Gay marriage has finally arrived at the point in the American political awareness spectrum where there is a real opportunity for its legalization to become part of the Constitution. There are two major cases in front of the Supreme Court, one will overturn the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA, and the other will overturn Proposition 8 in California. If both of these cases fall in favor of marriage equality, it will make it basically illegal to outlaw gay marriage in a state. This is an enormous step, if not the final step towards, unified legalization.
Now, people may say that it has taken far too long, and that this injustice that has been imparted upon a massive portion of the American population is ridiculous and unacceptable. I am one of those people, but I do believe there is something in this that is being overlooked. The United States has never been on the cutting edge of any sort of social progress. Whether it is emancipation, the equal rights of minorities, or even the legalization of interracial marriage nationally; the United States has always lagged behind. It is disappointing that this has always been the case, but the legalization of gay marriage presents an opportunity for the United States to step up in the world and really take its place with some of the most socially progressive nations.
The fact that the legalization and general acceptance of gay marriage is still in its infancy globally means that if the United States, a world power that has taken flack for its actions, could finally do something good, right and necessary, it could create a situation where Americans would lead European nations such as the United Kingdom, France and Germany into the next stage of human rights. Of course, this is all one big “if.”
The U.S. needs to finally and completely separate itself from its historic bigotry and dedication to the dystopian dream of uniformity. Everybody is not the same. Fortunately, times are changing and you can see the changes everywhere. Cardinal Timothy Dolan recently came out stating that the church needs to not be anti-anybody. This does not indicate any change on the Catholic church’s position with regards to the “defense of marriage,” but it is a step in the right direction.
Finally, people may argue that this is not an issue that should be decided by the federal government, and it should be left up to the states. This premise is ridiculous from the start. Essentially what “leaving it up to the states” is saying is “we don’t want to impose the gays on those who are not ready for them.” Why should a gay couple living in New York have any more rights than a couple living in Alabama? Are they all not entitled to the same rights? This is one of the main purposes for the federal government; when American citizens are being denied their natural rights the government should step in and protect those affected.
Hopefully, we will all realize that this is not a matter of beliefs or morals, it is an issue of denial of rights. Do we not all have the right to be happy? Do we not all have the right to commit to the one that we truly love? I think we do, every last one of us.