Last night, I released a loud, excited WOO! and clapped my hands as New York became the sixth state to legalize gay marriage. But it was a premature woo.
Apparently, they had just approved the amendment that would not punish religious organizations if they chose not to perform a same-sex marriage. Oops.
So, for the next hour or so, I sat glued to the live feed awaiting the official announcement.
When New York legalized same sex marriage, I was so happy, I was nearly brought to tears.
I didn’t realize understand why I was so emotional. Gay rights is something that is important to me, but it’s not something that I am personally affected by. I got married three weeks ago and it didn’t require any lobbying, fighting or protesting. As a straight woman, I really have no idea what LGBT people go through in their fight for marriage.
I understand now what these people are fighting for. I understand how wonderful it is to stand beside your soulmate to publicly and legally proclaim your love, while promising to stand by each other’s side until death. I always knew that, but now, I understand it.
I know how amazing and awesome that feeling is. It just solidified every belief I have that everyone should be allowed to share it.
It enraged me and boggled my mind, when politicians said this was a “tough decision”.
As someone who considers herself agnostic, even possibly a humanist, I can’t comprehend the moral dilemma that Christians and Catholics are facing. Everything you are taught in your religion dictates that this is wrong. To allow this would go against your entire belief system. I get that.
But guess what. This isn’t about religion. It’s about equality. If you are choosing to live in a country that treats all its citizens as equals then all those citizens MUST be treated as equals regardless of what your personal religion dictates.
Not to mention that we are NOT a theocracy. You can use the argument all you want that this country was founded on “Christian” ideals, but we are NOT a Christian nation. We are a mixed nation, made up of Christians, Jews, Muslims, Pagans, Atheists, Agnostics and so on and on. We are all given the right to belief what we do, but we are not given the right to force those beliefs upon those that believe otherwise. By denying rights to people based on religion, it in turn forces those beliefs upon people.
I have the utmost respect for those senators that despite their Catholic upbringing, were able to put their religious beliefs aside and see that this was an issue of equality.
Have we all forgotten that marriage was how powerful families merged; that brides were actually considered property to be traded and “sold” as their fathers saw fit? Have we forgotten that most of the traditions that we follow now, were not based on romance but on a way of thought that regarded women as nothing more than the means to producing an heir?
Obviously marriage has changed over the past few thousand years and it is continuing to evolve.
Marriage is a fundamental right that is protected in our constitution (see “pursuit of happiness”) and that right must be offered to all individuals.
I’m so happy that New York, my former residence and my hometown, has finally done something right. I’m glad that of all the things they chose to do right, it was this.