Without Hyperbole, The Civil Rights Issue of Our Time: Marriage Equality

U.S. Supreme Court building.
U.S. Supreme Court building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My generation is quick to label things the “landmark historical event analogue” of “our time”. Whether people are hailing the landing of a man-made probe on Saturn’s moon of Titan as the “moon landing of our time” or are discussing more terrestrial matters by attaching the label of “the civil rights battle of our time” to the fight to legalize—or rather legitimize—gay marriage, we are anxious to compare our events to those of the past. Many of the folks involved in the conversation have their opinions and statistics all lined up to bravely argue their position, but generally speaking the major contention against the extension of marriage rights to homosexuals in this country is deeply rooted in beliefs and traditions that should have no place in the rule or interpretation of law in the United States—religion, fear of the other, and the suppression of the pursuit of happiness, or some rehashed missionary mind-set where dogma is the trump to rational thought or logical debate.

Many of those who stand on the opposing side of the argument seem to believe that the institution of marriage will be irreconcilably weakened by the extension of the right to legally and publicly declare the intention to merge assets and benefits under the umbrella we define as marriage. After all, the expression of love in marriage is not only a romantic ideal, but is also historically inconsistent with the practice. When the major arguments about the “traditional marriage” are coming from people that are turning a blind eye to the traditional usages of marriage as a tool of business and political expediency I can hardly muster an unbiased ear to hear them. The only group of people even bordering on a “traditional marriage” belief in the United States are the Mormons (and hidden pockets of Orthodox Judaism and Islam) where the practice of polygamy is still condoned—and even there I’m reasonably sure that there is a hearkening to the taboo of incest.


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