Opinion: Same-sex marriage: the movement of our time

Jennifer Hutchinson is a freshman political science major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.  Contact her at [email protected]

Jennifer Hutchinson

All eyes are on Virginia as the state attempts to lift its ban on same-sex marriage. The decision was prompted by a federal judge’s ruling that declared the ban unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Arenda Wright Allen supported her decision by striking down the three main arguments presented for denying gay marriage, writing, “Government interests in perpetuating traditions, shielding state matters from federal interference, and favoring one model of parenting over others must yield to this country’s cherished protections that ensure the exercise of the private choices of the individual citizen regarding love and family.” She went on to compare Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage to its long-standing ban on interracial marriage, making references to the 1967 Supreme Court ruling that struck down on the interracial marriage ban.

She stated, “Tradition is revered in the Commonwealth and often rightly so. However, tradition alone cannot justify denying same-sex couples the right to marry any more than it could justify Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage.”

It seems that the public’s opinion on such traditions is really changing. A recent Gallup poll recorded that the percentage of Americans who support same-sex unions has doubled since 1997. Virginia is not the only state to produce such rulings recently. Just a few weeks earlier, Oklahoma and Utah judges came to almost identical decisions. While Allen issued a stay of her order on Thursday while the ban is being appealed, gay couples are still unable to marry until the case is ultimately resolved.

This recent ruling is indicative of the process we’re making in our country. Same-sex unions have always been a heated topic throughout our nation and still are today. However, it seems that we are heading closer in the right direction.

I am a supporter of gay rights and believe that peoples’ opinions on the matter are only evolving with time. I firmly agree with Allen’s reference to interracial bans and the civil rights movement. Gay rights is the movement of our time, and its acceptance is only getting stronger with this generation and future generations to come. I believe there is always middle ground to be met. Therefore, any churches who wish to not perform same-sex marriages, based on religious beliefs, should not be forced to.

However, as both a Catholic and Republican, I would love to see the stigmas of being affiliated with certain parties or religions extinguished. This is an issue of people, and as the people of this country, now is the time for us to drop our biases and come together to support this movement.