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ISSUE 117 VOL 10 PUBLISHED 12/5/2003

Mass. Court fuels gay marriage debate: Case makes first step

By Amanda Swanson
Contributing Writer

Friday, December 5, 2003

Our country has been heading down a morally deprived path for years, but a recent decision finally has the momentum to lead us back in the right direction. On Nov. 18, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that homosexual marriage is legal in their state. The decision will officially take effect next May. I was sitting in Boe Chapel when I first heard the news, and I felt like shouting “Hallelujah” right then and there. Not surprisingly, this decision has brought about much opposition, and it is highly unlikely the ruling will solidify before undergoing endless debates and protests against it.

I hang my head in shame every time I hear or read some uninformed Catholic preaching their dissension on homosexual marriage due to their religious beliefs. As a proud Roman Catholic, I take great offense when such incidents occur, because every last one of them comes across as ignorant. The way these Catholics state their claims makes it seem as though the Bible has commanded us to despise homosexuals. Granted, many people opposed to gay marriage who defend their stance on religious grounds do not claim to contest a person’s right to be homosexual. So why attack gay marriage? It doesn’t make any sort of logical sense. Condemning it on religious grounds certainly doesn’t make any sense, either.

If Jesus Christ taught his followers anything, it was that we are supposed to love one another despite our perceived flaws and disagreements. Apparently, a lot of people out there missed that lesson during Sunday school. Jesus hung around with sinners because he loved them anyway, which is the example everyone is meant to follow. Don’t misinterpret me; I am not saying that homosexuality is a sin. If you are someone who believes it is, go ahead and believe that. The point of the matter is that even if it is a sin, Christians have been taught to embrace our fellow human beings. Period.

This is not intended to spur a religious debate because the religious point is not the critical one. The Massachusetts Supreme Court refers to homosexual marriage in correlation to heterosexual marriage as a civil marriage. Religious institutions still have the right to deny a same-sex couple the right to get married in their establishment, but this isn’t the issue. It’s about legality. The life partners who fought for this ruling did so because after spending years living together as a couple, many with children, they felt they had a right to receive the same benefits as couples who are identical to them in every way except for their sexual orientation. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought our Constitution mentioned something about equal rights for all. Our country’s policies often overlook that, but who says we have to tolerate it?

If one is going to condemn gay marriage, they better take into account interracial marriage as well. It’s the exact same thing. Once upon a time, the old, white men in charge said it wasn’t legal for people of different races – namely, whites and blacks – to get married. This blunder has been rectified because it was recognized as unlawful and unconstitutional. Gee, shouldn’t that tell people something? It’s about questioning whether or not someone has the right to marry the person they want to marry, which no one has the right to ask of anyone.

Some people out there might consider this ruling a step in the immoral direction. I am not one of those people. Am I gay? It doesn’t matter. I’m human, and I respect my fellow human beings’ right to choose how they live their lives. The true immoral factor in all this is that it has taken this long to grant marriage rights to homosexuals , and that there is still work to do. However this all turns out, I will wave my rainbow flag to the end, supporting those fighting to see this world become an equal one.

Staff Writer Amanda Swanson is a first year from Detroit Lakes, Minn. She majors in English.

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