On today’s radio show, it was really cool to talk about the gay marriage movement. Until 2004, no states recognized same sex marriages. Now, 6 states permit gay marriages, including: Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, NY, and Vermont. My adopted hometown, DC also now recognizes this union between same sex couples, and it seems Maryland is soon on its way to joining us!
The right to marry is such a fundamental right– and it has major legal significance in someone’s life. It impacts a person’s ability to social security benefits, veteran benefits, Medicaid, hospital visits, family leave, retirement interests, estate claims, and even immigration status. To deny someone the right to marry someone of the same sex grossly prejudices that person’s right to equal treatment under the law and due process. It certainly impairs that person’s ability to pursue his/her happiness, and honestly it seems grossly unfair that in this day and age 41 states can continue to have statutes or constitutional amendments specifying that they won’t recognize gay marriage— even when over 50% of the U.S. population is in favor of permitting them this right.
Just to be clear- no state is going to obligate a church or any clergy members to perform a marriage they don’t agree with– what the gay marriage movement is trying to accomplish is recognition of civil marriages. If there is enough support throughout the states, hopefully eventually we can get Congress to revisit the Defense of Marriage Act, which was enacted in 1996, and strictly defines marriage for federal purposes as a union between a man and a woman. 45 years ago, the Supreme Court finally recognized as a fundamental right the recognition of inter-racial marriages. We have certainly come a long way since then, and so I hold out hope that the gay right’s movement will one day soon succeed in opening the hearts and minds of most Americans, who fundamentally agree in the right to live and let live.