OPINION — The message was simple: Love wins.
And, in the end, that is all that really matters.
Although we may think that we lived through a hugely historic day in United States history with Friday’s Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, will it seem like that much of a landmark 50 years down the line?
Before you answer, remember that interracial marriage was illegal nationwide until the Court determined in 1967 that anti-miscegenation laws were unconstitutional.
Love won that one, too, by the way.
It was pretty much figured that Friday’s decision would come down 5-4. What wasn’t known, however, was which way it would go.
With four conservatives, three liberals and two moderates on the Court, it could have gone either way.
So, the United States now joins The Netherlands, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, England and Wales, France, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, Slovinia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Uruguay, which have already legalized same-sex marriage nationally. Mexico has legalized it in several jurisdictions.
There are still, of course, a fair number of nations where it is outlawed, so if you are interested, Iraq, Iran, Chad and a host of Middle Eastern and South African countries, as well as Jamaica and a few other island nations, might suit you. In fact, in some of those nations, you can be executed for engaging in certain sexual practices even if you are an avowed heterosexual.
It’s interesting, however, that the nations that have legalized same-sex marriage are recognized as Christian nations and most of those in opposition are not.
As far as the direct impact Friday’s decision will have on you and me and our daily lives, I would wager to say it will amount to none, other than the personal discomfort you may have with the idea or potential interaction you may have with a same-sex couple.
But, for those who can now make not only a moral but legal commitment to their partner, it will be a world of difference.
This whole argument was rooted in what some refer to as the immorality of same-sex marriages and the thought, held by many, that the reason for so-called “traditional marriage” is procreation. If that is true, why do churches allow couples that are well beyond their child-bearing years to marry?
I’ll bet it has something to do with love, companionship and the willingness to make a lifelong commitment to their partner, as long as they are of the opposite sex.
That said, I fail to see how somebody making a legal commitment to another human being, whether of the same or opposite sex, can be immoral, especially when that commitment is to love, honor and cherish each other.
We have already seen the ignorance at work, however, among those who, despite the ruling from the highest court in the land, refuse to accept or recognize it — a group that extends from the workaday religious right to several Republicans who have announced that they will seek their party’s nomination to run for president a year from now.
Some are elected officials who when sworn into office took an oath to uphold the laws of the land. My guess is that when that oath was administered, those officials were not allowed to pick and choose which laws they would uphold and which they would dismiss, sort of like the situation in Utah where we had successive attorneys general who refused to prosecute violations of the state’s bigamy/polygamy law.
There has been, and will continue to be, much theological debate regarding same-sex marriage and homosexuality in general, I’m sure. But it seems to me the over-riding tenet of all religions, at least as it is purported to be, is the one that instructs us to “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
Without that, the rest is simply meaningless, at least from all I have learned as I walk this planet.
We’ve not done a good job of that, I’m afraid. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have had the sorrow of the shootings in Charleston; the tragedy of the police killings in Ferguson, Baltimore and elsewhere; the anger over immigration; the violence and hate crimes perpetrated against the LGBT community; or this raging polarization over the right of two people to marry regardless of their gender.
We also wouldn’t have the hypocrisy of those who scream that their rights as individuals are being taken in one breath, then demanding that the rights of others are limited in the next breath, something I have seen and heard a lot of over the course of the last week.
All this does is underscore the narrow scope of our thinking and the coldness of our hearts.
Look, the ruling by the Supreme Court means you also have the right not to engage in same-sex marriage and the right, if you desire, to never marry.
It is shameful that so many other nations led the way in this, because isn’t the United States supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave?
Until recently, we had a lot of brave people who were not free, at least to choose who they would marry.
This nation is supposed to be the beacon of freedom, which means that even though we may disagree with a particular thought, religion, political stance or lifestyle, we defend and protect the rights of those who differ.
The system is set up to protect all, not just a select few who may or may not be in the majority.
So you don’t believe in same-sex marriage?
Fine. Find a partner of the opposite sex, get married and go on with your life.
I promise you that the same-sex couple down the street will not harass you for your heterosexuality, nor try to ostracize you or deny any of your rights.
Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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