BY VICTORIA KRUKENKAMP
SC Staff Writer
You’d have to be living under a rock in order to not be aware of the recent undertaking of the US Supreme Court to hear the cases regarding same-sex marriage.
The court is hearing two cases – the “Prop 8” case, which questions whether the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment prevents states from defining marriage as only between one man and one woman, and the “DOMA” case, which questions whether the federal Defense of Marriage act, which defines marriages as between a man and a woman, violates the equal protection guarantees of the 5th Amendment where same-sex couples are legally married in their own state.
Nine states—Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington–legally recognize same-sex marriage. Rhode Island recognizes same-sex marriages from other states, and California recognizes-sex marriages under specific conditions.
The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) from 1996 prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage, and allows for states to refuse recognition of same-sex marriages.
Both cases boil down to whether or not the federal government will recognize same-sex marriages, and if that recognition will, in turn, force states to recognize and legalize same-sex marriages.
There are strong opinions on both sides of the case. Those who are opposed to the recognition of same-sex marriage cite the sanctity of marriage as a religious institution, while those who are in favor of recognition cite marriage as a civil right that should be protected by the constitution.
It seems as though the opponents of same-sex marriage find it difficult to grasp the idea of two men, or two women, getting “married.” So what if it was a different word? And to make it equal, what if it was a different word for all couples?
As a country we have stepped into a trap in this situation, by calling the union between two people (same-sex or not) “marriage.” Think about it. “Marriage” is a religious term that has been adopted by the government to represent the union between a man and a woman. Last time I checked, there is supposed to be a separation of church and state in this country.
So what happens if the term “marriage” is eliminated from the equation? Is there no longer an issue? A man and a woman may be married by the definition of their religion, but for the purpose of recognition by the government they are in a “union.” The same goes for same-sex couples.
What’s the harm?Who we chose to spend our lives with is a personal matter. The legal benefits that result from that choice are also unique to the individual union. A same-sex couple doesn’t degrade a heterosexual couple, nor does a heterosexual couple degrade a same-sex couple.
Because we define ourselves as free, shouldn’t we extend the same courtesy to the rest of the population? Life would be much easier for everyone if we extended the courtesy of “to each his own.” As long as what we do and say doesn’t hurt anyone (and same-sex marriage doesn’t hurt you – be honest), what does it matter what someone else’s choices are to us?
If two people love each other, and are of legal age to marry, why does anything beyond that matter? Besides, why is it anyone’s business but theirs?
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