Marriage Equality: Why Do We Care?
September 28, 2012 by Guest contributor
Maryland is inching towards becoming one of the handful of states and the District of Columbia to legalize same-sex marriage. The people of Maryland will vote on the issue in November as Question 6.
Opponents often say that legalizing same-sex marriage would have dire consequences. Our successes across the country have shown that is not the case. I offer the following thoughts:
1. Same-sex marriage has not ended the world.
Other countries and other states in the US allow gay marriage. I don’t really see a discernible difference in my life in specific regards to marriage equality around the world. And if for that small price of “no discernible difference in my life,” someone else gets to be happy, then that’s a price I’m willing to pay.
2. Same-sex marriage does not ruin ALL marriage or “re-define” it.
If you’re married, at some point during your marriage a same-sex couple somewhere married. Do you have a sudden compelling need to file for divorce? Do you feel like your religious beliefs were compromised? You can still go to your house of worship and still be the same person you were before the eyes of whatever deity you believe in. In fact, Question 6 on the Maryland ballot explicitly protects everyone’s religious freedoms.
3. Kids know about gay people anyway.
The argument that, “But now I’ll have to explain to my kids about ‘The Gay,’” implies that children today don’t have friends with gay parents or know other gay kids or are possibly gay themselves. It shouldn’t matter to you that someone else’s family involves a same-sex marriage. But that simple marriage certificate would mean the world to that family. Your child will grow up, learn from you and your values, meet other people both gay and straight, and interact as an adult based on lessons learned from you. And do you really want that lesson to be to judge others by outward appearances and not by the content of their characters?
Why should any of us care?
This is a simple question. Those that are adamantly against same-sex marriage will always be adamantly against it. Those that are fighting for equality will always fight for that equality. It’s those that are undecided or apathetic that will tip the scales. It is our moral obligation as Americans to participate in democracy. We are in one of those unique places in history where we get to help decide something big. Will allowing same-sex marriage change your life? No, not really. Supporting or voting for same-sex marriage won’t suddenly make a same-sex partner appear next to you handing you a marriage certificate. But it will change the lives of those that have been fighting for this right. It won’t cause every heterosexual marriage to come apart at the seams. Families won’t implode. Religions won’t collapse. The rhetoric may sound scary and threatening, but the facts should speak for themselves.
Same-sex couples deserve civil marriage equality. That is why I care. That is why I will vote for marriage equality.
By Emma Poon, Maryland Voter and Air Force Veteran
Human Rights Campaign, 1640 Rhode Island Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036, Chad Griffin, President
May 24, 2013