Opinion column: Gaining some ground

By Angela Loiacono

The recent striking down of California’s state law banning same-sex marriage as unconstitutional is a huge step for gay civil rights in this nation.

This action stems from the California Supreme Court’s nullification of a law made by San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom that allowed same-sex marriage. Newsom’s law was struck down because the court decided that the state traditionally limited marriage to a union between a man and a woman. Of course, argument from tradition is a fallacy, and the judge who struck down the ban of same-sex marriage noted as much.

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“Simply put, same sex marriage cannot be prohibited solely because California has always done so before,” Judge Richard Kramer concluded.

The argument in the 1950s and 60s for racial segregation was based on tradition. Alabama Governor George Wallace exclaimed “Segregation yesterday. Segregation today. Segregation forever!” (Doesn’t it seem odd that a certain campus group uses a variation on that quote as their slogan?) Just because it was socially acceptable to discriminate against blacks in the past for some reason gave the Alabama public the notion that things should stay that way. Obviously the rest of the nation saw the error in that – so why is there so much angst in giving equality to gays?

It’s fantastic that the political right of same-sex marriage is spreading, despite messages against that are sent down from the White House.

On the national level, however, ignorance takes its toll on this issue. Although a Constitutional Amendment to ban same-sex marriage was voted down in the House last fall, there was still a bit of resentment from some Congressmen. As Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) eloquently put it, “God created Adam and Eve. He didn’t create Adam and Steve.”

Along with having a hilarious name, Congressman Bartlett holds the popular objection to same-sex marriage: the Bible says we shouldn’t have same-sex marriage, so of course we shouldn’t have it.

Well, seeing as the United States isn’t a theocracy, that argument doesn’t hold much ground. Our country has an amazing thing called freedom of religion. If you are a Christian and don’t believe in same-sex marriage, then you probably shouldn’t marry someone of the same-sex, and you’re completely free to do that. Saying that other people should do the same would be imposing your religion on them, and that’s unconstitutional.

President Bush’s push for an amendment to ban same-sex marriage is outrageous, even more so due to the fact that Bush is pushing it from the religious standpoint. Our constitution is not the Bible.

Since when has it been okay to persecute people for their lifestyles and beliefs? The reason America was formed was so that people would have a place that accepted everyone for who they were, not for the things they believed in.

If you still don’t think that we should let people of the same-sex marry, let me ask: why do you care? It simply does not affect you. If you think it’s gross, it still doesn’t matter. Old people have sex and that’s gross, but you’re not going to go telling old people to get divorces and not have sex. If you think the goal of marriage is to procreate, it doesn’t matter! It’s not your business to go around defining marriage because, although it may make you happy for some strange reason, it prevents happiness in countless numbers of people.

I could go on, but any reason for banning same-sex marriage simply doesn’t matter. It’s just not anybody’s business except for those in the marriage.

This decision by the California judge is one big step in the right direction. The only minority left in America where it is still socially, and sometimes even politically acceptable, to discriminate against is gay people. Hopefully more actions like this will be taken in the very near future to decrease the discrimination of gays and bring them above the level of second-class citizens.