Gay Marriage

Make this an op-ed. Even the most sterling editing job would butcher it. I go to temple, but edit and have written for Ziff Davis (PC Mag, eWeek, etc). Marketing Major, MIS Minor. The

Make this an op-ed. Even the most sterling editing job would butcher it. I go to temple, but edit and have written for Ziff Davis (PC Mag, eWeek, etc).

Marketing Major, MIS Minor.

The controversy surrounding gay marriage has come to a crescendo after millions of Americans witnessed gay and lesbian couples tie the knot in San Francisco. Let’s face it; same sex marriage has entered the mainstream consciousness of American life, and is sure to be an election year issue. Conservatives cry foul and balk at the rulings of ‘activist’ state judges, while employing many of the same tactics used in the not so distance past against interracial marriage, and to deny African Americans their civil rights. These people should be ashamed of their outright bigotry and keep their personal and religious views out of public life.

As a response to the “threat’ of gay marriage, the religious right has crystallized its arguments into a crusade to defend the institution of marriage and ‘traditional’ values. The first salvo has been launched ampetid calls from a reluctant President Bush to amend the United States Constitution to outlaw gay marriage, while simultaneously usurping states’ rights.

These same tactics were employed nearly 50 years ago against interracial marriage after it was legalized in California. If the civil rights of African Americans were voted on, as opponents of gay marriage suggest be done today in the case of gay marriage, would there be such as thing as civil rights?

It is an ironic – and uniquely American – coincidence that these specters of the past are being resurrected during Black History Month.

The guise of ‘traditional’ values coupled with misinterpreted religious doctrine has been used to dignify slavery as well as the inequitable and cruel treatment of women throughout the world. Nowadays, Neoconservatives wax poetic about restrictions faraway religious theocracies such as Iran place on human rights while using religion in an approximant manner to force their own views upon others and restrict civil liberties at the home front.

Advocates for and against the notion of gay marriage are overlooking a simple fact: marriage a religious institution. Government should only recognize civil unions, whether they were between a man and a woman, or people of the same sex.

While the scope and meaning of the separation of church and state is still a debatable topic, civil rights is not. It is the job of the government to defend the rights granted to us by the Constitution.

As part of the anti-gay conservative backlash, State Rep. Jerry Birmelin, R-Wayne, plans to introduce legislation that would take away existing gay rights in Pennsylvania. These rights include the right to adopt a child (the largest adoption agency in the US accepts gay adoption), and the right to be insured by and pass on assets to a spouse in the event of death. Representative Birmelin should change his name to Jim Crow – his ideas are a throw back to an embarrassing chapter in our history.

If this mean-spirited philosophy is allowed to become law, the widowed Gay and Lesbian victims of 9/11 would not be able to collect any compensation. In fact, many of these victims have had a difficult time under existing laws.

Civil Unions eliminate this discrimination; provide equal protection under the law; and leave marriage to the churches, synagogues, and mosques of America.

We are sure to hear more about this controversy as the Presidential election draws closer. President Bush has a long list of accomplishments, and deserves credit for his achievements despite the ballooning budget deficit. I am just shocked that President Bush would choose to take a discriminatory tact to pacify the religious right, and marshal together the troops using hatred as the motivator. You should be too.

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