Opinion: President’s stance on gay marriage an important step forward toward equality for all

Story by Cory Waltrip, editor-in-chief

Cory Waltrip

Whether it was because of Vice-President Joe Biden’s speaking mishap or whether it was planned all along, President Obama’s declaration of full equality for homosexuals is long overdue. This announcement is a step our nation has needed to make since the first gay-pride parade marched through the streets of New York City in 1969. This is an issue that transcends party divides. This shouldn’t be about red or blue; it should be about the colors of the rainbow finally blending in with the stars and stripes. How many equality movements will it take before we realize that every group, every gender, every ethnicity, every sexual orientation deserves the same rights and the same privileges that Americans hold so dear? Those privileges include marriage, and I don’t care what religion you believe in, you aren’t any better than Jim Crow himself if you deny any person that right. 

If this was a shrewd political move or just an accidental occurrence by a sloppy second-in-command, it has immediately turned into something much bigger. Of course, after Obama’s announcement, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had to issue a counterpoint saying that he was vehemently opposed to gay marriage to appease his backwards supporters (mind you, I say backwards only in the context of this issue). But these supporters are beginning to dwindle in numbers as gay marriage supporters now hold the majority over the ignorant dissidents. This is because the American populace is starting to realize the ludicrousness behind outlawing gay marriage. And that is truly what it is: pure, unfiltered ridiculousness.

Believe what you will, but one of the founding beliefs of this country is freedom of religion, and another American core value is equality for all. And countless courageous visionaries have fought this battle for equality before, so my question is, why are we still fighting? Why are there still gay pride parades? Why can’t two of my American brothers or sisters express the ultimate form of love for each other?  The answer is blindness: the inability to see that your actions, your beliefs are infringing on a group of people’s fundamental rights.

Americans have worked far too hard for far too long to halt their progress in the fight for equality. Philosopher George Santayana’s words illustrate our problem clearly: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Very few Americans would disagree with this statement: every person should have the same rights as the person standing next to them. Yet we continue to disregard our better values and deny that person his or her full rights. It makes me sad to think that our society is still nearly split on this issue, but I have hope that we will see the light.

My final point is about the religious argument behind opposing gay marriage, as if I haven’t angered enough people thus far. I constantly hear and see the point that the Bible states that marriage is between a man and a woman. The Bible may say this, but there are countless other examples of outdated biblical laws that simply wouldn’t fly in modern society. For example, if a man cheats on his wife, or vise versa, both the man and the woman must die (Leviticus 20:10). How about this one: anyone who curses or blasphemes God should be stoned to death by the community (Leviticus 24:14-16). I’m not sure that even the most radical groups could support that passage. Though my knowledge of various holy scriptures is weak, I do believe that a prevailing message in any religion is acceptance and love. Whether you believe in Allah, God, Jesus, Moses, Buddha, or nothing at all, acceptance and love is in your soul and it’s supported by your religion.

Obviously, I’m passionate about this issue, and clearly I only see it from one side. But I truly believe that there is only one side to this issue. There should be no discrimination in our great nation, and there should be equality for all. Not partial equality, full equality. I have no doubts that gay marriage will be legal in this country some day, but I can only hope that day comes soon. And last week our leader took a great leap towards reaching that beautiful goal.

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