America is the land of liberty where everyone has freedom of choice of lifestyle, religion etc. America has always believed in equality with a few exceptions from history which were resolved. Segregation is one of those exceptions. African-Americans until 1965 were passionately hated by whites. Even after the legislation was passed saying that all men are equal, America still struggled to adapt to this change. Today America would not do such a thing as discriminating against people because of skin color. The United States has been a model of democratic principles to the world for centuries.
However, currently this world superpower is having a major dispute on whether or not to legalize gay marriages and this heated issue has divided Americans and caused the country to closely re-examine its principles and ideals. In America today, at the political level there is a heated debate on whether there should be a ban to same-sex marriages or not. Recently in his last State of the Union Address, President Bush supported the ban on gay marriage saying that he wants to “prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever” (NY Times). What is the meaning of marriage?
According to David Brooks of the NY Times, “marriage joins two people in a sacred bond. It demands that they make an exclusive commitment to each other and thereby takes two discrete individuals and turns them into kin. ” He also said that “gays and lesbians are banned from marriage and forbidden to enter into this powerful and ennobling institution. ” (NY Times). In Las Vegas two people can get married in ten minutes at a shabby chapel. They don’t even need to wear dresses, have guests or even be sober; it can be as untraditional as a couple wants.
Hasn’t America already defaced the meaning f marriage suggested by President Bush? On television there are reality shows in which people get married for money. One example is “My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance”. The basis is that a woman must marry a fat, hairy, disgraceful man in order to get $1million. The family members believe that the daughter is really getting married and is shocked at her choice. Here a woman will go to the extent of putting her family in pain and crush their dreams for just money.
This is a really terrible thing to do to anyone and yet it is on the television so that other Americans can laugh their heads off. Hasn’t the true meaning of marriage been torn apart when a price is put on emotions and we enjoy it? Ordinary humans do not have the power to judge and decide how people should live their lives. By attempting to ban same-sex marriage, the government is robbing gays of this sacred union of which no man can possibly fathom the meaning. Since biblical times gays have existed but were ashamed because they were the subject of discrimination.
Today however, in America, gays are not belittled as they were back then. One’s sexual orientation used to be kept private but now it is open in America more than ever. Every large city has a small community for gay people. Many gays live in cities like New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Las Vegas and such because it is in these areas that they are not discriminated so much. There are gay newspapers, gay movies and shows, gay bands etc. One popular show is Bravo’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” which is a hit among a lot of Americans- both homosexuals and heterosexuals.
In New York City, The Harvey Milk School, a school for gays, was opened recently. The reason for this is because gay youngsters were made fun of, beaten and treated horribly by their heterosexual peers. In the past there were schools specially founded for black kids because of racist reasons. Has America gone a step backward? Haven’t we seen that segregation was soon abolished and everyone was united? If we know the outcome of such a situation why then would we want to repeat it again? It is not fair for kids to feel left out because of their sexual orientation.
A gay kid wants to be equal and treated as any other kid. Is that too much to ask of society? America insists that it treats everyone equally but if this was true then we wouldn’t need a separate school for gays. Americans re so diverse with so many various lifestyles provided by. Therefore it should not be a shock to the government when gay people become public and suddenly demand rights. It is only logical that this would happen. Today San Francisco is the queer capital of America because it is the only city that legally allows gay marriage. In California alone the population of same-sex couples is 92, 138.
Today it is estimated that the gay population in America is about 10% (HRC Newsletter). These people, after being ignored for centuries, are today asking for a chance to be equal. One of the most basic principles of American democracy is the quality of people. Recently Mayor West of New Paltz, New York, violated the law banning gay marriages and married gay couples on Friday 20th 2004. He justified his actions saying that “we as a society have no right to discriminate in marriage any more than we have the right to discriminate when someone votes or when someone wants to hold office” (Associated Press).
He is indeed right for we cannot do this and we should not because it contradicts with our ideals and our beliefs. If this law is passed then America will be segregated which is un-American and we all know from history what the result will be. The government will become hypocritical because the constitution provides equality but they are not adhering to it. One of the most common arguments against gay marriages is based on religion- many religious persons believe that it is sinful for gays to be accepted as part of society.
In his book the Lama Das (labeled by the Dalai Lama as the Western Lama) states his support for gay marriage: “I’ve been watching the events unfold in San Francisco and what I have seen is that the joy and love that these people are sharing with each other is amazing and it is right… What we’re seeing is a religious majority that is trying o take legal rights away from a sexual minority that their religion purportedly doesn’t like… The idea that we live in a country where a majority can vote on which legal rights they think a minority ‘should’ have and which rights they ‘shouldn’t’ is a frightening one” (Das 187).
The Lama who is a very prestigious religious figure is pro-gay marriage and thus shows that not all religions believe that gay marriage is wrong. This whole theme of religion contradicts with American principles. People are allowed religious freedom under the Bill of Rights and so making a decision based on the Christian religion is absurd. Also America has made it clear over the years that it supports the separation of church and state which means that the church has no power in making decisions such as these which may affect lives of non-Christians.
It is truly frightening if America starts to make decisions based on religion because a lot of Americans are non- religious and they will not be considered at all. If something isn’t done to correct this problem then America will gradually be demolished. America instead of focusing on the more important things is wasting so much time on this debate in which the same outcome will result as that of he African-American movements. The morals of American society aren’t the best in the world and this is shown throughout our history.
For example, when America ignored Cuba’s plea for help during the Spanish-American war (1800’s) but only acted when it was being threatened. Many other countries look at America with dismay because of the great freedoms that are allowed and which, they say, are abused. Today in this great country there are hundreds of crimes happening everyday: thousands of people are addicted to drugs, many are killed and the list goes on and on. America passed a law tating that anyone over the age of 18 is permitted to have a gun. Because of this law the Columbine shooting occurred.
Because of the ambiguity of this law many children and adults are killed every year accidentally and intentionally. Doesn’t this ruin society? People should focus on liquefying the National Rifle Association and strengthening the gun laws. However, we are worried that allowing gays their deserved right to be wed will destroy America. Now which is more ruinous to society? The President of the Human Rights Campaign, Cheryl Jacques, said that “constitutional amendments have istorically served to expand liberty and equality – such as giving women the right to vote.
This amendment would be the first to reinstate discrimination in our Constitution. There is no doubt in my mind that the American people will see this as an ugly and discriminatory game of politics. Americans remember the president’s promise to be a uniter, not a divider. Today, the president has broken that promise. ” (HRC Newsletter). If the President allows for the passing of this bill then he will be responsible for segregation and the next civil rights movement in America. There are a ot of Americans who are pro-gay marriage because they believe it is the humane thing to do.
I personally believe that no human has the right to tell others who to love or who to marry. However, this will never come to past in our society. Thus I propose that each state makes its own decision regarding this issue. If the government wants to set a limit on marriage then they should at least allow the states to decide for themselves. According to an ABCNEWS/Washington Post survey in January, a solid majority opposes an amendment barring marriage equality – “58 percent think we hould not amend the Constitution but instead let each state should make its own laws on the issue.
Also, key voting blocs – 59 percent of women, 52 percent of Republicans, 55 percent of those in the South and 60 percent of independents – all say that this should be a state issue” (HRC Newsletter). We should regard it as scandalous that two people could claim to love each other and not want to consecrate their love with marriage and fidelity. Aren’t homosexuals human? Aren’t they subject to rights as all other Americans? Why do they have to be treated as African-Americans were? Surly t doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that history will repeat itself unless we prevent it.
America is an always changing nation and its people must also change. We must accept the fact that ideologies, attitudes, marriage and families have changed over time and the rest of us must change too or else we wouldn’t move on. The people of America must try harder to convince the government that what they’re doing is wrong and is a crime against humans. Just as the blacks won their equality and today live among us as equals so will gays; it’s just a matter of time-change is inevitable.
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