Re "Justices seem to side with gay couples," March 28
The time has come for the Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 as unconstitutional. Laws designed to limit a person's pursuit of happiness by denying him or her marriage rights are discriminatory.
Anti-gay marriage laws stem from the archaic belief that homosexuality is a choice rather than an individual trait. Nobody chooses his skin color, gender or sexual orientation. Thus, to deny gays the right to marry is no different than banning interracial marriages because they make some people uncomfortable. Fifty years from now, children will learn about this new civil rights movement and wonder why we denied marriage rights to gays because of some people's squeamishness.
If the court upholds DOMA and Proposition 8, it would be no different than what was done in Plessy vs. Ferguson. Civil unions are today's form of "separate but equal."
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's milky, two-tiered analogy regarding marriage laws needs a few more layers.
Human society caters to couples. Evolution, politics and spirituality have all conspired to make marriage the de facto social norm, which is why the gay-marriage debate is missing the point.
Marriage laws absolutely discriminate, and not just against same-sex couples. Anyone who through choice or circumstance lives as a single person is denied significant "perks" under both state and federal law. Of course this isn't fair, but certain tax breaks aren't for everyone.
The Supreme Court is entertaining the wrong arguments. True equality would dictate that laws treating unmarried and married people differently are discriminatory. Eliminate these discriminatory practices, either by extending the tax breaks to all or removing them entirely, and a good portion of the gay-marriage debate becomes moot.
No matter one's views on same-sex marriage, there has been a gradual change in society. Of the nine states where gay marriage is allowed, three affirmed marriage equality by popular vote.
But like most profound changes, this has been evolutionary and incremental, and there are, of course, fervent opponents trying to maintain the status quo. It is doubtful that the Supreme Court will strike a decisive note in any direction of the debate, but whatever the outcome, both sides on this controversial issue will continue their efforts.
Those in favor of gay marriage would do well to remember what the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said: "Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom."
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