If not, then why is gay marriage such an issue?
According to an article published on FoxNews, "A majority of Supreme Court justices voiced skepticism Wednesday about the legitimacy of a federal provision that prevents married gay couples from receiving a range of federal benefits, raising questions about whether the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) will stand."
Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you are aware of the "issue" of gay marriage and probably have some opinion about it. It seems that everyone does. It also seems as if more and more people are coming out in support of it; just take a look at Facebook and all of the red equality signs.
The question for me is: How do gay rights affect straight rights? Why does this matter so much to people? What is it about the idea of gay marriage that seems to threaten some people so much that they pass — or try to pass — laws against it? If gay marriage exists what exactly does that do to straight marriage?
The biggest reason that I've heard to not allow gay marriage comes from a religious/moral standpoint. Yes, there are religious viewpoints that take a stand against the marriage of two same sex individuals, but here's my thought: people who are of that belief system are perfectly free to not marry someone of the same sex. I don't think anyone would try to make them enter into a gay marriage if that's not what they want.
In terms of "morality" gay marriages takes place for the same reasons that heterosexual marriage does — two people love each other and want to show the world their commitment to each other. What could be more moral than that?
My point here is that I haven't yet seen or heard of anything about gay marriage that will have a detrimental effect on straight marriages or on society as a whole. There won't be a rush of people deciding that they now want to gay; people are who they are. To me, this is only about the right of two people to fall in love and commit to sharing their lives together. Love between two consenting adults, should not be legislated.
All of the rhetoric that I hear around this subject reminds me of the days when interracial marriages were the focus. Not that many years ago, inter-racial couples had to face discrimination and worse almost everywhere they went. There is no difference here, gay or straight, inter-racial or not. Everyone should be free to love who they choose.
One of the greatest expressions of love and commitment is marriage. Two people who love each other and want to make this commitment to each other should be allowed to do so. In our American culture, marriage affords many different benefits to the partners. Gay couples should be able to enjoy any and all of the benefits that a straight couple would receive. The fact that a gay surviving spouse can receive his or her partner's estate without the estate tax or receive social security benefits on his/her partner's record does not affect anyone else.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg refers to the current provisions of law as creating "full marriage and skim-milk marriage." That is a perfect description. It is interesting to note that even with the case before the highest court in the land, nothing definitive has been offered to show a negative effect on society by allowing gay marriage.
I always say that I believe everyone deserves to have love and loving, supportive relationships. I further believe that as a society, we should accept and embrace all of the things that make up this diverse country. We should look for and embrace all of the things that are common to us all like the desire for love and happiness. These things bring us together. When we all have equal rights, we are strong. When one class or group of people is denied their rights, it weakens all of us.