By Jacel Egan
While most American families are attempting to salvage their marriages – with the average rate of divorce in the US at about 50 percent – others do not even have the opportunity to get married in the first place.
Though civil unions and domestic partnerships are legally recognized, gays and lesbians are not just without the approval and support of the religious community, but are also deprived of other fundamental elements given to heterosexual couples through marriage. In most states, these include the power of attorney, the ability to sponsor one’s partner during the immigration process (which allows them to gain US citizenship) and joint adoption or foster care, among others.
Massachusetts, Vermont and Iowa have shown to be at the forefront of supporting gay rights; they became leaders in advocating equal rights for all people, regardless of sexual orientation, when each state legalized gay marriage. Despite their efforts, an overwhelming proportion of other states are in the opposition, as was made evident by laws such as California’s Proposition 8 that have caused 18,000 divorces.
Numerous associations, such as the National Organization for Marriage, claim to be protecting the sanctity of marriage in God’s eyes, and assert that gays are spitting on their right to discriminate. Well, trying to turn the tables by placing themselves as the victims instead of the victimizers is playing a card somewhat similar to the one Hitler played on the Jews.
If they’re taking the ‘Bible defense,’ then why not take everything into account by enforcing other crimes the Book condemns instead of such selective reading? Other than persecuting homosexuals, why not discriminate and punish those that eat shellfish, or sentence death to misbehaving children and fortunetellers, like Miss Chloe?
I understand that marriage creates a foundation for society to promote wealth and familial prosperity; it fosters a place where children can socialize and grow into contributing citizens. Yet, as I mentioned before, the astounding fact that the institution of marriage has been crumbling without the influence of homosexuals just presses how much less contemporary society values this sacred sacrament. Though divorce rates vary depending upon location, most people are now marrying later if at all (the average age of marriage is around 25), or choosing to cohabitate with their significant others as opposed to tying the knot.
Not to say that cohabitating or waiting later to marry is something to look down upon; it just validates my point further. Why are Americans so keen on protecting something they’ve basically rendered valueless? Why is it so offensive that gays and lesbians are eager to experience what so many heterosexuals take for granted or scorn? It’s touching and awe-inspiring to see so many couples strive for the social status that many have tossed to the wayside.
With more and more marriages ending in divorce, is there really anything left to protect?