Sole Focus

News, Views, Rantings & Ramblings by Carey Parrish

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Location: Georgia, United States

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Issue of Marriage Equality

Hello, friends! I know, I know...I haven't blogged in a LONG time. To be perfectly honest, so much has gone on in the past couple years for my family and myself that I honestly lost the desire to write anything. Anything. It's been a hard road but it's one that has been a learning experience. Now, and for the past few months, with things settling down and me feeling more like myself, I have been getting that urge to write again. To express myself in the written word is something I've always treasured and have had some success in doing as well. So I'm back, for now, and hopefully to stay.
Marriage equality is a topic of which I've had some very strong opinions for the last few years. As of today, same sex couples can now wed in twenty-eight states and the District of Columbia. It's been a long time coming but the Supreme Court has finally begun settling the matter once and for all. The freedom to marry whomever one chooses is indeed a right. It is not a privilege for the religious. If it were, atheists wouldn't have been capable of getting married. This is, and has ultimately been deemed, a moot point.
I am quite perplexed by the arguments that religious groups and conservative Republicans keep giving about how allowing same sex marriage will enable some people, namely pedophiles, to claim their way of life as a right as well. It is mindboggling to me that there are people out there who can confuse the right of consenting adults who love each other to get married with the issue of children, who cannot under the American judicial system consent to sexual encounters, being victimized by adults who have questionable desires. I just can't quite make sense of that. The difference is too far apart between the two subjects to even consider. Consequently, I can only conclude that this argument is yet another tool being used by the Right to confuse the matter and hold up progress for those who are demanding equality.
Back in 2008, when California offered up Proposition 8 on its ballots, I remember having a discussion with my friend Danny on the matter. As a conservative Christian, he was understandably opposed to same sex marriage and felt that it was indeed a topic which could be settled by voters. I quite vividly recall telling him: "Wait until just one of these cases comes before the Supreme Court and there are going to be a lot of very disappointed opponents to this issue."
And I was right. The Supreme Court has a pretty good track record when it comes to fairly applying the law to all parties it represents. When circuit courts across the country began striking down same sex marriage bans as unconstitutional, as such bans prevent all Americans from rights such as their freedom of expression and the pursuit of happiness, the Supreme Court declined to hear arguments from states wishing to keep their bans in place. Effectively, SCOTUS said that the lower courts got it right and they had nothing to add on the matter. In the three weeks since their declination to hear these cases, the justices have cleared the way one time after another for same sex couples to marry as they choose. SCOTUS sent a powerful message with their initial decision.
What it boils down to is very simple. The religious or moral views of certain groups of Americans cannot infringe on the rights of others to exercise their own religious or moral views. You can't vote away the civil rights of those you don't agree with. If some people can marry at will then all people should have this same preference. You might not like it but you cannot stop it. I predict that within the next year same sex marriage will be legal in all fifty states and every US territory in the world.
I was very amused by the response of certain state governors and attorneys general after the SCOTUS ruling. Their defiant statements that they would "ignore" the Supreme Court's decision was ludicrous. I suppose they do have the right to go to jail for obstruction of justice, just as every American citizen has the right to marry the person of his or her choosing. North Carolina has already made its position clear on this matter. When a magistrate there refused to marry two men on religious principles, the state said that magistrates will enforce the law or be removed from office. One magistrate resigned, as was his right to do, just as the two men who were refused their civil rights have the freedom to marry.
Because it really is a matter of civil rights. It reminds me of the National Guard being mobilized to desegregate schools when states tried to defy the law in the sixties. Bigotry and prejudice are not tolerated in the eyes of the law. This matter is no different. People are what they are, no matter their color, nationality, creed, or sexual orientation, and they cannot be denied the same rights that others enjoy.
And for those who are still trying to argue that homosexuality is a choice, I always reply to them with one simple question. "When did you choose to be straight?" Shuts 'em up every time.
Marriage equality is here. And not just in the US. In countries all around the world, people are either already allowed or are being allowed to marry the partner of their choice and society doesn't mind. It is only those who feel that their religious or their moral views entitle them to decide how the rest of the world should behave who are up in arms over this. And they'll just have to learn to live with it. Society is not going to allow an injustice of this nature to continue any longer.

The absolute foolishness of the human condition never fails to surprise me.
And, as Walter Cronkite used to say every evening, that's the way it is.


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