OPINION – The gay marriage debate is over. What remains is for our country to accept it.
It may take some time, much like the Emancipation Proclamation, women’s right to vote, and the civil rights amendments of the 1960s, but be assured that history is in favor of this.
So is our constitution as a people.
Ok, I digress. The principle behind the right of an individual to make such a choice is an American value.
And if you disagree, you are validating the claim.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said, “Outside of the marriage context, can you think of any other rational basis, reason, for a state using sexual orientation as a factor in denying homosexuals benefits or imposing burdens on them? Is there any other rational decision making that the government can make? Denying them a job, not granting them benefits of some sort, any other decision?”
The answer is we cannot.
For in doing so we would lay forth a precedent that mandated a form of governance that was in direct opposition to our foundational principles in this country.
The most adamant and verbose opposition to same-sex marriage comes mostly from the conservative religious right. They stand on Biblical definitions and principals of marriage and while they may very well be right, the fact remains their position is a religious one. And in this country, in matters of governance and liberty, we draw a hard line between the church and the state. It is at the very core of our fabric as a society and must be upheld else we crumble.
Imagine what the outcome might be were a large group of people to make the assertion that religion has been the cause of more war, senseless death, and discrimination of people, than all other ill factors combined. Then imagine they put forth legislation banning religion or the practice thereof under penalty of law.
What would fundamentalists say to this?
Would they point to their rights under the Constitution advocating their individual and collective liberties?
To choose the right here is to choose what is favored and revealed in our history regarding matters of liberty. We must never allow our personal preferences, however ardent, interfere with the rights of others to have their own else we risk subjecting ourselves to the same.
The reason this issue, as with similar issues of decrepitude in how we live up to our foundational principles as well as those cemented in the 14th Amendment, is being heard before the Supreme Court is a sad but necessary one.
Our integrity as a nation of free people is being called to account here, and it should be able to rise to it.
This is not the rally cry of a minority voice or, as a recent colleague put it, a squeaky wheel.
This is justice calling out hypocrisy and it will not relent until it is once and for all heard.
See you out there.
Dallas Hyland is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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