An appeals court has ruled that a proposed law banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. That is great news, but it is not enough. It is time for Proposition 8 to be repealed completely, and for California to recognize that everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, has the right to marry the person that they love.
Courts have repeatedly said that all people have the right to be treated equally, yet there are still people who want nothing more than to deny same-sex couples that right. Those people are wrong. They are using a false sense of morality to oppress a group of people who they see as different.
Two of the three justices who heard the appeal rejected the proposal, ruling that it “serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples.”
Gays and lesbians are not inferior, and neither are their relationships. Love between two people is a beautiful thing, and to think that it could somehow be any less so simply because the two people share a gender is ridiculous. More than that, it shows that anyone with that opinion does not know what love really is.
This country has a history of evolving its views on marriage. There was a time not so long ago, when a couple would have been forbidden from marrying based solely on a difference in the color of their skin. But, the lawmakers of this country came to their senses and realized that love does not see color.
Now it is time for them to come to their senses and realize that love does not see gender, either. Love is love, and it is something that should be celebrated by anyone lucky enough to find it, not just those who happen to fall into an outdated and erroneous definition championed by a vocal minority of people.
Opinions are shifting. While the opposition may make a lot of noise, the actions of the majority speak louder than the words of the minority, and those favoring marriage equality are now that majority. New York and Washington have both voted to recognize same-sex marriage, and will soon be joined by Maryland. The New Jersey legislature also voted to approve same-sex marriage, though the governor has ignored their vote and decided to veto the decision. Nationwide recent polls show for the first time that more Americans support same-sex marriage than oppose it. This support is even stronger amongst voters between the ages of 18 and 29, suggesting that additional equal rights laws will be passed and additional discriminatory laws will be repealed as more and more youth enter the voting booths.
Opponents claim that allowing gays and lesbians to marry somehow weakens the institution of marriage, but it doesn’t. Marriage is not a finite resource. Not one heterosexual couple will be prevented from getting married if that right is extended to same-sex couples. If anything, the institution of marriage is strengthened when everyone is allowed to share in it, each couple a thread woven together with the rest to make the fabric stronger.
Marriage is a right. It is a right that all loving couples should have,not something that should be used to divide “us” from “them.” And, that’s because the people who claim to be protecting the institution of marriage don’t know whom “us” is. They think “us” means heterosexuals, but it doesn’t. Everyone is “us.” Everyone wants to love, and to be able declare their love for another person in an official, binding way. Everyone deserves the right to celebrate that love and share it with the world, and no one can take that right away.