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In respect of marriage

Katie Bradham, Photo Editor

A student-led Pride rally last March spoke out against hate and stood up for what they believe in.

I’ve rewritten this article three times now. It’s hard for me to put into words how sad and tired I am that we as a nation have to have this conversation again. The last time we had it, I was a freshman in high school, and now as a senior in college, I look toward an uncertain future. A future where I don’t know if all of my colleagues and friends, even family members, will be safe or if they will be valued and loved by the country we all call home. Even though most of this country believes same-sex marriage should be legal, we must have this conversation again.
It isn’t just about marriage; it’s about defeating the bigotry that says that gay people aren’t worthy of love, the hate that says they aren’t allowed to decide who they love. Marriage isn’t just about fluffy white dresses with champagne glasses shared between friends; it’s about having the legal right to share taxes, medical decisions, children, and so many other life decisions. Inheritance rights, medical and life insurance are some of the significant things marriage affects.
Earlier this summer, the Supreme court made the egregious error of overturning Roe v. Wade. Shortly after, one of the nine justices, Clarence Thomas, said in a statement that he hoped the supreme court would reconsider several other rulings, including Obergefell v. Hodges and Lawrence v. Texas.
The first was a ruling that found gay marriage protected under the constitutional right to privacy, and the second was for consensual relations between members of the same sex. He called these rulings “demonstrably erroneous”, according to FOX News.
“The question would remain whether other constitutional provisions guarantee the myriad rights that our substantive due process cases have generated,” said Justice Clarence Thomas.
Overruling these court cases would not only allow gay marriage to become illegal in some states but also allow for being gay to become illegal. If you weren’t aware, this is insane.
I understand that many people believe this, along with the right to safe abortions, should be left up to the state, but my counter is this: no one is making you partake in gay marriage just because it’s legal. You should not be able to tell two consenting adults that they aren’t allowed to be in love. There is absolutely no reason based on logic or truth beyond religion or societal standards that someone shouldn’t be able to marry someone of the same gender or sex. You are allowed not to agree with gay marriage, but that doesn’t mean you get to make that decision for everyone else.
The Respect for Marriage Act, whose purpose is to repeal and replace the Defense of Marriage Act, is waiting to be voted on by the U.S. Senate. This Act would protect same-sex and interracial marriage. Previously the legislation was passed by the House with support from both Democrats and Republicans, but it may face challenges in the Senate.
The act would have to garner support from ten Senate Republicans to beat a filibuster which, after the House showed some bipartisan support, seems very possible.
In recent years, the support for same-sex marriage has increased drastically in the United States. 70% of Americans believe gay marriage should be legal, according to a Gallup poll. In 2012, that number was closer to 50%.
This upward trend of support shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon, and it’s characterized by the support shown in the House. I believe that we can push the Senate to pass this Act and that by doing so, we are protecting the people and the rights upon which this country was built.
It is vile that we are allowing this country to run on fear and intolerance when there is so much love to give. These laws would prevent people from being able to love people freely. People are trying to pass laws to prevent people from being able to love each other.
In what safe and kind country would this ever be seen as acceptable? What are we trying to teach the next generation? That hate and intolerance win all, and those who are different should be afraid?
I refuse to stand by and not do my part in stopping this. I am sick of things happening and never hearing about it in the news again. It took me far too long to find information about such a monumental story. We can’t just stand by and allow this to happen.
Without the Respect of Marriage Act, we may, in all likelihood, see the end of same-sex marriage in many states. This will have unfounded repercussions in so many people’s lives. I don’t care if you don’t believe in gay marriage. I do care if you are the type of person who would willingly and willfully take the right to legally wed the person they love away from someone just because you don’t agree with it. 
A quote by Elizabeth Gilbert from ‘Committed: A skeptic makes peace with marriage’ beautifully explains it. 
“But gay marriage is coming to America first and foremost because marriage here is a secular concern, not a religious one. The objection to gay marriage is almost invariably biblical, but nobody’s legal vows in this country are defined by interpretation of biblical verse – or at least, not since the Supreme Court stood up for Richard and Mildred Loving. A church wedding ceremony is a nice thing, but it is neither required for legal marriage in America nor does it constitute legal marriage in America. What constitutes legal marriage in this country is that critical piece of paper that you and your betrothed must sign and then register with the state. The morality of your marriage may indeed rest between you and God, but it’s that civic and secular paperwork which makes your vows official here on earth. Ultimately, then, it is the business of America’s courts, not America’s churches, to decide the rules of matrimonial law, and it is in those courts that the same-sex marriage debate will finally be settled.”
No one is forcing you to be okay with gay marriage, but no one should be able to take away their right to marry. I believe in love, and I believe in this country. Please don’t let hate win.
Caption one: This poll shows the various reasons couples chose to get married, not the discrepancies in the legal reasons column. This graphic shows how certain values are reflected in both straight and gay relationships, and how some things like legal rights weigh heavier on same-sex relationships.
Caption two: This chart shows the changing opinions of same-sex marriage in the United States since 2001.
Caption three: This chart shows the changing opinions of same-sex marriage in the United States since 2001 separated by political affiliation.

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