COLUMN: Three down, 47 to go

ichael McLaughlin

Well it’s been about a year and a half since Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to grant gays full marriage rights and, last time I checked, Boston still hasn’t been consumed in a hail of righteous fire. Instead, Connecticut has passed a civil unions law, becoming the first state to pass one without being forced to by a state supreme court. While California passed a full marriage law, it is one which is expected to be vetoed.

However, there is still a long way to go, especially when one takes into consideration the 10 states, including Ohio, that passed anti-marriage amendments to their constitutions over the past year.

Those opposed to the granting of full marriage rights argue that it is unnatural and obscene. However, numerous species have had recorded insistences of homosexual relations. While a person might, theoretically, be able to make such a lifestyle choice, I kind of doubt that penguins sit around and decide to be gay. Also, same-sex relations were present throughout the ancient world, and only with the rise of Christianity did it become a social taboo.

As for those who claim that it’s obscene, well, a sexual act in public would definitely be obscene, but that’s the case regardless of the gender breakdown of the couple/group. Let’s be honest here: The vast majority of people, both gay and straight, who desire to be married, are more concerned about their new lives together than committing “indecent” acts.

Finally, there’s the old chestnut that legalization will wreck straight marriage. With the divorce rate in the United States around 50 percent, highest in the more religious South, ironically enough, they probably have more important things to worry about than the “damage” gays can cause the institution of marriage.

The main reason most people oppose gay marriage is because the Bible says so. However, only two phrases exist in the Bible directly condemning same-sex relations: one in Leviticus and one in the writings of Saint Paul. I guess if you’re going to base your entire life upon a book, then that’s probably good enough for you. I just hope that you’ve never grown peas and carrots next to each other, eaten shrimp or worn a cotton-polyester blend, all of which also are prohibited in Leviticus.

Of course, gay couples will live together as though they are married, regardless of what the law says. The crux of the matter here is that they will be unable to gain the same civil rights that straight couples do when they decide to tie the knot. From the tax-cut that married couples receive to the ability to visit one partner at his/her deathbed, gays are denied these and many other rights in most states, and that is, quite frankly, sickening to me.

And while this doesn’t affect me personally, when one group has their rights denied, then any and all groups can have their rights denied, and that is simply wrong.

Conservatives are generally on the wrong side of history when it comes to civil rights issues. Why would they be on the right one this time?

Michael McLaughlin is a senior history major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].