Editorial: Be on the right side of history


DOMA Rally: Madeline Doyle/Iowa State Daily

When attending the DOMA Rally on Wednesday, June 6th on Main Street, students, teachers, parents, and children were all introduced to a new tradition of how to continue to protect and advance the rights  for LGBT through a new program known as GAyLA. 

Editorial Board

The United States Supreme Court refused to hear 11 cases regarding same-sex marriage on Oct. 6. By not hearing those cases, the lower court rulings stand and as a result same-sex marriage is now legal in five more states.

Citizens in Utah, Oklahoma, Virginia, Indiana and Wisconsin were all allowed to marry those of the same sex beginning as early as the afternoon of Oct. 6. Yet another state was added to that list on Oct. 7.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down gay marriage bans in both Idaho and Nevada. While Idaho was granted a stay while it waits for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its case, Nevada has not yet appealed. According to the Wall Street Journal, Nevada lawyers discontinued its defense of the ban on same-sex marriage because recent precedents showed it was unconstitutional.

Now in the United States, 26 states and Washington D.C. allow same-sex marriage, according to freedomtomarry.org. In an additional eight states, federal appellate courts have have set a precedent in favor of same-sex marriage.

Now 55 percent of Americans live in a place where same-sex marriage is legal. That number is expected to grow to more than 64 percent because of the eight states with a marriage equality precedent, according to freedomtomarry.org.

With the majority of states allowing same-sex marriage and that many pending appeals, it seems only a matter of time before bans are ruled unconstitutional and the entire country lives in a place where same-sex marriage is allowed.

Americans should support the expansion of civil rights. We applaud the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to hear those 11 cases on Oct. 6 and the lower courts’ rulings in favor of same-sex marriage. As a result of their decisions, marriage equality has expanded to include five more states.

Allowing same-sex couples to get married does not harm or retract from more traditional marriages. The scent of hypocrisy certainly looms over the rejection of these new unions based on somewhat archaic religious principles when over 50 percent of marriages end in divorce in the United States. Marriage is no longer the religious bond that ties two people to each other, but instead is becoming what it has always truly been: a social and legal agreement between two people who have chosen to live their lives in each other’s consistent company.

This shift in the meaning of marriages makes the union no less special, but it does in a way prohibit dissent of marriage equality based on religious prejudice.

The reality is, whether or not people believe in marriage equality for religious or other reasons, the majority of Americans now live in states that allow it. Therefore, it is time for all Americans to support same-sex marriage.

The United States is only becoming a more accepting and equal place to be a citizen because of those who chose to fight bans on same-sex marriage. Americans should embrace these rulings because of the flow of national laws has always moved towards inclusion of minority groups, not the other way around.

Don’t be on the wrong side of history.

Allowing same-sex couples to get married is another achievement in civil rights in this country. Looking back on other issues, like the fight of African Americans for equality, we are shocked at the unfairness and harshness of the Jim Crow laws.

We cannot believe the country we know and love today would treat African Americans as less than people during the Jim Crow era. We do not understand why people would threaten or harm African American students for simply trying to attend Little Rock High School in 1957.

We look back on those people, who fought acceptance of others and civil rights, with shame. In 50 or 100 years, Americans might look back and be shocked at how unfairly gay and lesbian citizens were treated.

Don’t be the person that still supports inequality even as the tides of society push against you, because soon you may very well find yourself alone, carried by the current and lost at sea as a result of your exclusionary mindset.