.
Another often touted argument against same-sex marriage is if gay couples are already in loving relationships, why do they need the title of marriage, anyway?
I counter those who use this argument with a question: Why do straight people need the title?
Quite simply, heterosexual people have the right to marry who they wish, so why shouldn’t gay couples enjoy that same right?
Because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex couples are denied over 1,000 marriage benefits available to heterosexual couples. Technicalities leave them to sustain up to an additional $467,562 in costs over a lifetime because they are denied these benefits.
In the U.S., when one citizen has a right that another citizen doesn’t have, it’s called unconstitutional and discriminatory. I couldn’t think of a more crystal clear example of discrimination.
The final argument conservatives use is by reminding us that marriage has traditionally been between a man and a woman. You can be with whomever you want, but don’t call it marriage because it’s not. A civil union is a better name.
Who says that has to be the definition of marriage? We seem to have very short memories in this country. Less than 50 years ago, there were still laws on the books banning interracial marriage. The definition of marriage isn’t set in stone to one time period, country or culture – it evolves.
Calling it something else, like a civil union, similarly makes homosexuals feel as if they are not equal enough to be treated with the same marriage rights as heterosexuals. It sends the message they are nothing more than second-class citizens, who can be treated differently because of their orientation.
There are many more absurd arguments designed to undermine the basic tenets of equal rights for all in this country. I am confident that in time, this discrimination will fade as individuals realize that being gay is no different than being of a particular religion, race, color or nationality.
This much is obvious, nobody should be treated unjustly because of who he or she is.