On June 26th, the Supreme Court of the United States of America issued a ruling on Gay Marriage. It seems it was a monumental day indeed. I don’t recall quite a noteworthy ruling by the court since Roe v. Wade. Somehow I don’t think this ruling will be any less controversial and will continue to be talked about in the decades to come, like the one that legalized abortion over 40 years ago. It will be curious to see how, or even if, this decision shapes our nation in the future.
From a personal standpoint, I always puzzled over why this was such an important thing for people to have, aside from the legal aspects of course. Regarding that, I always wondered what the issue was to provide gay couples the same rights and benefits as everyone else. Money has something to do with it I am sure. But I have always wondered why not simply fight for making Civil Unions have the same weight and strength of a traditional Marriage. After all, if the legal rights and benefits were the crux of the issue, then having Civil Unions on the same level of Marriage would solve the problems. Perhaps simplicity might have something to do with that little point. The one thing that always got under my skin with that though, was the argument that seemed to be used when all else failed – Marriage is just a word (or piece of paper), so why is it such a big deal to prevent gay couples from marrying? To me, that is just one of those asinine arguments that people seem to resort to when they can’t amply defend the stance they are taking. If Marriage is simply a word or piece of paper, I thought, then why is it such a big deal to have it? Let the argument stand on its own merits – couples, regardless of their sexual orientation, should always have equal rights under the law.
To me, Marriage is an ages old tradition, and while some traditions may be strange or “bad”, I don’t think Marriage falls into that category. For me, Marriage will always be a man and a woman expressing their love for each other and desire to spend their lives together. No ruling will ever change that, but I most certainly am pleased that, one way or another, America as a country has taken one more step towards a better society. It has been too long in coming, much like providing equal rights to women and to African Americans. Sometimes it still boggles me that as forward thinking and advanced as we can be sometimes as a society, that things like this seem so difficult to grasp.
So, at any rate, congratulations to the Supreme Court for taking America one more step in the right direction, and good luck to all who now can take the next step of their live together. I would just temper that with a reminder that there is still one more important principle to remember that this country was founded on – religious freedom. As much as it is a right to have two people express their love through marriage, it is also the right of religious institutions to refuse to perform those services based upon the beliefs of their religion. Ultimately, regardless of one’s personal beliefs, it is that deep rooted and ancient belief in some higher power that provides us the basis for right and wrong, and that is one tradition that deserves all of our respect.