Friday, December 4, 2009

Failure in New York State Senate

"There's never a good time for civil rights... but the paradox is that it's always the right time to be on the right side of history."
The preceding quote was spoken by Senator Tom Duane referring to New York’s proposed Gay Marriage bill. As we all know now, the bill failed but that doesn’t mean the issue is over or that the bills proposal was a complete failure. Senators supporting the bill made impassionate and empowering speeches hopefully opening up the eyes of all New Yorkers and shaming those Senators who voted the bill down.

It is not the role or right of government to decide who people can or cannot marry. Separation of church and state is a fundamental value of the American constitution. If a church refuses to marry a couple then that is their right, for our government to deny a couple their legal right to obtain a marriage license though is a blatant disregard of our constitution as well as the American value equality.

Those opposed to gay marriage defend themselves by saying they are protecting the “sanctity of marriage”. I have a friend who, at age 20, married a 19 year old boy she met three weeks earlier. Did I approve of that marriage? Of course not. But they were able to do it because they were two legal, willing adults who decided to make the commitment to each other. How can we say that the two of them, being so young, barely knowing each other and having no real life plan can get married but two adults of the same sex who have been in a long term committed relationship cannot? Who are the ones that are really threatening the sanctity of marriage; those in same sex relationships or those who are too immature, selfish or ignorant to even know what a marriage is?

Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson summed it up best when she said her constituents did not elect her to be the moral arbiter of their decisions, everyone has the right to choose the way they want to live. Other senators pointed out how it was not too long ago that the color of a person’s skin determined who they could and could not marry and the same arguments were used then that are being used now.

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, marriage is: the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage . Look at that Senators, it appears we wouldn’t have been changing the definition of marriage after all, huh?

No comments: