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ISSUE 117 VOL 5 PUBLISHED 10/17/2003

Bush slights gay marriage

By Carl Schroeder
Staff Writer

Friday, October 17, 2003

Recently President Bush signed a proclamation declaring Oct. 12-18 “Marriage Protection Week.” One of the main goals of this initiative, which is being sponsored by a coalition of conservative and religious organizations, is to marshal support for the Federal Marriage Amendment, a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex civil marriages.

I have a better idea. Why don’t we all grow up and stop bashing gay people?

How about instead of promoting the codification of a blatant form of discrimination against millions of American citizens, why not take a moment to reaffirm our national traditions of equality, liberty and justice for all? I would like to suggest that Oct. 12-18 retroactively be declared “Equal Rights Protection Week.”

Let’s call a spade a spade and acknowledge that “Marriage Protection Week” is really just a window dressing for “Anti-Homosexual Week.” If the initiative’s sponsoring organizations were actually serious about protecting marriage, you’d think they would be less concerned about the three percent of Americans that are gay and instead focus on the 50 percent of heterosexuals whose marriages end in divorce.

By seeking civil marriage rights, homosexuals aren’t trying to alter or undermine traditional American values. Gays simply want equal treatment under the law, including social security survivor benefits, hospital visitation rights and equal tax treatment when inheriting a partner's estate.

Certain parties’ attempts to turn the gay marriage issue into a referendum on whether or not the Bible supports homosexuality obscure the fact that right here in 2003, not all law-abiding American adults are being granted the same rights. How much longer are conservatives going to continue their crusade against homosexuality before they realize that their fight continues the deplorable tradition exemplified by Jefferson Davis, Adolf Hitler, the Ku Klux Klan and all who have tried to divide humanity along lines of race, class, religion or gender?

The sheer amount of time and energy some conservatives spend complaining about, contemplating and relating graphic examples of unusual sexual practices occasionally borders on the frightening. Last April, for example, Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) declared in an interview about homosexuality that “if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery.” Students of philosophy will recognize this as a textbook example of the “slippery slope” argument. Later in that same interview Santorum raised the highly relevant topics of “man on child” and “man on dog” sex.

I personally am astounded by the amount of bigotry masked as religious sentiment going on in our country today. I always have trouble finding the part of the Bible where God calls down from Mount Sinai to tell Moses that marriage is between a man and a woman. However, in the Gospel of Mark, when Jesus is asked what the most important commandment is, his response includes an instruction to “love your neighbor.”

Although it is certainly possible that some evangelical Christians have editions of the Bible in which that original Greek passage is translated as “take out a full-page ad in the New York Times blasting your neighbor’s sex life,” that’s really not the way most people I know express love for others.

As a nation, it’s high time we moved beyond the days of segregation, discrimination and unequal treatment. A thorough look at the Bible and the Constitution reveals no basis for any of these aberrations from justice; rather, they are relics of a less enlightened time.

Staff writer Carl Schroeder is a junior from Minneapolis, Minn. He majors in music theory/composition.

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