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“America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilization in between.” - Oscar Wilde

    It’s a debate that has been raging in the United States for decades: Should same-sex marriage be legalized? Through the years, several pieces of legislature have been passed to try and solve this debate once and for all. None of them have come to any solid conclusion, because this disagreement is one based on morals. Same-sex marriage should be legalized for that reason itself—no matter how hard you try, morality cannot be legislated.
    The arguments from the opposition are always the same. If the people against it are secular, it’s “wrong.” If the opposition is religious, it’s “against the word of God.” Rick Santorum, the former GOP candidate for the Republican party, stated that “we have Judeo-Christian values that are based on Biblical truth and truth that can be acclaimed and resolved through reason, and those truths don’t change just because people’s attitudes may change.”
    First of all, does Santorum give us any examples of these supposed truths that can be “acclaimed and resolved through reason”? He provides nothing but the Bible to back his statements up, and let’s face it, the Bible isn’t exactly non-fiction reading material. Second, America is a democracy, not a theocracy. Even though there may be a religious foundation under our society, we established the separation between church and state for a reason. That reason would be that our aim as a nation is to give liberty and justice to all—no matter who they are or what they choose to do. However, Santorum is not the only opposition, merely one of the many examples.
    If you do a Google search for “legal arguments against same-sex marriage,” some will attempt to try and create a legal argument against it. An interesting argument was written by a Yahoo! Answers user, although it is easily refuted: “All terms in laws have to be defined so that the people know and understand the terms of the law. Both sides of the case know what is being argued because they have the same definition of terms. Marriage has never before been defined because it was not needed, it was clearly understood.” Unfortunately, this person did not stop to consider the fact that a nation (and, in turn, its legislation) is flexible and subject to change. Circumstances change, and so do the definitions applied to certain laws.
    This brings us to the interesting case of California Proposition Eight. This proposition was a ballot that would have added a new provision to the California Constitution, Section 7.5 of the Declaration of Rights. This provision stated that "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."
    The arguments made in favor of this proposition were, for the most part, not unlike the argument provided by the Yahoo! Answers user. Some of the arguments included that heterosexual marriage is "an essential institution of society,” a result of legalizing same-sex marriage would be “public schools teaching our kids that gay marriage is okay,” and that homosexuals "do not have the right to redefine marriage for everyone else." These arguments become invalid under certain clauses of the U.S. Constitution, like the Equal Protection clause.
    The opposition of the proposition argued that the California constitution "should guarantee the same freedom and rights to everyone,” and that the proposition "mandates one set of rules for gay and lesbian couples and another set for everyone else." They also argued that "equality under the law is a fundamental constitutional guarantee.” That’s also known as the Equal Protection clause, part of the 14th amendment under the United States Constitution. “No state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
    Eventually, the proposition was overturned by the U.S. District Court as well as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on the basis that it was unconstitutional—not only did it violate the Equal Protection Clause, but it also violated due process. However, just because that battle was won by the LGBT community, it doesn’t mean the war is over.
    Truly, there is no legal reason for same-sex marriage to be outlawed—there isn’t even a moral reason. If you think about it, why should everyone else care who others choose to marry? It’s like being on a diet and seeing someone else having a donut, and hating them just because they can eat that donut and you can’t.
    Allowing two people of the same sex to marry and be together won’t harm society, it won’t corrupt precious innocent children, and it won’t bring about the end of the world, either. Maybe instead of trying to get legislation passed that will take away civil equality, politicians could focus on more important things, like working together to reduce the national debt or reducing the threat of terrorist attacks. This issue is really a no-brainer—and it’s time for America as a nation to realize that.

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May 2012

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