I have to admit that, when I found out that same-sex marriage had been legalized Friday, April 3, by the third state to do so, Iowa was not the first name that came to my mind. Yet Iowa’s Supreme Court, following in the footsteps of Massachusetts and Connecticut, legalized same-sex marriage by unanimously striking down the state’s decade-old ban.
Iowa’s Supreme Court is made up largely of Republicans, making this decision even more unbelievable. How a mid-western state beat California to the punch is beyond me, but my hat is off to them. This decision will be difficult to be overturned by voters as the majority of the state’s House and Senate members are Democrat; the earliest that voters will have a say on this issue is 2013.
Hearing this news makes me even more anxious to know when my own state will get current with the fast-changing times. Washington state is slowly coming to its senses regarding rights for same-sex couples.
On March 10, the state Senate approved a bill that “expands an existing domestic partnership law to give gay and lesbian couples all the benefits of marriage except the name,” according to the Associated Press. I’m extremely happy that same-sex couples are finally able to receive all the same rights as opposite-sex couples.
Now, maybe I’m just being difficult to please, but I do believe that passing a bill that gives same-sex couples all the same rights as marriage, yet doesn’t allow these couples to actually marry, makes about as much sense as Eastern telling me that I met all my requirements to graduate this spring, but I won’t be receiving a diploma.
One of the main arguments of opponents of same-sex marriage is that it will “undermine traditional marriage,” as worded on the Web site of the Traditional Values Coalition. How is giving same-sex couples all the same marriage rights as opposite-sex couples not “undermining traditional marriage?” They might as well just be able to use the same word, “marriage.” After all, it’s just a word. They already have all the same rights, so how is simply using the word “marriage” to describe their partnership going to change anything?
We’re talking about simple nomenclature here. If an animal has all the same characteristics and DNA as a dog, will calling it a cat make any difference?
The only thing coming out of not calling Washington state’s domestic partnerships “marriages” is that we are denying same-sex couples the respect they deserve. It’s absolutely childish behavior to dangle all these rights in front of these couples and taunt, “Na na na na na na, you can’t say you’re married!”
I’m very good friends with a few couples who happen to be of the same sex. It infuriates me to think that Britney Spears, who can’t even manage to wear panties in public, can have a meaningless 55-hour marriage to a man she doesn’t love, yet my friends, who are very much in love and have been together for more than a few years, are denied that same right. To say that same-sex marriage will undermine traditional marriage is the most ridiculous opposing argument that can be made on this issue for this very reason.
To know that my boyfriend and I have a right that some of my best friends do not also frustrates me. It’s disappointing to me that my country, one that claims to be founded on freedom and equality, still hasn’t reached that goal even in the 21st century.
President Obama was not my top choice to run this country, but I did vote for him in the general election. While he supports gay rights, it saddens me that even he, a very well-educated person who is certainly familiar with experiencing prejudice, opposes same-sex marriage. I was hoping that with the next administration would come more respect and rights for gays, but I see that this was too much to ask of this president.
I hope that more states will continue to follow suit and view gays as equal people in the eye of the law. Not doing so, in my opinion, only continues to show the contradiction still present in many of the laws of the U.S. government.
How can our country tell other countries to treat their citizens more humanely when we don’t respect a large portion of our own population? Our country will be weak until it can acknowledge the human rights of all its citizens.