With the recent passage of the same-sex marriage bill signed by Maryland’s governor Martin O’Malley, it seems Maryland is heading towards social understanding and equality while leaving some other states, including California, behind. It’s surprising for a California native like me to come to such a conservative, Republican, and sometimes swing state like Maryland. What is so surprising is that every state across the country is not the same in terms of their views on same-sex marriage.
Coming from California, I would expect a state like Maryland to be behind on issues like these. Maryland is ahead of California on gay rights, the exact opposite of what I would expect.
California is such a democratic and liberal state that it is shocking to many natives that it has yet to pass same-sex marriage. Proposition 8 passed in November of 2008 in the statewide election, declaring that marriage should only take place between a man and a woman and that California would only recognize these kinds of marriages.
Even though Maryland allows gay marriage, it’s still an extremely controversial debate across the country.
“I have absolutely no idea why these individuals should not be able to marry. I actually think it’s shameful that we do not allow them to marry in all 50 states. There shouldn’t even be a debate about this,” says senior Megan Shenton.
Sophomore, Joesph T. Wright says, “Just like other issues that regard change to some sort of legal documentation, it should be states’ right issue…I personally wish for full equality in marriage for all preferences but in reality it’s all about state decisions.”
Many people claim that a marriage should only happen between one man and one woman. That’s clearly what the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) says. Many people who oppose same-sex marriage (mostly people with strong religious backgrounds) agree with DOMA and claim that it will create an untraditional family structure. It will also lead to confusion of what “marriage” is. People say that if we allow same-sex marriage to happen then we should allow people to have polygamies that should be legalized too; it would also be okay to have untraditional non-human/human marriages as well.
People who are against same-sex marriage are treating homosexual couples like they do not belong, like they are not “normal.” What gets me frustrated about this issue is that people who are against homosexuality and same-sex marriage say that people choose to be this way. It can be argued that people don’t choose to be with people of the same-sex, and that they have always been like that. It is argued by many that it really does not matter who we are as people. We are all different and unique in some way or another.
Sophomore Jessica West says, “I think same sex marriage is fine. I think that same sex couples should be able to have the same rights as opposite sex couples.”
Many studies have shown that in the general public there is an increase in support for same-sex marriage and this is confusing especially for people like myself who are from states like California. People assume that because there are so many who support same-sex marriage, a proposition or law like Proposition 8 would not pass. However, that was not the case. It seems like people who were in support of Proposition 8 outvoted those who were against Proposition 8.
We are still talking about this issue of same-sex marriage, even though we are supposedly a country of freedom, equality and opportunity. There are other countries out there that are way ahead of our country on this topic because they have passed laws allowing same-sex marriage couples to marry, such as the Netherlands, Canada, Argentina, etc. Our country’s federal government has not made any progress, which may be a cause by some of our past Presidents’ who have strong religious background.
What people do not realize is that even thought some same-sex couples are allowed to marry, they do not have some of the same rights or benefits as heterosexual couples. For example, homosexual couples don’t receive the same health benefits and sometimes cannot adopt children.
For some reason, same-sex marriages are referred to as “civil unions” or “domestic partnerships.” This is different than heterosexual couples’ marriage, which is just referred to as a “marriage.” I think that this is unfair, not just to same-sex couples.
Sophomore Megan McCargish says that, “Same sex marriage should be legal and equal to that of straight marriage. People’s judgment of others should not dictate the legality of their love life. Everyone has the right and ability to love, so they should honor that love in whatever way they feel. Equality is only right.”
This debate has gone on for long enough. Hello! This is the 21st century and people need to stop getting hung up on their own beliefs. They need to start listening to people on the other side with ideas different from their own. People can advocate more on the behalf of same-sex couples, since same-sex couples are treated like the second class. People can get educated on this issue by talking to people involved in Allies or any other organization on or off campus which provide opportunities to participate in discussions and be aware of what is going on.