I used to think that the gay marriage issue didn’t belong to me. It wasn’t my fight, I’m straight. I used to think that it didn’t matter if it was called a civil union or marriage. To me, it was all semantics. I privately thought that the citizenry was probably doing gays a favor by not allowing them to marry. Don’t more than 50% of marriages end in divorce now, anyway?
Then Proposition 8 was put on the ballot in California in a year where I was paying attention to politics closely. Earlier in the year, the California Supreme Court overturned California’s ban on same-sex marriage citing that the state’s Constitution protects the fundamental right to marry. Afterwords, thousands of same sex couples married. Then in November, the California electorate stripped that “right” away by changing the state’s Constitution to say that marriage is between a “man and a woman”. And then last week, the same Court that affirmed gays’ right to marry only a year earlier, upheld the same sex marriage ban imposed by Proposition 8, stripping their rights away.
Now, some will say that same-sex couples in California shouldn’t complain because they still have the right to civil unions. It is equal to marriage. The problem is that civil unions only protect same sex couples under the law in the event of a death. In other words, if one partner were to die, then the law protects them in property rights and in the receipt of insurance benefits. Same sex couples aren’t afforded about 1400 legal rights that are given to married couples. That may be separate, but it is not even close to being equal. Gay marriage should be legal and recognized–not just in California, but by all 50 states and the federal government.
I know that the majority of Americans don’t agree with me. A recent Quinnipac poll showed that 55% of Americans oppose same sex marriage in their states. But I find it odd that the majority of Americans think that same sex couples should get social security death benefits if their partner’s die, should be allowed to openly serve in the military, and should be allowed to adopt. Also, it surprised me that a majority of Americans disagree with the notion that same-sex marriage is a threat to traditional marriage. So what’s the beef with allowing them to marry, then? I don’t get it.
To me, it seems that the people are opposed to same sex marriage just to oppose it. To disallow one group of consenting adults the right to marry is discrimination. That is just wrong.